Narasimhaye’s Blog

Ganesha: The Elephant-God

Posted on: October 24, 2008

Ganesha: The Elephant-God

All About the Most Popular Zoomorphic Hindu Deity

Ganesha — the elephant-deity riding a mouse — has become one of the
commonest mnemonics for anything associated with Hinduism. This not
only suggests the importance of Ganesha, but also shows how popular
and pervasive this deity is in the minds of the masses.

The Lord of Success
The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance
with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a
human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and
obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge,
wisdom and wealth. In fact, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu
deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four) whose
idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja.

Ganesh Chaturthi
The devotees of Ganesha are known as 'Ganapatyas', and the festival
to celebrate and glorify him is called Ganesh Chaturthi.

Significance of the Ganesha Form
Ganesha's head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the
ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body
signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant
head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of
cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which
helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove
obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha's left hand is a gentle
implement to capture all difficulties.

The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand
is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata.
The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge
should be continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk
indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-
like ears convey that he is all ears to our petition. The snake that
runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. And he is humble
enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse.

How Ganesha Got His Head
The story of the birth of this zoomorphic deity, as depicted in the
Shiva Purana, goes like this: Once goddess Parvati, while bathing,
created a boy out of the dirt of her body and assigned him the task
of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Shiva, her husband
returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access, and
struck off the boy's head in rage. Parvati broke down in utter grief
and to soothe her, Shiva sent out his squad (gana) to fetch the head
of any sleeping being who was facing the north. The company found a
sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then
attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its life and made him
the leader (pati) of his troops. Hence his name 'Ganapati'. Shiva
also bestowed a boon that people would worship him and invoke his
name before undertaking any venture.

However, there's another less popular story of his origin, found in
the Brahma Vaivarta Purana: Shiva asked Parvati to observe the
punyaka vrata for a year to appease Vishnu in order to have a son.
When a son was born to her, all the gods and goddesses assembled to
rejoice on its birth. Lord Shani, the son of Surya (Sun-God), was
also present but he refused to look at the infant. Perturbed at this
behaviour, Parvati asked him the reason, and Shani replied that his
looking at baby would harm the newborn. However, on Parvati's
insistence when Shani eyed the baby, the child's head was severed
instantly. All the gods started to bemoan, whereupon Vishnu hurried
to the bank of river Pushpabhadra and brought back the head of a
young elephant, and joined it to the baby's body, thus reviving it.

Ganesha, the Destroyer of Pride
Ganesha is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is
the personification of material universe in all its various
magnificent manifestations. "All Hindus worship Ganesha regardless of
their sectarian belief," says D N Singh in A Study of Hinduism. "He
is both the beginning of the religion and the meeting ground for all

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


  • Narasimhaye: If you are able to talk to your or sister and your girl cousins, you will be able to speak to any girl you like. Don't be shy. Try to be confident in
  • arjun: sir please help me I cannot talk to any girl I'm not frank and I am very afraid of doing things I think what the world will think I don't have confide
  • Narasimhaye: I meant do Puja , not pika sorry.
%d bloggers like this: