Consorts of Ganesha
Posted January 14, 2009on:
Consorts of Ganesha
The marital status of Ganesha varies widely in mythological stories and the issue has been the subject of considerable scholarly review. Several patterns of associations with different consorts are identifiable. One pattern of myths identifies Ganesha as an unmarried brahmacarin with no consorts. Another pattern associates him with the concepts of Buddhi (intellect), Siddhi (spiritual power), and Riddhi (prosperity); these qualities are sometimes personified as goddesses who are considered to be Ganesha’s wives. Another pattern connects Ganesha with the goddess of culture and the arts, Sarasvati, and the goddess of luck and prosperity, Lakshmi. In the Bengal region he is linked with the banana tree, Kala Bo. He also may be shown with a single consort or a nameless servant (Sanskrit: dasi).
Some of the differences between these patterns can be understood by looking at regional variations across India, the time periods in which the patterns are found, and the traditions in which the beliefs are held. Some differences pertain to the preferred meditation form used by the devotee, with many different traditional forms ranging from Ganesha as a young boy (Sanskrit: à¤¬à¤¾à¤²à¤—à¤£à¤ªà¤¤à¤¿; balaganapati) to Ganesha as a Tantric deity.
According to one tradition, Ganesha was a brahmacarin, that is, unmarried. This pattern is primarily popular in southern India. This tradition was linked to Hindu concepts of the relationship between celibacy and the development of spiritual power. Bhaskaraya alludes to the tradition in which Ganesha was considered to be a lifelong bachelor in his commentary on the Ganesha Purana version of the Ganesha Sahasranama, which includes the name Abhiru (verse 9a). In his commentary on this verse Bhaskaraya says the name Abhiru means “without a woman,” but the term can also mean “not fearful.”
BUDHI, RIDDHI AND SIDDHI
The Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala Purana contain descriptions of Ganesha flanked by Siddhi and Buddhi. In these two Puranas they appear as an intrinsic part of Ganapati and according to Thapan do not require any special rituals associated with shakti worship. In Chapter I.18.24-39 of the Ganesha Purana, Brahma performs worship in honor of Ganesha, and during it Ganesha himself causes Buddhi and Siddhi to appear so that Brahma can offer them back to Ganesha. Ganesha accepts them as offerings. In Ganesha Purana I.65.10-12 there is a variant of this incident, in which various gods are giving presents to Ganesha, but in this case Siddhi and Buddhi are born from Brahma’s mind and are given by Brahma to Ganesha.
The Ganesha Temple at Morgaon is the central shrine for the regional aá¹£á¹avinayaka complex. The most sacred area within the Moragaon temple is the sanctum (garbhagrha), a small enclosure containing an image of Ganesha. To the right and left sides of the image stand Siddhi and Buddhi. In northern India the two female figures are said to be Siddhi and Riddhi. There is no PurÄá¹‡ic evidence for the pair, but the pairing parallels those of Buddhi and Siddhi in Shiva Purana and Riddhi and Buddhi from Matsya Purana.
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