Hinduism - Who Is Lord Ganesha In Hindu Mythology?


 ("Lord of [Shiva's] Host") Ganesh, the elephant-headed deity who leads Shiva's army of heavenly servants, is also known as Ganapati.

Ganesh is often shown as small and chubby, holding a dish of sweets with his animal transport, the rat, nearby.

A lotus (padma) and his own broken tusk are two of the most often shown things in his hands.

He also often wields a noose and an elephant goad (ankusha), all of which represent his ability to confine or maneuver opposing troops.

Although a tiny sectarian community, the Ganpatyas, worship Ganesh as a main god, most Hindus worship him as a secondary deity alongside their fundamental divinities.

Ganesh's significance in Hindu life, however, considerably beyond his lowly status in the pantheon.

Ganesh is revered by Hindus as the "Lord of Obstacles" (Vighneshvar), who can both remove and give problems depending on whether or not a person has pleased him.

Hindus invoke Ganesh at the start of any important undertaking—whether it is performing a religious ritual, starting a business, performing a marriage, building a home, or even taking a school examination—in order for potential obstacles to be removed or avoided, and the undertaking to proceed smoothly and successfully, through his grace.

His elephant head and his animal transportation, the rat, both reflect his strength over difficulties.

The elephant's strength enables it to overcome any obstacles, but the rat can squeeze through even the tiniest holes to obtain access to restricted areas.

Ganesh's aniconic image is the threshold, a transitive strip that divides and separates multiple regions, symbolizing his capacity to govern transitions from one state to another.

Ganesh is said to be the son of Shiva and his wife Parvati, although he was born in a unique way.

When Parvati is bathing (snana), she creates a kid out of the mud on her body, animates him, and tells him that no one is allowed to enter her bathing spot.

When Shiva arrives at the entrance, Ganesh blocks his entry, and Shiva slices off Ganesh's head in the subsequent struggle.

Shiva vows to replace Parvati's lost head with the head of the first animal he comes across, which happens to be an elephant.

Shiva selects Ganesh as the head of his band of followers after resurrecting him.

Shiva also promises Ganesh that he would be revered before any other god.

Ganesh's elephant head has a broken tusk, and several tales exist to explain how this occurred.

It stems from a conflict with the Parashuram avatar, who attempted to enter Shiva's apartments as Ganesh stood watch.

Another report claims that the damage was self-inflicted.

Ganesh cuts off his tusk and tosses it towards the moon in a fit of wrath against the moon.

Ganesh is said to use this tusk as a pen to write down the text of the epic Mahabharata as given by the sage Vyasa.

See Paul Courtright's Ganesa, 1985, for more information about Ganesh and his cult; more material may be obtained in Hindu mythology books.

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