Ganapati is a synonym for Ganesha, being a compound composed of
gana, meaning "group", and pati, meaning "ruler" or "lord." The Amarakośa, an early Sanskrit lexicon, lists eight
synonymns of Ganeśa : Vināyaka, Vighnarāja (equivalent to Vighneśa), Dvaimātura,
Ganādhipa (equivalent to Ganapati and Ganeśa), Ekadanta, Heramba, Lambodara and Gajānana.
The son of Lord Shiva (शिव) and
Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being.
In the north of India, Ganesha is often portrayed as married to the two daughters of Brahma: Buddhi (intellect) and Siddhi (spiritual power).
Ganesha is accompanied by Goddess Saraswati (सरस्वती) (goddess of culture and art) and
Goddess Laxmi (महा लक्ष्मी) (goddess of luck and prosperity), symbolizing that these
qualities always accompany he who has discovered his own internal divinity. But this does not mean that Sarasvati and Lakshmi are consorts of
Ganesha. Symbolically this represents the fact that wealth, prosperity and success
accompany those who have the qualities wisdom, prudence, patience, etc. that Ganesha symbolizes.
Ganesha is a popular figure in Indian art.
Unlike some deities, representations of Ganesha show wide variation with distinct patterns changing
over time. He may be portrayed standing, dancing, heroically taking action against demons, playing with his family as a boy, sitting down, or
engaging in a range of contemporary situations.
Ganesha's earliest name was Ekadanta ("One Tusk"), referring to his single whole
tusk, the other having been broken off. Mudgala Purana, states that the name of
Ganesha's second incarnation is Ekadanta. According to the Mudgala Purana two different
incarnations of Ganesha use names based on it, Lambodara ("Pot Belly") and Mahodara ("Great Belly").
The number of Ganesha's arms varies; his best-known forms have between two and
sixteen arms. Ganesha figures are most commonly seen with four hands which signify their divinity.
Ganesha's four hands represented four 'Purusharthas' - dharma, artha, kama and moksha.
The serpent is a common feature in Ganesha iconography and appears in many
forms. According to the Ganesha Purana, Ganesha wrapped the serpent Vāsuki around his neck.
The Ganesha Purana prescribes a tilaka mark as well as a crescent moon on the forehead.
Ganesha is often shown riding on or attended by a mouse or rat.
The earliest Ganesha images found are without a Vahana (mount). The mouse as a mount first appears in
written sources in the Matsya Purana and later in the Brahmananda Purana and
Ganesha Purana, where Ganesha uses it as his vehicle only in his last incarnation.
Every element of the body of Ganesha has its own value and its own significance: The elephant head indicates fidelity, intelligence and discriminative power.
A single tusk indicates Ganesha¹s ability to overcome all forms of dualism. The wide ears denote wisdom, ability to listen to people who seek help and to
reflect on spiritual truths. The curved trunk indicates the intellectual potentialities which manifest themselves in the faculty of discrimination
between real and unreal. Ganesha's pot belly contains infinite universes. It signifies the bounty of nature and equanimity, the ability of Ganesha to swallow the sorrows of the Universe and protect the
The four arms of Ganesha represent the four inner attributes of the subtle body, that is: mind (Manas), intellect (Buddhi), ego (Ahamkara), and conditioned conscience
(Chitta). The hand waving an axe, is a symbol of the retrenchment of all desires, bearers of pain and suffering.
The second hand holds a whip, symbol of the force that ties the devout person to the eternal beatitude of God.
The third hand, turned towards the devotee, is in a pose of blessing, refuge and protection
(abhaya). The fourth hand holds a lotus flower (padma), and it symbolizes the highest goal of human evolution, the sweetness of the realised inner self.
Shri Ganesha's elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality.
Ganesha as Omkara
Ganesha's elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic
reality. Ganesha is the first sound, OM, in which all hymns were born. When Shakti (Energy) and Shiva (Matter) meet, both Sound
(Ganesha) and Light (Skanda) were born. He represents the perfect equilibrium between force and kindness and between
power and beauty. He also symbolizes the discriminative capacities which provide
the ability to perceive distinctions between truth and illusion, the real and the unreal.
A description of all of the characteristics and attributes of Ganesha can be found in the Ganapati Upanishad
of the rishi Atharva, in which Ganesha is identified with Brahman and Atman.
Ganesha's mythological stories
Ganesha obtained his elephant head
The most well-known story is probably the one taken from the Shiva Purana. Once,
while his mother Parvati wanted to bathe, there were no attendants around to guard her and stop anyone from accidentally entering the house. Hence she
created a boy's idol out of turmeric paste which she prepared to cleanse her body (turmeric was used for its anti-septic and cooling properties) and infused
life into it, and thus Ganesha was born. Parvati ordered Ganesha not to allow
anyone to enter the house and Ganesha obediently followed his mother's orders.
After a while Shiva returned from outside and as he tried to enter the house,
Ganesha stopped him. Shiva was infuriated at this strange little boy who dared
to challenge him. He told Ganesha that he was Parvati's husband, and demanded
that Ganesha let him go in. But Ganesha would not hear any person's word other than his dear mother's.
Shiva lost his patience and had a fierce battle with Ganesha. At last he severed
Ganesha's head with his Trishula (trident). When Parvati came out and saw her
son's lifeless body, she was very angry and sad. She demanded that Shiva restore
Ganesha's life at once. Unfortunately, Shiva's Trishula was so powerful that it had hurled Ganesha's head very far off. All attempts to find the head were in
vain. As a last resort, Shiva approached Brahma who suggested that he replace
Ganesha's head with the first living being that came his way which lay with its
head facing north. Shiva then sent his celestial armies (Gana) to find and take
the head of whatever creature they happened to find asleep with its head facing
north. They found an elephant which slept in this manner and decapitated it,
attaching the elephant's head to Ganesha's body and bringing him back to life.
From then on, he was called Ganapathi, or head of the celestial armies and was to be worshipped by everyone before beginning any activity.
Ganesha reffered as Ganapati
Another tale tells of how one day the Gods decided to choose their leader and
a race was to be held between the brothers- Kartikeya and Ganesh. Whoever took three rounds of
the earth first would be made the Ganaadhipati or the leader. Kartikeya
seated on a peacock as his vehicle, started off for the test. Ganesh was given a rat, which moved swiftly. Ganesh
realised that the test was not easy, but he would not disobey his father. He reverently paid obeisance to his parents and
went around them three times and thus completed the test before Kartikeya. He said, " my parents pervade the whole
universe and going around them, is more than going round the earth." Everybody was pleasantly surprised to hear Ganesha's
logic and intelligence and hence he came to be known as the Ganaadhipati or leader, now referred to as Ganpati.;
Shri Ganesh Vandna
ॐ वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय, सूर्य कोटि समप्रभः।
निर्विघ्नं कुरू मे देवः सर्व कार्येषु सर्वदा॥
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on the birthday of
Lord Ganesh (Ganesha), the god of wisdom and prosperity on the fourth day of the moons bright fortnight, or period from new moon in the lunar month of
Bhadrapada. This year the celebration begins on September 9, 2013. The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi continue for five, seven, or ten days. Some
even stretch it to twenty one days, but ten the most popularly celebrated. In the tradition of the right hand path the
first day is the most important. In the left hand path tradition the final day is most important.
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in all parts of India but the festival is more popular in the states of
Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Started by Chatrapati Shivaji
Maharaja, the great Maratha ruler, to promote culture and nationalism, the festival was revived by Lokmanya Tilak (a freedom fighter) to spread the message of freedom struggle and
to defy the British who had banned public assemblies. The festival gave the Indians a feeling of unity and revived their patriotic spirit and faith. This public festival formed the
background for political leaders who delivered speeches to inspire people against the Western rule.
The festival is so popular that the preparations begin months in advance.
The ' modaka ' in Lord Ganesha's hand is not just a mere prasada, but is actually the embodiment of 'knowledge of Vedanta ' which is
the gateway to 'ultimate bliss through direct experience' , Swamini Vimalanandaji of Chinamaya Mission, said.
By giving modaka, Ganesha ensures that one gets 'Satvik Sukh' , which is just unalloyed pleasure and makes one attain one's own
'Swaroop Anand' - a state of happiness that is compatible with one's own inherent nature. The Lord is able to give such exalted happiness
only because he is 'Gyan Murthi' or the knowledge giver.
A group of elephants worships Lord Ganesha in a temple of Mudumalai on the occasion of the ongoing 10-day Ganesha festival.
An important festival honors Ganesha for ten days starting with Ganesh Chaturthi, on September
9, 2013 this year. This festival culminates on the day of
Ananta Chaturdashi (September 18, 2013) when images (murtis) of Ganesha are immersed in the most convenient body of water.
For the first time in its 75-year history, Mumbai's popular Ganesh idol known as Lalbaugcha Raja
and its massive marquee have been insured for a whopping Rs.26.5 million (nearly $600000). last year.
Another insurance policy of Rs.10 million has been taken for the 1.5 million devotees likely to visit the venue at Parel in central Mumbai during the
10- day long Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
Ganesh idols are worshipped for 10 days and on the 11th, the statues
are taken through the streets in processions accompanied with dancing, singing and fanfare to be immersed in sea,
symbolizing a ritual see-off of the god.
On the occasion of the Ganapati festival, a large number of idols are made of
clay or metal in all possible sizes; sometimes even up to twenty feet. People buy idols of Lord Ganesha and install them in their houses and worship
the idol for one to ten days, after which the idols are taken out ceremoniously,
through the streets of the town (especially in Maharashtra) and immersed into the river, sea or well.
108 Names of Shri Ganesh
Akhuratha : One who has Mouse as His Charioteer
Alampata : Ever Eternal Lord
Amit : Incomparable Lord
Anantachidrupamayam :Infinite and Consciousness Personified
Avaneesh : Lord of the whole World
Avighna : Remover of Obstacles
Balaganapati : Beloved and Lovable Child
Bhalchandra : Moon-Crested Lord
Bheema : Huge and Gigantic
Bhupati :Lord of the Gods
Bhuvanpati :God of the Gods
Buddhinath :God of Wisdom
Buddhipriya : Knowledge Bestower
Buddhividhata : God of Knowledge
Chaturbhuj : One who has Four Arms
Devadeva : Lord! of All Lords
Devantakanashakarin : Destroyer of Evils and Asuras
Devavrata : One who accepts all Penances
Devendrashika : Protector of All Gods
Dharmik : One who gives Charity
Dhoomravarna :Smoke-Hued Lord
Durja : Invincible Lord
Dvaimatura : One who has two Mothers
Ekaakshara : He of the Single Syllable
Ekadanta : Single-Tusked Lord
Ekadrishta : Single-Tusked Lord
Eshanputra : Lord Shiva's Son
Gadadhara : One who has The Mace as His Weapon
Gajakarna : One who has Eyes like an Elephant
Gajanana : Elephant-Faced Lord
Gajananeti : Elephant-Faced Lord
Gajavakra : Trunk of The Elephant
Gajavaktra : One who has Mouth like an Elephant
Ganadhakshya : Lord of All Ganas (Gods)
Ganadhyakshina : Leader of All The Celestial Bodies
Ganapati : Lord of All Ganas (Gods)
Gaurisuta : The Son of Gauri (Parvati)
Gunina : One who is The Master of All Virtues
Haridra : One who is Golden Coloured
Heramba : Mother's Beloved Son
Kapila : Yellowish-Brown Coloured
Kaveesha : Master of Poets
Krti : Lord of Music
Kripalu : Merciful Lord
Krishapingaksha : Yellowish-Brown Eyed
Kshamakaram : The Place of Forgiveness
Kshipra : One who is easy to Appease
Lambakarna : Large-Eared Lord
Lambodara : The Huge Bellied Lord
Mahabala : Enormously Strong Lord
Mahaganapati : Omnipotent and Supreme Lord
Maheshwaram : Lord of The Universe
Mangalamurti : All Auspicious Lord
Manomay : Winner of Hearts
Mrityuanjaya : Conqueror of Death
Mundakarama : Abode of Happiness
Muktidaya : Bestower of Eternal Bliss
Musikvahana : One who has Mouse as His Charioteer
Nadapratithishta :One who Appreciates and Loves Music
Namasthetu : Vanquisher of All Evils and Vices and Sins
Nandana : Lord Shiva's Son
Nideeshwaram : Giver of Wealth and Treasures
Omkara :One who has the Form Of OM
Pitambara :One who has Yellow-Coloured Body
Pramoda :Lord of All Abodes
Prathameshwara :First Among All
Purush : The Omnipotent Personality
Rakta : One who has Red-Coloured Body
Rudrapriya :Beloved Of Lord Shiva
Sarvadevatman :Acceptor of All Celestial Offerings
Sarvasiddhanta : Bestower of Skills and Wisdom
Sarvatman :Protector of The Universe
Shambhavi : The Son of Parvati
Shashivarnam : One who has a Moon like Complexion
Shoorpakarna :Large-Eared Lord
Shuban :All Auspicious Lord
Shubhagunakanan : One who is The Master of All Virtues
Shweta : One who is as Pure as the White Colour
Siddhidhata : Bestower of Success and Accomplishments
Siddhipriya : Bestower of Wishes and Boons
Siddhivinayaka : Bestower of Success
Skandapurvaja : Elder Brother of Skand (Lord Kartik)
Sumukha : Auspicious Face
Sureshwaram :Lord of All Lords
Swaroop : Lover of Beauty
Tarun : Ageless
Uddanda : Nemesis of Evils and Vices
Umaputra : The Son of Goddess Uma (Parvati)
Vakratunda : Curved Trunk Lord
Varaganapati : Bestower of Boons
Varaprada : Granter of Wishes and Boons
Varadavinayaka : Bestower of Success
Veeraganapati : Heroic Lord
Vidyavaridhi : God of Wisdom
Vighnahara : Remover of Obstacles
Vignaharta : Demolisher of Obstacles
Vighnaraja : Lord of All Hindrances
Vighnarajendra : Lord of All Obstacles
Vighnavinashanaya : Destroyer of All Obstacles and Impediments
Vigneshwara: Lord of All Obstacles
Vikat : Huge and Gigantic
Vinayaka : Lord of All
Vishwamukha : Master of The Universe
Vishwaraja : King of The World
Yagnakaya : Acceptor of All Sacred and Sacrificial Offerings
Yashaskaram :Bestower of Fame and Fortune
Yashvasin : Beloved and Ever Popular Lord
Yogadhipa : The Lord of Meditation
40 feet-long Ganesha
On the occasion of Ganesha Chaturthi and the 10-day festivities ahead, noted sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik has made an image at the
Puri beach to evolve devotion and spread public awareness on global
warming on August .23, 2009 . Patnaik has sculpted a 40 feet-long Ganesha and a tree on His palm alongside a
message ‘Reduce Global Warming’ written next to the idol. To spread general awareness and make this sand image of Lord Ganesha, Patnaik
and his team have used around 70 tonnes of sand.
A painting depicting Lord Ganesha on a grain of rice in Vadodra is
vying to get into record books for being the tiniest image of the elephant-headed deity.
Installed at a pandal in Chhani road by an NGO 'Jaago Vadodara Jago',
this Ganesha weighs just 0.20 mg and is 5mm long spreading the message of
eco- friendly festivals. On September 22, 2010 this tiny idol immersed in a bucket full of water
A Japan's bank note illustrate the image of Ganesha.
Shri Ganesh worshiped in abroad
KUALA LUMPUR's longest convoy of 213 lorries took part in a
procession held on August 24, 2009 to celebrate Vinayagar Sathurthi, which marked the
birthday of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha. Measuring some 79.5km long, the convoy, which included an elephant to signify
the deity, achieve a new feat in the Malaysia Book of Records. Hundreds of devotees walked beside the lorries, which had been decorated with
portraits of the elephant-headed Hindu god, in a procession that began at 7.30am
from the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara. The procession stopped briefly at various places, including the Kottu Malai
Pillaiyar temple in Jalan Pudu Lama and Batu Caves, before making its way back to Sri Maha Mariamman.
Hundreds of Indian American devotees from all over the US have been thronging a Hindu-Jain temple in Philadelphia since last week to
celebrate the 10-day Ganesh festival. Lord Ganesh is the presiding deity of this temple, one of the oldest in North America, where
Indians immigrants are increasingly making their presence felt culturally.
Ganesh Chaturthi festival was celebrated in UAE last
year. Idols of Lord Ganesha in various shapes and sizes, were sold on the occasion at the Bur Dubai temple.
A huge crowd of enthuiasts landed there to buy the idols for being installed at their houses on the occasion of Ganesha Chaturti.
Lord Ganesha gets guard of honour
As part of a unique tradition, police personnel on Sunday gave a guard of honour to
Lord Ganesha in Mehsana. The town is perhaps the only place in the country where Lord Ganesha is given a guard of
honour, a tradition begun 77 years ago by the Gaekwad rulers of Baroda. The town of Mehsana came under Baroda regime after the fall of Delhi Sultanate.
This is the 2nd year that BIG 92.7 FM has supported the cause of an eco-friendly Ganesha
and the response and impact has only multiplied. While last years initiative was largely around encouraging people to bring home an eco-friendly
Ganesha, this year’s unique initiative of the paper collection drive gave the common man a chance to get involved and
contribute to a cleaner and greener environment thus driving in the message a lot stronger.