Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ganesh: Lord of Success

Ganesh: Lord of Success

Recently I had put up my Friday Moment, a picture of my Ganesh Corner at home. Many of my blogger friends wanted to know the significance of Ganesh…I have done my best with the information…


Ganesh — 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 Ganesh, but also shows how popular and pervasive this deity is in the minds of the masses.

The Lord of Success

The son of Shiv and Parvati, Ganesh 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, Ganesh is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiv and Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja.

Significance of the Ganesh Form

Ganesh'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 Ganesh holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesh's left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties.
The broken tusk that Ganesh 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 Ganesh Got His Head

The story of the birth of this deity, as depicted in the Shiv 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 Shiv, 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, Shiv 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. Shiv restored its life and made him the leader (pati) of his troops. Hence his name 'Ganapati'. Shiv 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: Shiv 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.

Ganesh, the Destroyer of Pride

Ganesh 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 Ganesh 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 Hindus."

Ganesh Chaturthi

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

You can get more information on this at

Labels: Ganesh, idol
Information: Courtesy Google
Video: Courtesy YouTube


  1. I heard from my grandma that ganesh is started load of all good event, but I don't understand at that moment why?????

    But now from your write-up I came to know that We pray Ganesh ji for getting success....

    Love you dee...

  2. jai ganesh.....

  3. it is just mind-blowing!Your idol carries so much symbolism! GREAT!!your deities are great and gretest of them all is Krishna, my divine lover!I love Him like mad!

  4. Thank you for such fascinating information and insight into your beliefs...the symbolism and explanation was wonderful to read.

  5. This is totally intriguing! Have never heard of this. Thanks for sharing :)

  6. So glad you took the time to put this together. This is interesting information and I have always wondered but never got around to researching :P

  7. Alpana, thanks a lot for this great effort in telling us about Lord Ganesh!This is so much information packed in such a short post!

  8. You bestow vision on the blind, chastened body on the leprous,
    Children on the sterile, and wealth on the destitute.
    We pray to thee day and night, please bestow success upon us.

    jai ganesha, jai ganesha, jai ganesha deva.

    wonderful post that gives each a good feel.

  9. Martha J.M. OrlandoDecember 1, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Wow! I'm so impressed by all this information about Ganesh and truly appreciate your sharing this with us. Fascinating!
    Blessings to you, Alpana!

  10. Hello.
    Very interesting information.
    Thanks for taking the time to explain. I appreciate the visit too.


  11. A little Garnish with any elephant.. :)

    Lovely and informative


  12. Enlightening info Alpana. Being from a different culture, I knew nothing about Ganesh. Thank you for doing your homework and sharing.

  13. Wow. I have studied a bit of Islam and Buddhism but I've not touched Hinduism ~ it's very interesting.

    Thanks for this detailed description of Ganesh. I have been reading through all the symbols the other night. I understood it more :)


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