Lord Ganesha is the remover of all obstacles for the Hindus. But do you know about Lord Ganesha? Are all the legends true? Or is it that the symbolism has been confused due to the anthropomorphic nature of Puranic stories. In this blog post, we’ll be trying to understand Lord Ganesha in depth.
1. Who is Ganesha or Ganapati?
Ganesha, also known as Ganapati or Vinayaka, is the elephant-headed deity of Hindus. He is among the most well-known figure of Hinduism. Not just in Hinduism, but Ganesha is also present in other Indian religions like Buddhism, Jainism, etc.
With the spread of the cultural influence of Hinduism and Buddhism. Ganesha also spread to southeast Asia, Nepal, Tibet, China, and Japan. Many statues of Ganesha have also been found in Afghanistan. In Japan, he is present as Kangiten which is present with some positive attributes but other times with negative attributes.
Ganesha Purana, Mudgala Purana, and the Ganapati Atharvasirsha from where we get most of the information about Lord Ganesha. But Brahma Purana and Brahmanda Purana also have some stories related to Lord Ganesha.
Ganapati is made up of two words. Gana and Pati (leader) which means leader of the Ganas (people) i.e. leader of the people. This name can be attributed to Brahman(the ultimate reality) in Hinduism.
Connection to Om
Lord Ganesha is sometimes identified with omkarasvarupa (a form of Om), when identified with Ganesha, refers to the notion that he is the personification of the primal sound.
(O Lord Ganapati!) You are (the Trimurti) Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesa. You are Indra. You are fire [Agni] and air [Vāyu]. You are the sun [Sūrya] and the moon [Chandrama]. You are Brahman. You are (the three worlds) Bhuloka [earth], Antariksha-loka [space], and Swargaloka [heaven]. You are Om. (That is to say, You are all this).Ganapati Atharvashirsa; Source: wikipedia.org
3. Son of Shiva & Goddess Parvati?
One version says he is the manas(mind-born) son of Shiva. Another and more popular version says he was made from the clay by Goddess Parvati. He was given the task of guarding the gate of Parvati by her.
When Lord Ganesha doesn’t allow even Lord Shiva to enter the abode of Parvati. He gets enraged by this and beheads him. After knowing what has happened, he revives him by fixing an elephant head.
There are more contradicting stories in Puranas about the birth of Lord Ganesha. So, the authenticity of the stories is in question. If we pick one, then the question arises what about the other story.
This is evident from the contradiction shown in the stories. We can easily infer that these are more like fictional stories with some sprinkling of facts.
As Ganesha means “Lord/Leader of the people” i.e. Brahman and Brahman can’t take birth.
4. Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival celebrating the birthday of the elephant-headed god Ganesha. It is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and is observed throughout India, especially in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh.
The festival usually lasts for 10 days and culminates on Anant Chaturdashi. Ganesha is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, success, and good fortune. He is also revered as the remover of obstacles and is invoked before undertaking any new venture.
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi begins with the installation of Ganesh murti(idols) in homes and public pandals (temporary shrines). devotees offer prayers and perform various rituals during the 10 days. The festival culminates with the immersion of the Ganesh idols in water.
Ganesh Chaturthi is an important festival in the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated with great fanfare and devotion across India and the world where the Indian diaspora is present.