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“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”


Lord Ganesha

All Tantric and spiritual worship in the Hindu tradition begins with the invocation of Ganesha (or Ganesh), the elephant-headed god.

Ganesha became the Lord (Isha) of all existing beings (Gana) after winning a contest from his brother Kartikay. When given the task to race around the universe, Ganesha did not start the race like Kartikay did, but simply walked around Shiva and Parvati, both his father and mother as the source of all existence.

Many stories describe how Ganesha got the elepant head. One tells how Parvati created Ganesha in absence of Shiva to guard her quarters. When Shiva wanted to see her Ganesha forbid it, at which point Shiva cut of his head. Later Shiva restored Ganesha to life and provided him with the head of an elephant, because no other was available. In another story, Ganesha’s head is burned to ashes when Saturn is forced by Parvati to look at her child and bless him.

Ganesha rides a rat that represents the subjugated demon of vanity and impertinence.

Acceptance of the somewhat funny looking elephant man Ganesha as the divine force stills the rational mind and it’s doubts, forcing one to look beyond outer appearances. Thus Ganesha creates the faith to remove all obstacles.

Meditation on the Ganesha Yantra creates internal balance.



4 stories about Lord Ganesha you probably didn’t know
Get ready for Ganesh Chaturthi with these legends about the most auspicious Hindu god.
Think anything auspicious in the Hindu context and Ganesha is one of the default visions. Why? Because as legend has it, Ganesha was to be the first lord of worship during any religious procession or celebration.

That being said, we know how the Ganesh Chaturthi fever is already taking over our lives. But as we get ready to gorge on modaks and chant aartis dedicated to the destroyer of obstacles, here are a few things about the cutest lord of them all you probably didn’t know:

1. The elephant head

It’s said that Lord Ganesha’s mother, Goddess Parvati, carved an idol of a boy out of turmeric powder and breathed life into it, unbeknownst to her husband, Lord Shiva.

So, when Ganesha denied Lord Shiva entry into his abode–because Goddess Parvati was bathing inside–Shiva decapitated Ganesha’s head in anger. According to legend, an elephant was the first animal that Lord Brahma later found when he went out to look for one (to replace Ganesha’s head).

2. Writing the Mahabhrata

It’s said that Ganesha wrote the Mahabharata, as it was recited to him by sage Vyasa (Veda Vyasa). According to Lifehacker, this was done on the condition that Vyasa would not stop while reciting the epic and that Ganesha would not stop while writing, besides the condition that Ganesha would not merely write it, but also understand every verse of it. Popular legends say that it took both of them three years of continuous speaking and writing to complete the epic.

3. The half-tusk

If you’ve ever noticed the idol of Lord Ganesha carefully, you’d have noticed the broken tusk. As legend goes, when Ganesha was writing the Mahabharata, the feather he was writing with broke. So, to stick to the condition of writing continuously, Ganesha broke his tusk and wrote with it.

Some are also of the belief that Lord Parashurama cut off one of Ganesha’s tusks because he didn’t allow him to enter the Shiva abode and meet Lord Shiva, who was busy praying, according to Lifehacker.

4. Mouse as his vehicle

Now, there are two theories to this:

First, in ancient times, when agriculture was the primary mode of sustenance, rodents were one of the biggest obstacles to prosperity–as they are for farmers even today. Destroying crops, eating stored grains are all in a day’s work for a rodent. Lord Ganesha, in having a mouse/rat as his vehicle, is symbolically shown to have conquered this pest, thus staying true to his name and work as the destroyer of obstacles, according to biodiversity of India.

Second, Lord Ganesha was able to reach all the nooks and crannies of the world–and do his duty as the destroyer of obstacles–because his vehicle was a mouse–because mice/rats can slither through tiny holes and narrow pathways.



“In heaven, Lord Ganesha will establish the predominance of gods, on earth, that of people, in the nether world, that of serpents and anti-gods”
~A Hymn from Sri Bhagavat-Tathva~

Ganesh, or Ganesha, the chubby, gentle, wise, elephant-headed Hindu God is one of Hinduisms most popular deities.

The Hindu God Ganesha is the remover of obstacles, the deity whom worshipers first acknowledge when they visit a temple.

Ganesha is known as the patron of letters and of learning; he is the legendary scribe who, using his commonly held broken tusk, wrote down parts of the Mahabharata Epic.
Ganesha is usually depicted colored red; he is pot bellied, has one tusk broken, and four arms that often hold a noose called a pasam, an elephant goad, and a pot of rice, or his favorite sweets, laddus. His appetite for these sweets is legendary and offerings of them are often left at his shrine.

Ganeshaa is often depicted carrying a pasam or noose. The noose is a triple twine weapon. The three twines represent 1-Arrogance and conceit, 2-Maya – The illusory nature of the real world, and 3-Ignorance.
Goads (or elephant prods) are typically used to direct elephants. Goads are symbolic of how one should steer the soul away from the ignorance and illusions of this earthly world just as a mahout would steer an elephant away from any treacherous path.

In Hindu ideology weapons are often viewed as symbolic tools to destroy the ego rather than to cause any type of bloodshed.

Ganesh’s name literally means “Lord of Gana.” Ganesha was entrusted by Shiva with the leadership of the Ganas, Shiva’s dwarfish, rowdy retinue, in compensation for the loss of his human head.
Ganesha’s characteristic pot belly is usually bound around with a cobra. The cobra is an animal usually associated with his father, the Hindu God Shiva, a reminder that Ganesha is his son.

In sculpture the position of Lord Ganesha’s trunk has a symbolic meaning. If the trunk turns to the Ganesha’s left, that is the direction for success in the world. It is a position associated with grihasthas, or householders. To his right, the trunk represents moksha, good for renouncing the world. When one chooses a Ganesh sculpture that is proper for their own spiritual path the trunk position is one thing that is good to keep in mind.

Lord Ganesha’s vehicle is the rat. Since rats are seen as being capable of gnawing their way through most things, the rat symbolizes Ganesha’s ability to destroy every obstacle.
Ganesha is often displayed playing a musical instrument. Much like Krishna, Ganesha affirms life by celebrating in it’s pleasures and beauty.

How Ganesha came to have the head of an elephant is explained in various stories. One account of his birth is that Parvati formed him from the rubbings of her body so that he might stand guard at the door while she bathed. When Shiva approached, unaware this was his son, he was enraged at being kept away from his wife and proceeded to lop off the head of Ganesha.

To ease Parvati’s grief, Shiva promised to cut off the head of the first living thing he saw and attach it to the body. That creature was an elephant. The Hindu God Ganesha was thus restored to life and rewarded for his courage by being made lord of new beginnings and guardian of entrances. A prayer to Ganesha is invariably accompanied by smashing a coconut, symbolic of smashing the undesirable forces inherent in oneself.





Who is Lord Ganesh?
Ganesha is the formless Divinity – encapsulated in a magnificent form, for the benefit of the devotee. As per Hindu mythology, he is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

The Meaning of Ganesh.
Gan means group. The universe is a group of atoms and different energies. This universe would be in chaos if there was no supreme law governing these diverse groups of entities.
The Lord of all these groups of atoms and energies is Ganesha.
He is the supreme consciousness that pervades all and brings order in this universe.

The Essence of Lord Ganesha.
The essence of Ganesha is brought out beautifully by Adi Shankara.

Though Ganesha is worshiped as the elephant-headed God, the form (swaroop) is just to bring out the formless (parabrahma roopa).

He is, ‘Ajam Nirvikalpam Niraakaaramekam.’ This means Ganesha is Ajam (unborn), he is Nirvikalpa(attributeless), he is Niraakaar (formless) and he symbolizes the consciousness which is omnipresent.

Ganesha is the same energy which is the reason for this universe. It is the energy from which everything manifests and into which everything will dissolve.
The Story of Lord Ganesha’s Birth.
We are all familiar with the story of how Ganesha became the elephant-headed God.
Parvati became dirty when she was celebrating with Shiva. When she realized this, she removed the dirt from her body and created a boy out of it. She then asked him to keep guard while she bathed.
When Shiva returned, the boy did not recognize him and obstructed his passage. So Shiva chopped off the boy’s head and entered.
Parvati was shocked when she saw this. She explained to Shiva that the boy was their son and pleaded with Shiva to save him at all costs.
Shiva then instructed his helpers to go and get the head of someone who was sleeping with their head pointing to the north. The helpers then got the head of an elephant, which Shiva affixed to the boy’s torso and Ganesha was born!

Facts to ponder upon in Lord Ganesha’s story.
Why should Parvati have dirt on her body?

Parvati is symbolic of festive energy. Her becoming dirty signifies that celebration can easily become Rajasik or feverish, and can take you away from your center. Dirt is symbolic of ignorance, and Shiva is symbolic of the Supreme Innocence, Peace and Knowledge.

Was Shiva, the epitome of peace, so short-tempered that he cut off the head of his own son? And why an elephant head on Ganesha?

When Ganesha obstructs the path of Shiva, this means that ignorance, which is an attribute of the head, does not recognize knowledge. Then knowledge has to overcome ignorance. This is the symbolism behind Shiva chopping off the boy’s head.

Why Lord Ganesha have an Elephant head ?

Elephant represents both gyan shakti and karma shakti. The principle qualities of the elephant are wisdom and effortlessness. The enormous head of the elephant signifies wisdom and knowledge.

Elephants don’t walk around obstacles, neither are they stopped by them. They just remove them and walk ahead – signifying effortlessness. So, when we worship Lord Ganesha these qualities within us are kindled and we take on these qualities.
Symbolism and Significance of Ganesha
Ganesha’s big belly represents generosity and total acceptance.

Ganesha’s upraised hand depicts protection. It means, ‘Fear not, I am with you’, and his lowered hand, palm facing outwards means endless giving as well as an invitation to bow down. This is also symbolic of the fact that we will all dissolve into earth one day.

Ganesha also has a single tusk which signifies one-pointedness. Even the implements Ganesha wields are symbolic.

He carries in his hands the ‘Ankusa’ (signifying awakening) and the ‘Paasa’ (signifying control). With awakening, a lot of energy is released, which without proper control, can go haywire.

Ganesha, the elephant-headed God travel on something as small as a mouse? Isn’t that so incongruous? Again there is symbolism that runs deep. The mouse snips and nibbles away at ropes that bind. The mouse is like the mantra which can cut through sheaths and sheaths of ignorance, leading to the ultimate knowledge represented by Ganesha!
Our ancient Rishis were so deeply intelligent that they chose to express Divinity in terms of symbols rather than words since words change over time, but symbols remain unchanged.
Let us keep the deep symbolism in mind as we experience the omnipresent in the form of the elephant God, yet be fully aware that Ganesha is very much within us. This is the wisdom we should carry as we celebrate Ganesh Chaturti.



Lord Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiv and Goddess Parvati. He is considered to be a combination of four creature- man, elephant, mouse and snake. His vehicle is a mouse. He has four hands, a big belly and the face of an elephant. In his hands he carries – a rope (to help lead the worshipers to the truth), an axe (to cut away the devotees wrong attachments) and ladoo (to reward the devotees). Lord Ganesha is a very popular god and there are many interesting stories about him. Here are a few popular Ganesha Stories-

The Birth of Ganesha
Goddess Parvati wanted to take a bath. She needed someone to stand guard at the entrance and not let anyone in till she finished her bath. So she took the sandalwood paste on her body and created the form of a boy and breathed life into it. She told the boy (his son) to stand guard for her and not let anyone in. Lord Shiva returned after sometime and saw the boy. He did not know that the boy was his son. The boy refused him to enter which angered Shiva. So in his rage he cut off the boy’s head. When Parvati came outside after taking the bath she was horrified and filled with rage upon seeing her Son’s headless body. She threatened to destroy the entire creation if her son was not brought back to life. So Shiva asked Nandi, the Bull, to go and bring the head of the first animal he sees. Nandi first came upon an elephant on his search and brought its head to Shiva who then joined it to his son’s body. He named him Ganapati (lord of all the ganas) and gave him a boon that he will be worshiped first before any beginnings.


Ganesha and the Moon
Ganesha loved sweets a lot. So his devotees always offered him sweets which made him happy. One day a devotee gave him lots of sweets. Ganesha was so happy he sat and ate till his stomach was full. Then he got up, gathered the remaining sweets and started slowly towards home on his vehicle- a tiny mouse. The mouse couldn’t bear his weight and it tripped which led to Ganesha falling off and the sweets scattering everywhere. Ganesha was embarrassed and he quickly got up and gathered all the sweets, looking around to see if anyone had seen him fall. The moon, in the sky who saw all this, started laughing as he found it really funny. He was proud about his own handsome feature and had always found Ganesha’s pot belly very funny. Seeing him laugh filled Ganesha with anger. He called the moon vain and cursed him that anyone who looks at the moon on Chaturthi will be wrongly blamed. The moon realized his mistake and begged Ganesha to remove the curse. Seeing this Ganesha softened and forgave the moon. He told the moon that he couldn’t remove the curse but he would reduce its impact. Anyone who looked at the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi could redeem themselves by looking at the moon on the second day of fortnight and listening to stories of Krishna or Syamantaka gem.


Lord Ganesha and Murugan
Ganesha Stories – Ganesha and MuruganOnce the demi-gods had an argument over which son of Shiva and Parvati was the wisest. They couldn’t settle this argument and went to Lord Brahma to find the answer. But Lord Brahma did not know the answer. So he asked his son ‘Narad’ to go and find the answer using his tricks and antics. So Narad went to Shiva and Parvati and offered them a golden Mango. He said that the one who eats this mango will be granted immortality and supreme knowledge. Shiva and Parvati decided to give to one of their sons. Now they didn’t know who was more deserving of the fruit. So they decided to hold a test. The one to circle the world three times and return first will get the fruit. Lord Murugan immediately climbed on to his peacock and left. He knew he would win because Ganesha’s vehicle- the mouse was very slow as Ganesha was heavy. Ganesha knew this too. So he thought about it and came up with the solution. He circled his parents (Shiva and Parvati) three times with full devotion. They were surprised and asked him what his was doing. So he told them that they were his entire world and hence he circled them. Ganesha won the race and upon returning Murugan accepted defeat. Ganesha got the fruit and the demi-gods got their answer on who was the wisest among the two sons.

Lord Ganesha and his Broken Tusk
There are two versions of this story-

Sage Vyasa wanted to write down the poem of Mahabharata. So he approached Ganesha and asked him to write down what he dictated. Ganesha agreed but he had a condition that Sage Vyasa would not stop dictating the poem till it ended. The Sage in turn also gave a condition that Ganesha will understand what he dictates before writing it down. Ganesha agreed and they started writing. Sage Vyasa would dictate a difficult verse each time he needed to catch his breath as Ganesha would take time to understand it. In his hurry to complete the poem Ganesha broke the feather he was writing with. So he broke of his tusk and dipped it in the ink and continued writing till the poem ended. In this way Ganesha sacrificed his tusk for knowledge.
According to another version Bhagwan Parshuram, the axe carrying incarnation of lord Vishnu came to visit Lord Shiva as he wanted to thank him for providing him with the power and the axe that led to his victory over Kartavirya Arjuna and the kings allied with him. Ganesha stopped him from visiting saying that his father was sleeping with his mother and he did not want him to disturb them. This angered Parashurama and he started fighting Ganesha. Ganesha was winning but then Parshuram threw his axe at Ganesha. But Ganesha did not block the axe as he knew that it was a gift of his father Shiva to Parshuram and the axe cut his tusk.
Ganesha and his Two Wives
Ganesha and His Wives – Ganesha Stories
As Ganesha had an elephant head, there was no girl ready to marry him. While every god had someone, he did not have anyone. This angered him and he started creating troubles in the marriages of the other demi-gods using the help of his mouse friends. He asked them to dig holes along the way on which the wedding procession of demi-gods went. The demi-gods had to face a lot of trouble. So they complained to Lord Brahma who agreed to help them. He created two beautiful girls – Riddhi (wealth and prosperity and Siddhi (intellectual and spiritual power) and married them to Ganesha hence solving the problem. They had two sons together – Subha (auspiciousness) and Labha (profit).


Lord Ganesha and Lord Kubera
Lord Kubera was the god of wealth and he was very proud of his riches. One day he organised a big feast and invited many popular people. He also went and invited Shiva. Lord Shiva knew his true intentions of keeping the feast. He just wanted to show off his wealth. So he told him that his son Ganesha would attend the feast and to take care of him and his hunger. Kubera was confident that he would be able to serve Ganesha well. When Ganesha came on the day of the feast he started eating. He ate everything given to him and each time asked for more. Eventually all the food finished and Ganesha was still hungry. He started eating the vessels and furniture and other things next. So Lord Kubera ran to Lord Shiva for his help. Lord Shiva handed Ganesha a cup of roasted ice that immediately satisfied his hunger. Lord Kubera realized his mistake and asked forgiveness for his pride over his wealth.


Lord Ganesha and the Bool of Kheer
Ganesha and Bool of KheerOnce a little boy was roaming a village shouting that he had a fistful of rice and a spoonful of milk and he wanted someone to make a bowl of kheer from it. The villagers ignored him and did not offer him any help as they knew that a fistful of rice and milk was not enough for the kheer. The boy did not lose hope and he roamed around the village the entire day shouting. At last a poor old woman agreed to make him the kheer. The boy was delighted and he asked her to cook the kheer in a big vessel. The old woman was puzzled but she did as he said and borrowed a big vessel from her neighbour. She put in the rice and milk and a little sugar. As the kheer cooked the boy left for some time after making the old woman promise that she would not eat the kheer before he tastes it. The old woman agreed. She fell asleep and woke up to the delicious smell of cooked kheer. When she looked at the vessel she was surprised to find the vessel full to the brim with kheer and she knew it was the blessins of Lord Ganesha. She was very hungry but waited for the boy to return. When he did not return she took a spoonful of milk and set it aside for lord ganseha and then she ate the kheer until she was full. The boy returned and the old woman asked forgiveness for breaking the promise. To this the boy smiled and replied that she had not broken the promise as he was Lord Ganesha. The woman fell to her knees and asked forgiveness for not recognizing him. Ganesha embraced her and granted her a wish. The woman asked for beauty and riches and Ganesha fulfilled it.