Sri Ganesh

Sri Ganesha nama! The elder of the two sons of shiva and parvati, Sri ganesh, the elephant-headed god, is recognizes as the supreme leader (Vinayaka), the loard who over comes all obstacles(Viganeshwar) and as the leader of Ganas(Ganapati). Both Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge and Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperiety, favour him to make him the master of knowledge, success and achievement. Sri Ganesha is the most revered of Hindu gods. He is so blessed that before any ceremony or auspicious occasion, prayers must first be offered to him. He is vignaharta and master of Riddi-Siddi. This simply means that he removes all obstacles that confront devotees. A prayer, an offering or penance made for him ensures success, wealth and prosperity.

Ganesha is usually depicted either as a pictograph or as an idol with the body of a man and the head of an elephant, having only one tusk, the other tusk appearing broken. His unique feature, besides the elephant head, is the large belly practically falling over his lower garment. On his chest, across his left shoulder, is his sacred thread, often in the form of a snake. The vehicle of Ganesha is the mouse, often seen paying obeisance to his lord.

The elephant head is not without significane. The fan-like ears make sri Ganewsh a keen listener, one who comprehends knowledge well. The sharp eyes make him a eager observer, together, the eyes and ears contribute to make wise and learned. They also add to his ability to discriminate between good and evil. The trunk is unique in that it can not only smell, but equally capable of picking up something as smell as a blade of grass, or a huge object like a tree trunk. While the two tusks represent the power to discern between good and evil, The broken tusk is symbolic that Sri Ganesh is above the pairs of opposites like joy and sorrow that affect mankind. The wide mouth enables Sri Ganesh to eat enough to humble the pride of kuber, god of wealth. Yet it can be satisfied with a few blades of durva grass or a modak offered with devotion. The potbelly is large enough to accomodateball kind of experiences.
The sacred texts give a variety of stories narrating the sequence of Ganesha's birth, the most popular being the one mentioning that Ganesha was created by Goddess Parvati as a guardian to her privacy: Incensed by the refusal of her husband to respect her privacy, to the extent of entering her private chambers even while she was having her bath, Parvati decided to settle matters once and for all. Before going for her bath the next time, she rubbed off the sandalwood paste on her body and out of it created the figure of a young boy. She infused life into the figure and told him he was her son and should guard the entrance while she bathed. Soon after, Shiva (Lord of destruction and husband of Parvati) came to see Parvati but the young boy blocked his way and would not let him in. Shiva, unaware that this lad was his son, became furious and in great anger fought with this boy whose head got severed from his body in the ensuing battle. Parvati, returning from her bath, saw her headless son and threatened in her rage to destroy the heavens and the earth, so great was her sorrow. Shiva pacified her and instructed his followers (known as ganas) to bring the head of the first living being they encounter. The first creature they encountered was an elephant. They thus cut off its head and placed it on the body of Parvati's son and breathed life into him. Thus overjoyed, Parvati embraced her son. The son of Parvati was given the name Ganesha by Shiva. The word Ganesha is made up of gana (followers of Shiva) and isha (lord), thus Shiva appointed him the lord of his ganas.

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