Ganesh Chaturthi Festival


An annual festival honours Ganesha for ten days, starting on Ganesh Chaturthi, which typically falls in late August or early September. The festival culminates on the day of Ananta Chaturdashi, when images (murtis) of Ganesha are immersed in the most convenient body of water.
In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak transformed this annual Ganesha festival from private family celebrations into a grand public event. He did so "to bridge the gap between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins and find an appropriate context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them" in his nationalistic strivings against the British in Maharashtra. Because of Ganesha's wide appeal as "the god for Everyman", Tilak chose him as a rallying point for Indian protest against British rule.
Tilak was the first to install large public images of Ganesha in pavilions, and he established the practice of submerging all the public images on the tenth day.Today, Hindus across India celebrate the Ganapati festival with great fervour, though it is most popular in the state of Maharashtra. The festival also assumes huge proportions in Mumbai and in the surrounding belt of Ashtavinayaka temples.

Further information: List of Ganapati temples and Ashtavinayak

In Hindu temples, Ganesha is depicted in various ways: as an acolyte or subordinate deity (pãrśva-devatã); as a deity related to the principal deity (parivāra-devatã); or as the principal deity of the temple (pradhāna), treated similarly as the highest gods of the Hindu pantheon.As the god of transitions, he is placed at the doorway of many Hindu temples to keep out the unworthy, which is analogous to his role as Parvati’s doorkeeper. In addition, several shrines are dedicated to Ganesha himself, of which the Ashtavinayak (Sanskrit: अष्टविनायक; aṣṭavināyaka; lit. "eight Ganesha (shrines)") in Maharashtra are particularly well known. Located within a 100-kilometer radius of the city of Pune, each of these eight shrines celebrates a particular form of Ganapati, complete with its own lore and legend; together they "form a mandala, demarking the sacred cosmos of Ganesha".

There are many other important Ganesha temples at the following locations: Wai in Maharashtra; Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh; Jodhpur, Nagaur and Raipur (Pali) in Rajasthan; Baidyanath in Bihar; Baroda, Dholaka, and Valsad in Gujarat and Dhundiraj Temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Prominent Ganesha temples in southern India include the following: : the Jambukeśvara Temple (Ucchi pillaiyar kottai) at Tiruchirapalli; at Rameshvaram and Suchindram; Karpaka Vinayakar Temple in TamilNadu; Hampi, Kasargod, and Idagunji in Karnataka; and Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh.

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Ganesha Family

Though Ganesha is popularly held to be the son of Shiva and Parvati, the Puranic myths disagree about his birth. He may have been created by Shiva, or by Parvati, or by Shiva and Parvati, or appeared mysteriously and was discovered by Shiva and Parvati.

The family includes his brother Skanda, who is also called Karttikeya, Murugan, and other names.[104] Regional differences dictate the order of their births. In northern India, Skanda is generally said to be the elder, while in the south, Ganesha is considered the first born. Skanda was an important martial deity from about 500 BCE to about 600 CE, when worship of him declined significantly in northern India. As Skanda fell, Ganesha rose. Several stories tell of sibling rivalry between the brothers and may reflect sectarian tensions.


Ganesha's marital status, the subject of considerable scholarly review, varies widely in mythological stories. One pattern of myths identifies Ganesha as an unmarried brahmacārin. This view is common in southern India and parts of northern India. Another pattern associates him with the concepts of Buddhi , Siddhi (spiritual power), and Riddhi ; these qualities are sometimes personified as goddesses, said to be Ganesha's wives. He also may be shown with a single consort or a nameless servant . Another pattern connects Ganesha with the goddess of culture and the arts, Sarasvati or Śarda (particularly in Maharashtra). He is also associated with the goddess of luck and prosperity, Lakshmi. Another pattern, mainly prevalent in the Bengal region, links Ganesha with the banana tree, Kala Bo.

The Shiva Purana says that Ganesha had two sons: Kşema and Lābha . In northern Indian variants of this story, the sons are often said to be Śubha (auspiciouness) and Lābha.] The 1975 Hindi film Jai Santoshi Maa shows Ganesha married to Riddhi and Siddhi and having a daughter named Santoshi Ma, the goddess of satisfaction. This story has no Puranic basis, but Anita Raina Thapan and Lawrence Cohen cite Santoshi Ma's cult as evidence of Ganesha's continuing evolution as a popular deity.
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Ganesha is the Lord of letters and learning


Ganesha is Vighneshvara or Vighnaraja, the Lord of Obstacles, both of a material and spiritual order. He is popularly worshipped as a remover of obstacles, though traditionally he also places obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked. Paul Courtright says that "his task in the divine scheme of things, his dharma, is to place and remove obstacles. It is his particular territory, the reason for his creation."

Krishan notes that some of Ganesha's names reflect shadings of multiple roles that have evolved over time. Dhavalikar ascribes the quick ascension of Ganesha in the Hindu pantheon, and the emergence of the Ganapatyas, to this shift in emphasis from vighnakartā (obstacle-creator) to vighnahartā (obstacle-averter). However, both functions continue to be vital to his character, as Robert Brown explains, "even after the Purāṇic Gaṇeśa is well-defined, in art Gaṇeśa remained predominantly important for his dual role as creator and remover of obstacles, thus having both a negative and a positive aspect


Ganesha is considered to be the Lord of letters and learning. In Sanskrit, the word buddhi is a feminine noun that is variously translated as intelligence, wisdom, or intellect. The concept of buddhi is closely associated with the personality of Ganesha, especially in the Puranic period, when many stories stress his cleverness and love of intelligence. One of Ganesha's names in the Ganesha Purana and the Ganesha Sahasranama is Buddhipriya. This name also appears in a list of 21 names at the end of the Ganesha Sahasranama that Ganesha says are especially important. The word priya can mean "fond of", and in a marital context it can mean "lover" or "husband", so the name may mean either "Fond of Intelligence" or "Buddhi's Husband".


Ganesha is identified with the Hindu mantra Aum (ॐ, also called Om). The term oṃkārasvarūpa (Aum is his form), when identified with Ganesha, refers to the notion that he personifies the primal sound. The Ganapati Atharvashirsa attests to this association. Chinmayananda translates the relevant passage as follows:

(O Lord Ganapati!) You are (the Trinity) 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)

Some devotees see similarities between the shape of Ganesha's body in iconography and the shape of Aum in the Devanāgarī and Tamil scripts.

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