Ganesha (/ɡəˈneɪʃə/; Sanskrit: गणेश, Gaṇeśa;
listen (help·info)), also known as Ganapati, Vinayaka,
Pillaiyar and Binayak, is one of the best-known and most worshiped
deities in the
Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India,
Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Nepal.
Hindu denominations worship him
regardless of affiliations. Devotion to
Ganesha is widely diffused
and extends to Jains and Buddhists.
Although he is known by many attributes, Ganesha's elephant head makes
him easy to identify.
Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of
obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of
intellect and wisdom. As the god of beginnings, he is honoured at
the start of rites and ceremonies.
Ganesha is also invoked as patron
of letters and learning during writing sessions. Several texts
relate mythological anecdotes associated with his birth and exploits
and explain his distinct iconography.
Ganesha likely emerged as a deity as early as the 2nd century AD,
but most certainly by the 4th and 5th centuries AD, during the Gupta
period, although he inherited traits from Vedic and pre-Vedic
Hindu mythology identifies him as the restored son of
Shiva of the
Shaivism tradition, but he is a pan-
found in its various traditions. In the
Ganapatya tradition of
Ganesha is the supreme deity. The principal texts on
Ganesha include the
Ganesha Purana, the Mudgala Purana, and the
Brahma Purana and
Brahmanda Purana are other
two Puranic genre encyclopedic texts that deal with Ganesha.
1 Etymology and other names
2.1 Common attributes
3.1 Removal of obstacles
3.4 First chakra
4 Family and consorts
5 Worship and festivals
6 Rise to prominence
6.1 First appearance
6.2 Possible influences
6.3 Vedic and epic literature
6.4 Puranic period
India and Hinduism
10 External links
Etymology and other names
Ganesha, Madhya Pradesh, c. 750, India
Ganesha has been ascribed many other titles and epithets, including
Ganapati (Ganpati) and Vighneshvara.
The Hindu title of respect Shri
(Sanskrit: श्री; IAST: śrī; also spelled Sri or Shree) is
often added before his name.
Ganesha is a
Sanskrit compound, joining the words gana
(gaṇa), meaning a group, multitude, or categorical system and isha
(īśa), meaning lord or master. The word gaņa when associated
Ganesha is often taken to refer to the gaņas, a troop of
semi-divine beings that form part of the retinue of Shiva, Ganesha's
father. The term more generally means a category, class,
community, association, or corporation. Some commentators
interpret the name "Lord of the Gaņas" to mean "Lord of Hosts" or
"Lord of created categories", such as the elements. Ganapati
(गणपति; gaṇapati), a synonym for Ganesha, is a compound
composed of gaṇa, meaning "group", and pati, meaning "ruler" or
"lord". Though the earliest mention of the word Ganapati is found
in hymn 2.23.1 of the 2nd-millennium BCE Rigveda, it is however
uncertain that the Vedic term referred specifically to
Ganesha. The Amarakosha, an early
Sanskrit lexicon, lists
eight synonyms of Ganesha: Vinayaka, Vighnarāja (equivalent to
Vighnesha), Dvaimātura (one who has two mothers), Gaṇādhipa
(equivalent to Ganapati and Ganesha), Ekadanta (one who has one tusk),
Heramba, Lambodara (one who has a pot belly, or, literally, one who
has a hanging belly), and Gajanana (gajānana); having the face of an
Vinayaka (विनायक; vināyaka) is a common name for Ganesha
that appears in the Purāṇas and in Buddhist Tantras. This name
is reflected in the naming of the eight famous
Ganesha temples in
Maharashtra known as the
अष्टविनायक, aṣṭavināyaka). The names
Vighnesha (विघ्नेश; vighneśa) and Vighneshvara
(विघ्नेश्वर; vighneśvara) (Lord of Obstacles)
refers to his primary function in
Hinduism as the master and remover
of obstacles (vighna).
A prominent name for
Ganesha in the
Tamil language is Pillai (Tamil:
பிள்ளை) or Pillaiyar (பிள்ளையார்).
A. K. Narain differentiates these terms by saying that pillai means a
"child" while pillaiyar means a "noble child". He adds that the words
pallu, pella, and pell in the Dravidian family of languages signify
"tooth or tusk", also "elephant tooth or tusk". Anita Raina Thapan
notes that the root word pille in the name Pillaiyar might have
originally meant "the young of the elephant", because the
pillaka means "a young elephant".
In the Burmese language,
Ganesha is known as Maha Peinne
(မဟာပိန္နဲ, pronounced [məhà pèiɴné]),
Pali Mahā Wināyaka (မဟာဝိနာယက).
The widespread name of
Thailand is Phra Phikanet. The
earliest images and mention of
Ganesha names as a major deity in
present-day Indonesia, Thailand,
Cambodia and Vietnam date from
the 7th- and 8th-centuries, and these mirror Indian examples of
the 5th century or earlier.
In Sri Lankan Singhala Buddhist areas he is known as
Gana deviyo, and
revered along with Buddha, Vishnu, Skanda and others.
A 13th-century statue of Ganesha, Hoysala-style, Karnataka
Ganesha is a popular figure in Indian art. Unlike those of some
deities, representations of
Ganesha show wide variations and distinct
patterns changing over time. He may be portrayed standing,
dancing, heroically taking action against demons, playing with his
family as a boy, sitting down or on an elevated seat, or engaging in a
range of contemporary situations.
Ganesha images were prevalent in many parts of
India by the 6th
century. The 13th-century statue pictured is typical of Ganesha
statuary from 900–1200, after
Ganesha had been well-established as
an independent deity with his own sect. This example features some of
Ganesha's common iconographic elements. A virtually identical statue
has been dated between 973–1200 by Paul Martin-Dubost, and
another similar statue is dated c. 12th century by Pratapaditya
Ganesha has the head of an elephant and a big belly. This
statue has four arms, which is common in depictions of Ganesha. He
holds his own broken tusk in his lower-right hand and holds a
delicacy, which he samples with his trunk, in his lower-left hand. The
Ganesha turning his trunk sharply to his left to taste a
sweet in his lower-left hand is a particularly archaic feature. A
more primitive statue in one of the
Ellora Caves with this general
form has been dated to the 7th century. Details of the other hands
are difficult to make out on the statue shown. In the standard
Ganesha typically holds an axe or a goad in one upper
arm and a pasha (noose) in the other upper arm. In rare instances, he
may be depicted with a human head.
The influence of this old constellation of iconographic elements can
still be seen in contemporary representations of Ganesha. In one
modern form, the only variation from these old elements is that the
lower-right hand does not hold the broken tusk but is turned towards
the viewer in a gesture of protection or fearlessness (abhaya
mudra). The same combination of four arms and attributes occurs in
Ganesha dancing, which is a very popular theme.
For thirty-two popular iconographic forms of Ganesha, see Thirty-two
forms of Ganesha.
A typical four-armed form. Miniature of Nurpur school (circa 1810)
Ganesha has been represented with the head of an elephant since the
early stages of his appearance in Indian art. Puranic myths
provide many explanations for how he got his elephant head. One of
his popular forms, Heramba-Ganapati, has five elephant heads, and
other less-common variations in the number of heads are known.
While some texts say that
Ganesha was born with an elephant head, he
acquires the head later in most stories. The most recurrent motif
in these stories is that
Ganesha was created by
Parvati using clay to
protect her and
Shiva beheaded him when
Ganesha came between
Shiva then replaced Ganesha's original head with that of an
elephant. Details of the battle and where the replacement head
came from varying from source to source. Another story says
Ganesha was created directly by Shiva's laughter. Because Shiva
Ganesha too alluring, he gave him the head of an elephant
and a protruding belly.
Ganesha's earliest name was Ekadanta (One Tusked), referring to his
single whole tusk, the other being broken. Some of the earliest
Ganesha show him holding his broken tusk. The importance
of this distinctive feature is reflected in the Mudgala Purana, which
states that the name of Ganesha's second incarnation is Ekadanta.
Ganesha's protruding belly appears as a distinctive attribute in his
earliest statuary, which dates to the Gupta period (4th to 6th
centuries). This feature is so important that according to the
Mudgala Purana, two different incarnations of
Ganesha use names based
on it: Lambodara (Pot Belly, or, literally, Hanging Belly) and
Mahodara (Great Belly). Both names are
describing his belly (IAST: udara). The
Brahmanda Purana says that
Ganesha has the name Lambodara because all the universes (i.e., cosmic
eggs; IAST: brahmāṇḍas) of the past, present, and future are
present in him. The number of Ganesha's arms varies; his
best-known forms have between two and sixteen arms. Many
Ganesha feature four arms, which is mentioned in Puranic
sources and codified as a standard form in some iconographic
texts. His earliest images had two arms. Forms with 14 and 20
arms appeared in Central
India during the 9th and the 10th
centuries. The serpent is a common feature in
and appears in many forms. According to the
Ganesha wrapped the serpent
Vasuki around his neck. Other
depictions of snakes include use as a sacred thread (IAST:
yajñyopavīta) wrapped around the stomach as a belt, held in a
hand, coiled at the ankles, or as a throne. Upon Ganesha's forehead
may be a third eye or the sectarian mark (IAST: tilaka), which
consists of three horizontal lines. The
Ganesha Purana prescribes
a tilaka mark as well as a crescent moon on the forehead. A
distinct form of
Ganesha called Bhalachandra (IAST: bhālacandra;
"Moon on the Forehead") includes that iconographic element.
Ganesha is often described as red in color. Specific colors are
associated with certain forms. Many examples of color associations
with specific meditation forms are prescribed in the Sritattvanidhi, a
Hindu iconography. For example, white is associated with
his representations as Heramba-Ganapati and Rina-Mochana-Ganapati
(Ganapati Who Releases from Bondage). Ekadanta-Ganapati is
visualized as blue during meditation in that form.
Ganesha sculpture from North Bengal, 11th century CE, Asian
Art Museum of Berlin (Dahlem).
Ganesha images are without a vahana (mount/vehicle).
Of the eight incarnations of
Ganesha described in the Mudgala Purana,
Ganesha uses a mouse (shrew) in five of them, a lion in his
incarnation as Vakratunda, a peacock in his incarnation as Vikata, and
Shesha, the divine serpent, in his incarnation as Vighnaraja.
Mohotkata uses a lion, Mayūreśvara uses a peacock, Dhumraketu uses a
horse, and Gajanana uses a mouse, in the four incarnations of Ganesha
listed in the
Ganesha Purana. Jain depictions of
Ganesha show his
vahana variously as a mouse, elephant, tortoise, ram, or peacock.
Ganesha is often shown riding on or attended by a mouse, shrew or
rat. Martin-Dubost says that the rat began to appear as the
principal vehicle in sculptures of
Ganesha in central and western
India during the 7th century; the rat was always placed close to his
feet. The mouse as a mount first appears in written sources in the
Matsya Purana and later in the Brahmananda Purana and
Ganesha uses it as his vehicle in his last incarnation. The
Ganapati Atharvashirsa includes a meditation verse on
describes the mouse appearing on his flag. The names
Mūṣakavāhana (mouse-mount) and Ākhuketana (rat-banner) appear in
The mouse is interpreted in several ways. According to Grimes, "Many,
if not most of those who interpret Gaṇapati's mouse, do so
negatively; it symbolizes tamoguṇa as well as desire". Along
these lines, Michael Wilcockson says it symbolizes those who wish to
overcome desires and be less selfish. Krishan notes that the rat
is destructive and a menace to crops. The
Sanskrit word mūṣaka
(mouse) is derived from the root mūṣ (stealing, robbing). It was
essential to subdue the rat as a destructive pest, a type of vighna
(impediment) that needed to be overcome. According to this theory,
Ganesha as master of the rat demonstrates his function as
Vigneshvara (Lord of Obstacles) and gives evidence of his possible
role as a folk grāma-devatā (village deity) who later rose to
greater prominence. Martin-Dubost notes a view that the rat is a
symbol suggesting that Ganesha, like the rat, penetrates even the most
Ganesha with consort, 18th century Nepal
Removal of obstacles
Ganesha is Vighneshvara or Vighnaraja or Vighnaharta (Marathi), 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.
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
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, Chola period, early 13th century.
Ganesha is identified with the
Hindu mantra Aum, also spelled Om. The
term oṃkārasvarūpa (
Aum is his form), when identified with
Ganesha, refers to the notion that he personifies the primal
Ganapati Atharvashirsa attests to this association.
Chinmayananda translates the relevant passage as follows:
(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).
Some devotees see similarities between the shape of Ganesha's body in
iconography and the shape of
Aum in the Devanāgarī and Tamil
According to Kundalini yoga,
Ganesha resides in the first chakra,
Muladhara (mūlādhāra). Mula means "original, main"; adhara
means "base, foundation". The muladhara chakra is the principle on
which the manifestation or outward expansion of primordial Divine
Force rests. This association is also attested to in the Ganapati
Atharvashirsa. Courtright translates this passage as follows: "You
continually dwell in the sacral plexus at the base of the spine
[mūlādhāra cakra]." Thus,
Ganesha has a permanent abode in
every being at the Muladhara.
Ganesha holds, supports and guides
all other chakras, thereby "governing the forces that propel the wheel
Family and consorts
Mythological anecdotes of Ganesha
Mythological anecdotes of Ganesha and Consorts of Ganesha
Parvati giving a bath to Ganesha. Kangra miniature, 18th
century. Allahabad Museum, New Delhi.
Ganesha is popularly held to be the son of
Shiva and Parvati,
the Puranic myths give different versions about his birth. In
some he was created by Parvati, in another he was created by
Shiva and Parvati, in another he appeared mysteriously and was
Shiva and Parvati or he was born from the elephant
headed goddess Malini after she drank Parvati's bath water that had
been thrown in the river.
The family includes his brother, the god of war, Kartikeya, who is
also called Skanda and Murugan. 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
firstborn. In northern India, Skanda was an important martial
deity from about 500 BCE to about 600 CE, after which worship of him
declined significantly. As Skanda fell,
Ganesha rose. Several stories
tell of sibling rivalry between the brothers and may reflect
Ganesha's marital status, the subject of considerable scholarly
review, varies widely in mythological stories. One pattern of
Ganesha as an unmarried brahmachari. This view
is common in southern
India and parts of northern India. Another
pattern associates him with the concepts of
Buddhi (intellect), Siddhi
(spiritual power), and
Riddhi (prosperity); 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
(Sanskrit: daşi). 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.
Shiva Purana says that
Ganesha had begotten two sons: Kşema
(prosperity) and Lābha (profit). In northern Indian variants of this
story, the sons are often said to be Śubha (auspiciouness) and
Lābha. The 1975
Jai Santoshi Maa
Jai Santoshi Maa shows Ganesha
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.
Worship and festivals
Ganesha by the Tamil community in Paris, France
Ganesha is worshipped on many religious and secular occasions,
especially at the beginning of ventures such as buying a vehicle or
starting a business. K.N. Somayaji says, "there can hardly be a
[Hindu] home [in India] which does not house an idol of
Ganapati. ... Ganapati, being the most popular deity in India, is
worshipped by almost all castes and in all parts of the country".
Devotees believe that if
Ganesha is propitiated, he grants success,
prosperity and protection against adversity.
Ganesha is a non-sectarian deity. Hindus of all denominations invoke
him at the beginning of prayers, important undertakings, and religious
ceremonies. Dancers and musicians, particularly in southern
India, begin art performances such as the
Bharatnatyam dance with a
prayer to Ganesha. Mantras such as Om
Shri Gaṇeshāya Namah (Om,
salutation to the Illustrious Ganesha) are often used. One of the most
famous mantras associated with
Ganesha is Om Gaṃ Ganapataye Namah
(Om, Gaṃ, Salutation to the Lord of Hosts).
Ganesha sweets such as modaka and small sweet balls
called laddus. He is often shown carrying a bowl of sweets,
called a modakapātra. Because of his identification with the
color red, he is often worshipped with red sandalwood paste
(raktachandana) or red flowers. Dūrvā grass (Cynodon dactylon)
and other materials are also used in his worship.
Festivals associated with Ganesh are
Ganesh Chaturthi or Vināyaka
chaturthī in the śuklapakṣa (the fourth day of the waxing moon) in
the month of
Bhadrapada (August/September) and the Ganesh Jayanti
(Ganesha's birthday) celebrated on the cathurthī of the śuklapakṣa
(fourth day of the waxing moon) in the month of magha
Street festivities in Hyderabad,
India during the festival of Ganesha
An annual festival honours
Ganesha for ten days, starting on Ganesha
Chaturthi, which typically falls in late August or early
September. The festival begins with people bringing in clay idols
of Ganesha, symbolising Ganesha's visit. The festival culminates on
the day of Ananta Chaturdashi, when idols (murtis) of
immersed in the most convenient body of water. Some families have
a tradition of immersion on the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, or 7th day. 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
Ganesha in pavilions, and he established the practice of
submerging all the public images on the tenth day. Today, Hindus
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, Pune, and in the
surrounding belt of
List of Ganapati temples
List of Ganapati temples and Ashtavinayak
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 to the highest gods of the Hindu
pantheon. As the god of transitions, he is placed at the doorway
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
अष्टविनायक; aṣṭavināyaka; lit. "eight Ganesha
Maharashtra are particularly well known. Located within
a 100-kilometer radius of the city of Pune, each of the eight shrines
celebrates a particular form of Ganapati, complete with its own lore
and legend. The eight shrines are: Morgaon, Siddhatek, Pali,
Mahad, Theur, Lenyadri, Ozar and Ranjangaon.
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,
Gujarat and Dhundiraj Temple in Varanasi, Uttar
Ganesha temples in southern
India include the
Rockfort Ucchi Pillayar Temple
Rockfort Ucchi Pillayar Temple at
Tamil Nadu; Kottarakara, Pazhavangadi, Kasargod in Kerala; Hampi, and
Idagunji in Karnataka; and
Bhadrachalam in Telangana.
T. A. Gopinatha notes, "Every village however small has its own image
of Vighneśvara (Vigneshvara) with or without a temple to house it in.
At entrances of villages and forts, below pīpaḹa (Sacred fig)
trees ... in a niche ... in temples of Viṣṇu (Vishnu) as
well as Śiva (Shiva) and also in separate shrines specially
constructed in Śiva temples ... the figure of Vighneśvara is
Ganesha temples have also been built outside of
India, including Southeast Asia,
Nepal (including the four Vinayaka
shrines in the Kathmandu valley), and in several western
Rise to prominence
7th- to 8th-century
Ganesha sculpture from Cham dynasty, Vietnam.
Ganesha appeared in his classic form as a clearly-recognizable deity
with well-defined iconographic attributes in the early 4th to 5th
centuries CE. Some of the earliest known
Ganesha images include
two images found in eastern Afghanistan. The first image was
discovered in the ruins north of
Kabul along with those of
Shiva. It is dated to the 4th-century. The second image found in
Gardez has an inscription on
Ganesha pedestal that has helped date it
to the 5th-century. Another
Ganesha sculpture is embedded in the
walls of Cave 6 of the
Udayagiri Caves in Madhya Pradesh. This is
dated to the 5th-century. An early iconic image of
elephant head, a bowl of sweets and a goddess sitting in his lap has
been found in the ruins of the
Bhumara Temple in Madhya Pradesh, and
this is dated to the 5th-century Gupta period. Other
recent discoveries, such as one from Ramgarh Hill, are also dated to
the 4th or 5th centuries. An independent cult with
Ganesha as the
primary deity was well established by about the 10th century.
Narain summarizes the lack of evidence about Ganesha's history before
the 5th century as follows:
What is inscrutable is the somewhat dramatic appearance of Gaņeśa on
the historical scene. His antecedents are not clear. His wide
acceptance and popularity, which transcend sectarian and territorial
limits, are indeed amazing. On the one hand, there is the pious belief
of the orthodox devotees in Gaņeśa's Vedic origins and in the
Purāṇic explanations contained in the confusing, but nonetheless
interesting, mythology. On the other hand, there are doubts about the
existence of the idea and the icon of this deity" before the fourth to
fifth century A.D. ... [I]n my opinion, indeed there is no convincing
evidence [in ancient Brahmanic literature] of the existence of this
divinity prior to the fifth century.
The evidence for more ancient Ganesha, suggests Narain, may reside
outside Brahmanic or Sanskritic traditions, or outside geocultural
boundaries of India.
Ganesha appears in
China by the 6th century,
states Brown, and his artistic images in temple setting as
"remover of obstacles" in South Asia appear by about 400 CE. He
is, states Bailey, recognized as goddess Parvati's son and integrated
Shaivism theology by early centuries of the common era.
Ganesha worshipped in the
Durga Puja celebrations in Cologne
Courtright reviews various speculative theories about the early
history of Ganesha, including supposed tribal traditions and animal
cults, and dismisses all of them in this way:
In this search for a historical origin for Gaņeśa, some have
suggested precise locations outside the Brāhmaṇic tradition....
These historical locations are intriguing to be sure, but the fact
remains that they are all speculations, variations on the Dravidian
hypothesis, which argues that anything not attested to in the Vedic
and Indo-European sources must have come into Brāhmaṇic religion
from the Dravidian or aboriginal populations of
India as part of the
process that produced
Hinduism out of the interactions of the Aryan
and non-Aryan populations. There is no independent evidence for an
elephant cult or a totem; nor is there any archaeological data
pointing to a tradition prior to what we can already see in place in
the Purāṇic literature and the iconography of Gaņeśa.
Thapan's book on the development of
Ganesha devotes a chapter to
speculations about the role elephants had in early
India but concludes
that "although by the second century CE the elephant-headed yakṣa
form exists it cannot be presumed to represent Gaṇapati-Vināyaka.
There is no evidence of a deity by this name having an elephant or
elephant-headed form at this early stage. Gaṇapati-Vināyaka had yet
to make his debut."
Some have noted the roots of
Ganesha worship, dating back to 3,000
BCE since the times of Indus Valley Civilization. In 1993, a
metal plate depiction of an elephant-headed figure, interpreted as
Ganesha, was discovered in Lorestan Province, Iran, dating back to
1,200 BCE. First terracotta images of
Ganesha are from 1st
century CE found in Ter, Pal, Verrapuram, and Chandraketugarh. These
figures are small, with elephant head, two arms, and chubby
physique. The earliest
Ganesha icons in stone were carved in
Mathura during Kushan times (2nd-3rd centuries CE).
One theory of the origin of
Ganesha is that he gradually came to
prominence in connection with the four
Vinayakas (Vināyakas). In
Hindu mythology, the Vināyakas were a group of four troublesome
demons who created obstacles and difficulties but who were easily
propitiated. The name Vināyaka is a common name for
in the Purāṇas and in Buddhist Tantras. Krishan is one of the
academics who accept this view, stating flatly of Ganesha, "He is a
non-Vedic god. His origin is to be traced to the four Vināyakas, evil
spirits, of the Mānavagŗhyasūtra (7th–4th century BCE) who cause
various types of evil and suffering". Depictions of
elephant-headed human figures, which some identify with Ganesha,
Indian art and coinage as early as the 2nd century.
According to Ellawala, the elephant-headed
Ganesha as lord of the
Ganas was known to the people of
Sri Lanka in the early pre-Christian
Vedic and epic literature
17th century RajasthanI manuscript of the
Mahabharata depicting Vyasa
Mahabharata to Ganesha, who serves as the scribe
The title "Leader of the group" (Sanskrit: gaṇapati) occurs twice in
the Rig Veda, but in neither case does it refer to the modern Ganesha.
The term appears in RV 2.23.1 as a title for Brahmanaspati, according
to commentators. While this verse doubtless refers to
Brahmanaspati, it was later adopted for worship of
Ganesha and is
still used today. In rejecting any claim that this passage is
Ganesha in the Rig Veda, Ludo Rocher says that it "clearly
refers to Bṛhaspati—who is the deity of the hymn—and Bṛhaspati
only". Equally clearly, the second passage (RV 10.112.9) refers
to Indra, who is given the epithet 'gaṇapati', translated "Lord
of the companies (of the Maruts)." However, Rocher notes that the
Ganapatya literature often quotes the Rigvedic verses to
give Vedic respectability to Ganesha.
Two verses in texts belonging to Black Yajurveda, Maitrāyaṇīya
Saṃhitā (2.9.1) and Taittirīya Āraṇyaka (10.1),
appeal to a deity as "the tusked one" (Dantiḥ), "elephant-faced"
(Hastimukha), and "with a curved trunk" (Vakratuņḍa). These names
are suggestive of Ganesha, and the 14th century commentator Sayana
explicitly establishes this identification. The description of
Dantin, possessing a twisted trunk (vakratuṇḍa) and holding a
corn-sheaf, a sugar cane, and a club, is so characteristic
of the Puranic Ganapati that Heras says "we cannot resist to accept
his full identification with this Vedic Dantin". However, Krishan
considers these hymns to be post-Vedic additions. Thapan reports
that these passages are "generally considered to have been
interpolated". Dhavalikar says, "the references to the elephant-headed
deity in the Maitrāyaṇī Saṃhitā have been proven to be very
late interpolations, and thus are not very helpful for determining the
early formation of the deity".
Ganesha does not appear in the
Indian epic literature that is dated to
the Vedic period. A late interpolation to the epic poem Mahabharata
says that the sage
Vyasa (Vyāsa) asked
Ganesha to serve as his scribe
to transcribe the poem as he dictated it to him.
Ganesha agreed but
only on condition that
Vyasa recites the poem uninterrupted, that is,
without pausing. The sage agreed but found that to get any rest he
needed to recite very complex passages so
Ganesha would have to ask
for clarifications. The story is not accepted as part of the original
text by the editors of the critical edition of the Mahabharata,
in which the twenty-line story is relegated to a footnote in an
appendix. The story of
Ganesha acting as the scribe occurs in 37
of the 59 manuscripts consulted during preparation of the critical
edition. Ganesha's association with mental agility and learning
is one reason he is shown as scribe for Vyāsa's dictation of the
Mahabharata in this interpolation. Richard L. Brown dates the
story to the 8th century, and
Moriz Winternitz concludes that it was
known as early as c. 900, but it was not added to the
150 years later. Winternitz also notes that a distinctive feature in
South Indian manuscripts of the
Mahabharata is their omission of this
Ganesha legend. The term vināyaka is found in some recensions of
the Śāntiparva and Anuśāsanaparva that are regarded as
interpolations. A reference to Vighnakartṛīṇām ("Creator of
Obstacles") in Vanaparva is also believed to be an interpolation and
does not appear in the critical edition.
Further information: Mythological anecdotes of Ganesha
Tanjore-style painting of Ganesha
Ganesha often occur in the Puranic corpus. Brown notes
Puranas "defy precise chronological ordering", the more
detailed narratives of Ganesha's life are in the late texts, c.
600–1300. Yuvraj Krishan says that the Puranic myths about the
Ganesha and how he acquired an elephant's head are in the
later Puranas, which were composed of c. 600 onwards. He elaborates on
the matter to say that references to
Ganesha in the earlier Puranas,
such as the
Vayu and Brahmanda Puranas, are later interpolations made
during the 7th to 10th centuries.
In his survey of Ganesha's rise to prominence in
Ludo Rocher notes that:
Above all, one cannot help being struck by the fact that the numerous
stories surrounding Gaṇeśa concentrate on an unexpectedly limited
number of incidents. These incidents are mainly three: his birth and
parenthood, his elephant head, and his single tusk. Other incidents
are touched on in the texts, but to a far lesser extent.
Ganesha's rise to prominence was codified in the 9th century when he
was formally included as one of the five primary deities of Smartism.
The 9th-century philosopher
Adi Shankara popularized the "worship of
the five forms" (Panchayatana puja) system among orthodox
the Smarta tradition. This worship practice invokes the five
deities Ganesha, Vishnu, Shiva, Devi, and Surya. Adi Shankara
instituted the tradition primarily to unite the principal deities of
these five major sects on an equal status. This formalized the role of
Ganesha as a complementary deity.
Ganesha Purana, Mudgala Purana, and Ganapati
Ganesha statue in 9th century
Prambanan temple, Java, Indonesia
Ganesha was accepted as one of the five principal deities of
Ganesha as their principal deity. They
Ganapatya tradition, as seen in the
Ganesha Purana and
the Mudgala Purana.
The date of composition for the
Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala
Purana—and their dating relative to one another—has sparked
academic debate. Both works were developed over time and contain
age-layered strata. Anita Thapan reviews comment about dating and
provide her own judgment. "It seems likely that the core of the
Ganesha Purana appeared around the twelfth and thirteenth centuries",
she says, "but was later interpolated." Lawrence W. Preston
considers the most reasonable date for the
Ganesha Purana to be
between 1100 and 1400, which coincides with the apparent age of the
sacred sites mentioned by the text.
R.C. Hazra suggests that the
Mudgala Purana is older than the Ganesha
Purana, which he dates between 1100 and 1400. However, Phyllis
Granoff finds problems with this relative dating and concludes that
Mudgala Purana was the last of the philosophical texts concerned
with Ganesha. She bases her reasoning on the fact that, among other
internal evidence, the
Mudgala Purana specifically mentions the
Ganesha Purana as one of the four
Puranas (the Brahma, the Brahmanda,
the Ganesha, and the Mudgala Puranas) which deal at length with
Ganesha. While the kernel of the text must be old, it was
interpolated until the 17th and 18th centuries as the worship of
Ganapati became more important in certain regions. Another highly
regarded scripture, the Ganapati Atharvashirsa, was probably composed
during the 16th or 17th centuries.
Ganesha Sahasranama is part of the Puranic literature, and is a litany
of a thousand names and attributes of Ganesha. Each name in the
sahasranama conveys a different meaning and symbolises a different
aspect of Ganesha. Versions of the
Ganesha Sahasranama are found in
One of the most important
Sanskrit texts, that enjoys authority in
Ganapatya tradition states John Grimes, is the Ganapati
India and Hinduism
Ganesha in world religions
"Dancing Ganesh. Central Tibet. Early fifteenth century. Colours on
cotton. Height: 68 centimeters". This form is also known as
Maharakta ("The Great Red One").
Commercial and cultural contacts extended India's influence in Western
and Southeast Asia.
Ganesha is one of a number of
Hindu deities who
consequently reached foreign lands.
Ganesha was particularly worshipped by traders and merchants, who went
India for commercial ventures. From approximately the 10th
century onwards, new networks of exchange developed including the
formation of trade guilds and a resurgence of money circulation.
During this time,
Ganesha became the principal deity associated with
traders. The earliest inscription invoking
Ganesha before any
other deity is associated with the merchant community.
Hindus migrated to Maritime
Southeast Asia and took their culture,
including Ganesha, with them. Statues of
Ganesha are found
throughout the region, often beside
Shiva sanctuaries. The forms of
Ganesha found in the
Hindu art of Java, Bali, and
Borneo show specific
regional influences. The spread of
Hindu culture throughout
Southeast Asia established
Ganesha worship in modified forms in Burma,
Cambodia, and Thailand. In Indochina,
practiced side by side, and mutual influences can be seen in the
Ganesha in the region. In Thailand, Cambodia, and
Hindu classes of the Chams in Vietnam,
Ganesha was mainly
thought of as a remover of obstacles. Today in Buddhist Thailand,
Ganesha is regarded as a remover of obstacles, the god of
The Japanese form of
Ganesha - Kangiten, late 18th-early 19th-century
painting by Shorokuan Ekicho
Before the arrival of Islam, Afghanistan had close cultural ties with
India, and the adoration of both
Hindu and Buddhist deities was
practiced. Examples of sculptures from the 5th to the 7th centuries
have survived, suggesting that the worship of
Ganesha was then in
vogue in the region.
Ganesha appears in
Mahayana Buddhism, not only in the form of the
Buddhist god Vināyaka, but also as a
Hindu demon form with the same
name. His image appears in Buddhist sculptures during the late
Gupta period. As the Buddhist god Vināyaka, he is often shown
dancing. This form, called Nṛtta Ganapati, was popular in northern
India, later adopted in Nepal, and then in Tibet. In Nepal, the
Hindu form of Ganesha, known as Heramba, is popular; he has five heads
and rides a lion. Tibetan representations of
ambivalent views of him. A Tibetan rendering of Ganapati is
tshogs bdag. In one Tibetan form, he is shown being trodden under
foot by Mahākāla,(Shiva) a popular Tibetan deity. Other
depictions show him as the Destroyer of Obstacles, and sometimes
Ganesha appears in
China and Japan in forms that show
distinct regional character. In northern China, the earliest known
stone statue of
Ganesha carries an inscription dated to 531. In
Ganesha is known as Kangiten, the
Ganesha cult was first
mentioned in 806.
Ganesha temple in Bali, Indonesia
The canonical literature of
Jainism does not mention the worship of
Ganesha is worshipped by most Jains, for whom
he appears to have taken over certain functions of the god of wealth,
Kubera. Jain ties with the trading community support the idea
Jainism took up
Ganesha worship as a result of commercial
connections. The earliest known Jain
Ganesha statue dates to
about the 9th century. A 15th-century Jain text lists procedures
for the installation of Ganapati images. Images of
in the Jain temples of
Rajasthan and Gujarat.
^ Heras 1972, p. 58.
^ a b Getty 1936, p. 5.
Ganesha getting ready to throw his lotus.
Basohli miniature, circa
1730. National Museum, New Delhi. In the Mudgalapurāṇa (VII, 70),
in order to kill the demon of egotism (Mamāsura) who had attacked
him, Gaṇeśa Vighnarāja throws his lotus at him. Unable to bear the
fragrance of the divine flower, the demon surrenders to Gaṇeśha."
For quotation of description of the work, see: Martin-Dubost (1997),
^ Rao, p. 1.
Brown, p. 1. "Gaṇeśa is often said to be the most worshipped god in
Getty, p. 1. "Gaṇeśa, Lord of the Gaṇas, although among the
latest deities to be admitted to the Brahmanic pantheon, was, and
still is, the most universally adored of all the
Hindu gods and his
image is found in practically every part of India. "
Rao, p. 1.
Martin-Dubost, pp. 2–4.
Brown, p. 1.
Chapter XVII, "The Travels Abroad", in: Nagar (1992), pp. 175–187.
For a review of Ganesha's geographic spread and popularity outside of
Getty, pp. 37–88, For discussion of the spread of
Ganesha worship to
Nepal, Chinese Turkestan, Tibet, Burma, Siam, Indo-China, Java, Bali,
Borneo, China, and Japan
Martin-Dubost, pp. 311–320.
Thapan, p. 13.
Pal, p. x.
^ Martin-Dubost, p. 2.
^ For Ganesha's role as an eliminator of obstacles, see commentary on
Gaṇapati Upaniṣad, verse 12 in
Saraswati 2004, p. 80
^ Heras 1972, p. 58
^ These ideas are so common that Courtright uses them in the title of
his book, Ganesha: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings.
^ Brown, Robert L. (1991). Ganesh: Studies of an Asian God. SUNY
Press. ISBN 9780791406564.
^ Narain, A. K. "Gaṇeśa: The Idea and the Icon" in Brown 1991,
^ Gavin D. Flood (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge
University Press. pp. 14–18, 110–113.
^ Vasudha Narayanan (2009). Hinduism. The Rosen Publishing Group.
pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-1-4358-5620-2.
^ For history of the development of the gāṇapatya and their
relationship to the wide geographic dispersion of
see: Chapter 6, "The Gāṇapatyas" in: Thapan (1997), pp. 176–213.
Narain, A. K. "Gaṇeśa: A Protohistory of the Idea and the Icon".
Brown, pp. 21–22.
Apte, p. 395.
^ For the derivation of the name and relationship with the gaņas,
see: Martin-Dubost. p. 2.
^ a b Apte 1965, p. 395.
^ The word gaņa is interpreted in this metaphysical sense by
Bhāskararāya in his commentary on the gaṇeśasahasranāma. See in
particular commentary on verse 6 including names Gaṇeśvaraḥ and
Gaṇakrīḍaḥ in: Śāstri Khiste 1991, pp. 7–8.
^ Grimes 1995, pp. 17-19, 201.
Rigveda Mandala 2, Hymn 2.23.1, Wikisource, Quote:
गणानां त्वा गणपतिं हवामहे
। ज्येष्ठराजं ब्रह्मणां
ब्रह्मणस्पत आ नः
सादनम् ॥१॥; For translation, see Grimes (1995), pp.
Oka 1913, p. 8 for source text of Amarakośa 1.38 as vināyako
Śāstri 1978 for text of Amarakośa versified as 1.1.38.
^ Y. Krishan, Gaṇeśa: Unravelling an Enigma, 1999, p. 6): "Pārvati
who created an image of Gaṇeśa out of her bodily impurities but
which became endowed with life after immersion in the sacred waters of
the Gangā. Therefore he is said to have two mothers—Pārvati and
Gangā and hence called dvaimātura and also Gāngeya."
^ Krishan p.6
^ a b Thapan, p. 20.
^ For the history of the aṣṭavināyaka sites and a description of
pilgrimage practices related to them, see: Mate, pp. 1–25.
^ These ideas are so common that Courtright uses them in the title of
his book, Ganesha: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings. For the name
Vighnesha, see: Courtright 1985, pp. 156, 213
^ a b For Krishan's views on Ganesha's dual nature see his quote:
"Gaṇeśa has a dual nature; as Vināyaka, as a grāmadevatā, he is
vighnakartā, and as Gaṇeśa he is vighnahartā, a paurāṇic
devatā." Krishan, p. viii.
^ Martin-Dubost, p. 367.
^ Narain, A. K. "Gaṇeśa: The Idea and the Icon". Brown, p. 25.
^ Thapan, p. 62.
^ Myanmar-English Dictionary, Yangon: Dunwoody Press, 1993,
ISBN 1-881265-47-1, retrieved 2010-09-20
^ Justin Thomas McDaniel (2013). The Lovelorn Ghost and the Magical
Buddhism in Modern Thailand. Columbia University
Press. pp. 156–157. ISBN 978-0231153775.
^ Robert L. Brown (1987), A Note on the Recently Discovered Gaṇeśa
Image from Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia, No. 43, Issue April, pages
^ Brown 1991, pp. 176, 182, Note: some scholars suggest adoption
Ganesha by the late 6th century CE, see page 192 footnote 7.
^ Brown 1991, p. 190.
^ John Clifford Holt (1991).
Buddha in the Crown : Avalokitesvara
in the Buddhist Traditions of Sri Lanka: Avalokitesvara in the
Buddhist Traditions of Sri Lanka. Oxford University Press. pp. 6,
100, 180–181. ISBN 978-0195362466.
^ Pal, p. ix.
Martin-Dubost, for a comprehensive review of iconography abundantly
illustrated with pictures.
Chapter X, "Development of the
Iconography of Gaņeśa", in: Krishan
1999, pp. 87–100, for a survey of iconography with emphasis on
developmental themes, well-illustrated with plates.
Pal, for a richly illustrated collection of studies on specific
Ganesha with a focus on art and iconography.
^ Brown, p. 175.
^ Martin-Dubost, p. 213. In the upper right corner, the statue is
dated as (973–1200).
^ Pal, p. vi. The picture on this page depicts a stone statue in the
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles County Museum of Art that is dated as c. 12th century. Pal
shows an example of this form dated c. 13th century on p. viii.
^ Brown, p. 176.
^ See photograph 2, "Large Ganesh", in: Pal, p. 16.
^ For the human-headed form of
Cambodia, see Brown, p. 10
Nandrudayan Vinayaka Temple, see "Vinayaka in unique form". The Hindu.
10 October 2003. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
Uthrapathiswaraswamy Temple see Catlin, Amy; "Vātāpi Gaṇapatim":
Sculptural, Poetic, and Musical Texts in the a Hymn to Gaṇeśa" in
Brown pp. 146, 150
Martin-Dubost, pp. 197–198.
photograph 9, "Ganesh images being taken for immersion", in: Pal, pp.
22–23. For an example of a large image of this type being carried in
a festival procession.
Pal, p. 25, For two similar statues about to be immersed.
Pal, pp. 41–64. For many examples of
Brown, p. 183. For popularity of the dancing form.
^ Four-armed Gaṇeśa. Miniature of Nurpur school, circa 1810. Museum
of Chandigarh. For this image see: Martin-Dubost (1997), p. 64, which
describes it as follows: "On a terrace leaning against a thick white
bolster, Gaṇeśa is seated on a bed of pink lotus petals arranged on
a low seat to the back of which is fixed a parasol. The elephant-faced
god, with his body entirely red, is dressed in a yellow dhoti and a
yellow scarf fringed with blue. Two white mice decorated with a pretty
golden necklace salute Gaṇeśa by joining their tiny feet together.
Gaṇeśa counts on his rosary in his lower right hand; his two upper
hands brandish an axe and an elephant goad; his fourth hand holds the
broken left tusk."
^ Nagar, p. 77.
^ Brown, p. 3.
^ Nagar, p. 78.
^ Brown, p. 76.
^ Brown, p. 77.
^ Brown, pp. 77–78.
^ Brown, pp. 76–77.
^ For creation of
Ganesha from Shiva's laughter and subsequent curse
by Shiva, see Varaha Purana 23.17 as cited in Brown: p. 77.
^ Getty 1936, p. 1.
^ Heras, p. 29.
^ Granoff, Phyllis. "Gaṇeśa as Metaphor". Brown, p. 90.
Ganesha in Indian Plastic Art" and Passim. Nagar, p. 101.
^ Granoff, Phyllis. "Gaṇeśa as Metaphor". Brown, p. 91.
^ For translation of udara as "belly" see: Apte, p. 268.
Br. P. 18.104.22.168
Thapan, p. 200, For a description of how a variant of this story is
used in the
Mudgala Purana 2.56.38–9
^ For an iconographic chart showing number of arms and attributes
classified by source and named form, see: Nagar, pp. 191–195.
^ For history and prevalence of forms with various arms and the
four-armed form as one of the standard types see: Krishan 1999,
Krishan 1999, p. 89, For two-armed forms as an earlier
development than four-armed forms.
Brown, p. 103. Maruti Nandan Tiwari and Kamal Giri say in "Images of
Gaṇeśa In Jainism" that the presence of only two arms on a Ganesha
image points to an early date.
^ Martin-Dubost, p. 120.
Martin-Dubost, p. 202, For an overview of snake images in Ganesha
Krishan 1999, pp. 50–53, For an overview of snake images in
Martin-Dubost, p. 202. For the
Ganesha Purana references for Vāsuki
around the neck and use of a serpent-throne.
Krishan 1999, pp. 51–52. For the story of wrapping Vāsuki
around the neck and Śeṣa around the belly and for the name in his
sahasranama as Sarpagraiveyakāṅgādaḥ ("Who has a serpent around
his neck"), which refers to this standard iconographic element.
Martin-Dubost, p. 202. For the text of a stone inscription dated 1470
identifying Ganesha's sacred thread as the serpent Śeṣa.
Nagar, p. 92. For the snake as a common type of yajñyopavīta for
Nagar, p. 81. tilaka with three horizontal lines.
the dhyānam in: Sharma (1993 edition of
Ganesha Purana) I.46.1. For
Ganesa visualized as trinetraṁ (having three eyes).
Nagar, p. 81. For citation to
Ganesha Purana I.14.21–25 and For
citation to Padma Purana as prescribing the crescent for decoration of
the forehead of Ganesha
Bailey (1995), pp. 198–199. For translation of
Ganesha Purana I.14,
which includes a meditation form with moon on forehead.
Nagar, p. 81. For Bhālacandra as a distinct form worshipped.
Sharma (1993 edition of
Ganesha Purana) I.46.15. For the name
Bhālacandra appearing in the
^ a b Nagar, Preface.
^ "The Colors of Ganesha". Martin-Dubost, pp. 221–230.
^ Martin-Dubost, pp. 224–228
^ Martin-Dubost, p. 228.
^ Krishan, pp. 48, 89, 92.
^ Krishan, p. 49.
Krishan, pp. 48–49.
Bailey (1995), p. 348. For the
Ganesha Purana story of Mayūreśvara
with the peacock mount (GP I.84.2–3)
Maruti Nandan Tiwari and Kamal Giri, "Images of Gaṇeśa In Jainism",
in: Brown, pp.101–102.
Martin-Dubost, pp. 231–244.
^ See note on figure 43 in: Martin-Dubost, p. 144.
^ Citations to
Matsya Purana 260.54, Brahmananda Purana Lalitamahatmya
Ganesha Purana 2.134–136 are provided by: Martin-Dubost,
^ Martin-Dubost, p. 232.
^ For Mūṣakavāhana see v. 6. For Ākhuketana see v. 67. In:
Gaṇeśasahasranāmastotram: mūla evaṁ srībhāskararāyakṛta
‘khadyota’ vārtika sahita. (Prācya Prakāśana: Vārāṇasī,
1991). Source text with a commentary by Bhāskararāya in Sanskrit.
^ For a review of different interpretations, and quotation, see:
Grimes (1995), p. 86.
^ A Student's Guide to AS Religious Studies for the OCR Specification,
by Michael Wilcockson, pg.117
^ Krishan pp. 49–50.
Martin-Dubost, p. 231.
Rocher, Ludo. "Gaṇeśa's Rise to Prominence in
in: Brown (1991), p. 73. For mention of the interpretation that "the
rat is 'the animal that finds its way to every place,'"
^ "Lord of Removal of Obstacles", a common name, appears in the title
of Courtright's Gaṇeśa: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings. For
Sanskrit names Vighneśvara and Vighnarāja, see:
Courtright, p. 136.
^ Courtright, p. 136.
^ For Dhavilkar's views on Ganesha's shifting role, see Dhavalikar, M.
K. "Gaṇeśa: Myth and reality" in Brown 1991, p. 49
^ Brown, p. 6.
^ Nagar, p. 5.
^ Apte 1965, p. 703.
Ganesha Purana I.46, v. 5 of the
Ganesha Sahasranama section in
GP-1993, Sharma edition. It appears in verse 10 of the version as
given in the Bhaskararaya commentary.
^ Sharma edition, GP-1993 I.46, verses 204–206. The Bailey edition
uses a variant text, and where Sharma reads Buddhipriya, Bailey
Sanskrit Dictionary By Arthur Anthony McDonell; p.187
(priya); Published 2004;
Motilal Banarsidass Publ;
^ Krishan 1999; pp. 60–70 discusses
Ganesha as "Buddhi's Husband".
^ Grimes, p. 77.
Chinmayananda 1987, p. 127, In Chinmayananda's numbering
system, this is upamantra 8..
^ For examples of both, see: Grimes, pp. 79–80.
^ a b Tantra Unveiled: Seducing the Forces of Matter & Spirit By
Rajmani Tigunait; Contributor Deborah Willoughby; Published 1999;
Himalayan Institute Press; p. 83; ISBN 0-89389-158-4
^ Translation. Courtright, p. 253.
Chinmayananda 1987, p. 127, In Chinmayananda's numbering system
this is part of upamantra 7. 'You have a permanent abode (in every
being) at the place called "Muladhara"'..
^ This work is reproduced and described in Martin-Dubost (1997), p.
51, which describes it as follows: "This square shaped miniature shows
us in a Himalayan landscape the god Śiva sweetly pouring water from
his kamaṇḍalu on the head of baby Gaṇeśa. Seated comfortably on
the meadow, Pārvatī balances with her left hand the baby Gaņeśa
with four arms with a red body and naked, adorned only with jewels,
tiny anklets and a golden chain around his stomach, a necklace of
pearls, bracelets and armlets."
Nagar, pp. 7–14. For a summary of Puranic variants of birth stories.
Martin-Dubost, pp. 41–82. Chapter 2, "Stories of Birth According to
Shiva Purana IV. 17.47–57.
Matsya Purana 154.547.
^ Varāha Purana 23.18–59.
^ For summary of Brahmavaivarta Purana,
Ganesha Khanda, 10.8–37,
see: Nagar, pp. 11–13.
^ Melton, J. Gordon (2011-09-13). Religious Celebrations: An
Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual
Commemorations. ABC-CLIO. pp. 325–. ISBN 9781598842050.
Retrieved 16 June 2014.
^ For a summary of variant names for Skanda, see: Thapan, p. 300.
^ Khokar and Saraswati, p.4.
^ Brown, p. 4, 79.
^ Gupta, p. 38.
^ For a review, see: Cohen, Lawrence. "The Wives of Gaṇeśa". Brown,
Getty 1936, p. 33. "According to ancient tradition, Gaṇeśa was
a Brahmacārin, that is, an unmarried deity; but legend gave him two
consorts, personifications of Wisdom (Buddhi) and Success (Siddhi)."
Krishan 1999, p. 63. "... in the smārta or orthodox traditional
religious beliefs, Gaṇeśa is a bachelor or brahmacārī"
^ For discussion on celibacy of Ganesha, see: Cohen, Lawrence, "The
Wives of Gaṇeśa", in: Brown 1991, pp. 126–129.
^ For a review of associations with Buddhi, Siddhi, Riddhi, and other
figures, and the statement "In short the spouses of Gaṇeśa are the
personifications of his powers, manifesting his functional
features...", see: Krishan 1999, p. 62.
^ For single consort or a nameless daşi (servant), see: Cohen,
Lawrence, "The Wives of Gaṇeśa", in: Brown 1991, p. 115.
^ For associations with Śarda and
Sarasvati and the identification of
those goddesses with one another, see: Cohen, Lawrence, "The Wives of
Gaṇeśa", in: Brown 1991, pp. 131–132.
^ For associations with
Lakshmi see: Cohen, Lawrence, "The Wives of
Gaṇeśa", in: Brown 1991, pp. 132–135.
^ For discussion of the Kala Bou, see: Cohen, Lawrence, "The Wives of
Gaṇeśa", in: Brown 1991, pp. 124–125.
^ For statement regarding sons, see: Cohen, Lawrence, "The Wives of
Gaṇeśa", in: Brown 1991, p. 130.
Cohen, Lawrence. "The Wives of Gaṇeśa". Brown, pp. 130.
Thapan, pp. 15–16, 230, 239, 242, 251.
^ Krishan pp.1–3
^ K.N. Somayaji, Concept of Ganesha, p.1 as quoted in Krishan pp.2–3
^ Krishan p.38
^ For worship of
Ganesha by "followers of all sects and denominations,
Saivites, Vaisnavites, Buddhists, and Jainas" see Krishan 1981–1982,
^ Grimes p.27
^ The term modaka applies to all regional varieties of cakes or sweets
offered to Ganesha. Martin-Dubost, p. 204.
^ Martin-Dubost, p. 204.
^ Martin-Dubost, p. 369.
^ Martin-Dubost, pp. 95–99.
^ Thapan p.215
^ For the fourth waxing day in Māgha being dedicated to Ganesa
(Gaṇeśa-caturthī) see: Bhattacharyya, B., "Festivals and Sacred
Days", in: Bhattacharyya, volume IV, p. 483.
^ The Experience of Hinduism: Essays on Religion in Maharashtra;
Edited By Eleanor Zelliot, Maxine Berntsen, pp.76–94 ("The Ganesh
Festival in Maharashtra: Some Observations" by Paul B. Courtright);
Published 1988; SUNY Press; ISBN 0-88706-664-X
^ Metcalf and Metcalf, p. 150.
Brown (1992), p. 9.
Thapan, p. 225. For Tilak's role in converting the private family
festivals to a public event in support of Indian nationalism.
Momin, A. R., The Legacy Of G. S. Ghurye: A Centennial Festschrift, p.
Brown (1991), p. 9. For Ganesha's appeal as "the god for Everyman" as
a motivation for Tilak.
^ For Tilak as the first to use large public images in maṇḍapas
(pavilions or tents) see: Thapan, p. 225.
Ganesh Chaturthi as the most popular festival in Maharashtra,
see: Thapan, p. 226.
^ "Gaṇeśa in a Regional Setting". Courtright, pp. 202–247.
^ Krishan p.92
^ Brown p.3
^ Grimes, pp. 110–112
^ Krishan pp. 91–92
^ T.A. Gopinatha; Elements of
Hindu Iconography, pp 47–48 as quoted
in Krishan p.2
^ Krishan pp.147–158
Ganesha Temples worldwide". Archived from the original on 17
^ John Guy (editors: Andrew Hardy et al) (2009).
Champa and the
Archaeology of Mỹ Sơn (Vietnam). National University of Singapore
Press. pp. 144–150. ISBN 978-9971694517.
^ a b c d Brown 1991, pp. 19-21, chapter by AK Narain.
^ a b c d e Brown 1991, p. 50-55, 120.
^ Nagar, p. 4.
^ Raman Sukumar (2003). The Living Elephants: Evolutionary Ecology,
Behaviour, and Conservation. Oxford University Press.
pp. 67–68. ISBN 978-0-19-802673-0.
^ Brown 1991, p. 2.
^ Brown 1991, p. 8.
^ Bailey 1995, pp. ix.
^ Courtright, pp. 10–11.
^ Thapan, p. 75.
^ Point of Origin: Gobekli Tepe and the Spiritual Matrix for the
World’s Cosmologies, p. 51, Laird Scranton, Inner Traditions
^ Horns, Tusks, and Flippers: The Evolution of Hoofed Mammals p.179
^ Nanditha Krishna. Sacred Animals of India. Penguin UK.
^ "Loving Ganeśa: Hinduism's Endearing Elephant-faced God", by
Subramuniya, p. 268
^ a b Kumar, Ajit, 2007. "A Unique Early Historic
Image from Pal" in Kala, The Journal of Indian Art History Congress,
Vol XI. (2006-2007), pp. 89-91
Rocher, Ludo. "Gaņeśa's Rise to Prominence in
Brown, pp. 70–72.
^ Aitareya Brāhmana, I, 21.
^ Bhandarkar. Vaisnavism, Saivism and other Minor Sects. pp. 147–48.
^ Krishan, p. vii.
^ For a discussion of early depiction of elephant-headed figures in
art, see Krishan 1981–1982, pp. 287–290 or
^ Ellawala 1969, p. 159.
^ Wilson, H. H. Ŗgveda Saṃhitā.
Sanskrit text, English
translation, notes, and index of verses. Parimal
Sanskrit Series No.
45. Volume II: Maṇḍalas 2, 3, 4, 5. Second Revised Edition; Edited
and Revised by Ravi Prakash Arya and K. L. Joshi. (Parimal
Publications: Delhi, 2001). (Vol. II); ISBN 81-7110-138-0 (Set).
RV 2.23.1 (2222) gaṇānāṃ tvā gaṇapatiṃ havāmahe kaviṃ
kavīnāmupamaśravastamam 2.23.1; "We invoke the Brahmaṇaspati,
chief leader of the (heavenly) bands; a sage of sages."
Nagar, p. 3.
Rao, p. 1.
^ Rocher, Ludo. "Gaņeśa's Rise to Prominence in Sanskrit
Literature". Brown, p. 69. Bṛhaspati is a variant name for
^ Rocher, Ludo. "Gaņeśa's Rise to Prominence in Sanskrit
Literature". Brown, pp. 69–70.
^ Wilson, H. H. Ŗgveda Saṃhitā.
Sanskrit text, English
translation, notes, and index of verses. Parimal
Sanskrit Series No.
45. Volume IV: Maṇḍalas 9, 10. Second Revised Edition; Edited and
Revised by Ravi Prakash Arya and K. L. Joshi. (Parimal Publications:
Delhi, 2001). (Vol. IV); ISBN 81-7110-138-0 (Set). RV 10.112.9
(10092) ni ṣu sīda gaṇapate gaṇeṣu tvāmāhurvipratamaṃ
kavīnām; "Lord of the companies (of the Maruts), sit down among the
companies (of the worshippers), they call you the most sage of sages".
^ For use of RV verses in recent
Ganapatya literature, see Rocher,
Ludo. "Gaņeśa's Rise to Prominence in
Sanskrit Literature" in Brown
1991, p. 70
^ The verse : "tát karāţāya vidmahe hastimukhāya dhîmahi
tán no dántî pracodáyāt"
^ The verse: " tát púruṣâya vidmahe vakratuṇḍāya dhîmahi
tán no dántî pracodáyāt"
^ For text of Maitrāyaṇīya Saṃhitā 2.9.1 and Taittirīya
Āraṇyaka 10.1 and identification by Sāyaṇa in his commentary on
the āraṇyaka, see: Rocher, Ludo, "Gaņeśa's Rise to Prominence in
Sanskrit Literature" in Brown 1991, p. 70.
^ Rajarajan, R.K.K. (2001). "Sugarcane Gaṇapati". East and West,
Rome. 51.3/4: 379–84 – via
^ Taittiriya Aranyaka, X, 1, 5.
^ Heras, p. 28.
Krishan 1981–1982, p. 290
Krishan 1999, pp. 12–15. For arguments documenting
interpolation into the Maitrāyaṇīya Saṃhitā
Thapan, p. 101. For interpolation into the Maitrāyaṇīya Saṃhitā
and Taittirīya Āraṇyaka.
Dhavalikar, M. K. "Gaṇeśa: Myth and reality" in Brown 1991,
pp. 56–57. For Dhavilkar's views on Ganesha's in early
^ Rocher, Ludo "Ganesa's Rise to Prominence in
Brown, pp. 71–72.
^ Mahābhārata Vol. 1 Part 2. Critical edition, p. 884.
^ For a statement that "Fifty-nine manuscripts of the Ādiparvan were
consulted for the reconstruction of the critical edition. The story of
Gaṇeśa acting as the scribe for writing the Mahābhārata occurs in
37 manuscripts", see: Krishan 1999, p. 31, note 4.
^ Brown, p. 4.
^ Winternitz, Moriz. "Gaṇeśa in the Mahābhārata". Journal of the
Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1898:382).
Citation provided by Rocher, Ludo. "Gaņeśa's Rise to Prominence in
Sanskrit Literature". Brown, p. 80.
^ For interpolations of the term vināyaka see: Krishan 1999,
^ For reference to Vighnakartṛīṇām and translation as "Creator
of Obstacles", see: Krishan 1999, p. 29.
^ Brown, p. 183.
^ Krishan, p. 103.
^ Rocher, Ludo. "Gaṇeśa's Rise to Prominence in Sanskrit
Literature". Brown, p. 73.
Courtright, p. 163. For Dating of the pañcāyatana pūjā and its
connection with Smārta Brahmins.
Bhattacharyya, S., "Indian Hymnology", in: Bhattacharyya (1956),
volume IV, p. 470. For the "five" divinities (pañcādevatā) becoming
"the major deities" in general, and their listing as Shiva, Shakti,
Vishnu, Surya, and Ganesha.
Grimes, p. 162.
Pal, p. ix.
^ Thapan, pp. 196–197. Addresses the pañcāyatana in the Smārta
tradition and the relationship of the
Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala
Purana to it.
^ For a review of major differences of opinions between scholars on
dating, see: Thapan, pp. 30–33.
^ Preston, Lawrence W., "Subregional Religious Centers in the History
of Maharashtra: The Sites Sacred to Gaṇeśa", in: N. K. Wagle, ed.,
Images of Maharashtra: A Regional Profile of India. p.103.
^ R.C. Hazra, "The Gaṇeśa Purāṇa", Journal of the Ganganatha Jha
Research Institute (1951);79–99.
^ Phyllis Granoff, "Gaṇeśa as Metaphor", in Brown, pp. 94–95,
^ Thapan, pp. 30–33.
^ Courtright, p. 252.
^ Bailey 1995, pp. 258–269.
^ Grimes 1995, pp. 21-22.
^ This work and its description are shown in Pal, p. 125.
^ For a representation of this form identified as Maharakta, see Pal,
^ Nagar, p. 175.
^ Nagar, p. 174.
^ Thapan, p. 170.
^ Thapan, p. 152.
^ Getty 1936, p. 55.
^ Getty, pp. 55–66.
^ Getty 1936, p. 52.
^ a b Brown, p. 182.
Nagar, p. 175.
Martin-Dubost, p. 311.
^ Getty 1936, pp. 37-45.
^ Getty 1936, p. 37.
^ Getty 1936, p. 38.
^ Getty 1936, p. 40.
^ Nagar, p. 185.
^ Wayman, Alex (2006). Chanting the Names of Manjushri. Motilal
Banarsidass Publishers: p.76. ISBN 81-208-1653-6
Getty, p. 42
Nagar, p. 185.
^ Nagar, pp. 185–186.
^ Martin-Dubost, p. 311.
^ Martin-Dubost, p. 313.
^ a b Krishan, p. 121.
^ Thapan, p. 157.
^ Thapan, pp. 151, 158, 162, 164, 253.
^ Krishan, p. 122.
^ Thapan, p. 158.
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Bhattacharyya (Editor), Haridas (1956). The Cultural Heritage of
India. Calcutta: The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of
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University of New York, ISBN 0-7914-0657-1
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Chinmaya Mission Trust, ISBN 978-8175973589
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Beginnings, New York: Oxford University Press,
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