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Lord Ganesha

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ganesha with parvati

Lord Ganesha is the embodiment of OM, The primordial sound and symbol of God. The eldest son of Lord Shiva and his wife Goddess Parvati (also known as Shakti) is known by many names :- Vinayaka, Vignesh, Ganapathy and Pillayar.

Whatever the name by which He is addressed, all prayers to Lord Ganesha ask for the removal of obstacles which block the path of progress. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth.

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Lord Ganesha has features of an elephant like, a curved trunk,big ears,a huge stomach and body of a human being. There are many mythological stories evolve around Lord Ganesha's birth and his unusual appearance. One of them is,Lord Shiva often went away for long periods of meditation. During one such absence of Lord Shiva, to overcome her loneliness, Goddess Parvati created her child, Lord Ganesha out of white mud by her spiritual power. Lord Shiva was unaware of this development.

Once Goddess Parvati wanted to bathe in her home and tasked Lord Ganesha with guarding the house and not letting anybody enter. While she was bathing, Lord Shiva returned to the house and wanted to enter the home. Lord Ganesha did not permit Lord Shiva to enter his own home. Since Lord Shiva was not aware of who Lord Ganesha is and did not recognize him, became angry at Lord Ganesha for not letting him enter his home. So Lord Shiva severed Lord Ganesha's head. Goddess Parvati was very upset and sorely grieved by this.

To console her, Lord Shiva asked Lord Indra and other Gods, to go north and bring the head of any living creature that they come across first. The first living creature found was an elephant and Lord Indra promptly brought the elephant's head to Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma joined the elephant's head to Lord Ganesha's body and brought him back to life. This is how Lord Ganesha came to have a head of an elephant. Goddess Parvati was devastated seeing her son in this form.

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To console Goddess Parvati further, Lord Shiva also granted a boon to Lord Ganesha that he would be the leader of all Gods and the first to be worshipped henceforth in any prayer or ceremony, Lord Ganesha would hold a special place in the Hindu religion. Therefore when Hindu's undertake any new activity, they start all prayers with the first prayer to Lord Ganesha.

The word 'Ganesh' is formed by union of 'Gana+Ish' i.e. the God(Ish) of Ganas(Troops),Similarly 'Ganapati'=Gana+Pati ie the Leader of Ganas.

Ganesha is given dominion over the Ganas, which is a general term denoting all classes of beings, ranging from insects, animals and humans to the subtle and celestial beings. These various beings all contribute to the government of the Creation; everything from natural forces like storms and earthquakes, to the elemental qualities like fire and water, to functioning of the body's organs and processes. If we don't honor the Ganas, then our every action is a form of thievery, as it is unsanctioned. Therefore, instead of propitiating each Gana in order to receive their blessings, we bow to their Lord, Sri Ganesha. By receiving His grace, we receive the grace of all. He removes any potential obstacles and enables our endeavors to succeed.

As Hindu sages illustrates, Lord Ganesha's all features have some spirituals significance

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Elephant Head and Human body

Ganesha's head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The large head of an elephant symbolizes wisdom, understanding, and a discriminating intellect that one must possess to attain perfection in life.

The Trunk, Big Ears, Eyes

Elephant's trunk is the most efficient body part which carry out difficult task like uprooting huge trees, and it has great adaptability.

His Big ears convey that he is all ears to our petition. And in addition it also signify that a perfect person is the one who possesses a great capacity to listen to others and assimilate ideas.

Small eyes indicates more concentration.

Two Tusks, Big Belly, Small Mouth

The two tusks denote the two aspects of the human personality, wisdom and emotion. The right tusk represents wisdom and the left tusk represents emotion. As far as the broken tusk Ganesha holds like a "pen" is concerned, it is a symbol of sacrifice – one that He split for scripting the Mahabharata.

Big belly indicates that one should peacefully digest all good and bad in life.

Small mouth shows one should talk less and work more towards their progress.

Four hands and objects in hands

the four arms indicate that the Lord is omnipresent and omnipotent. The left side of the body symbolizes emotion and the right side symbolizes reason. An axe in the upper left hand and a lotus in the upper right hand signify that in order to attain spiritual perfection, one should cut worldly attachments and conquer emotions. This enables one to live in the world without being affected by earthly temptations, just as a lotus remains in water but is not affected by it. A tray of Laddus (a popular snack) near the Lord denotes that He bestows wealth and prosperity upon His devotees. The lower right hand is shown in a blessing pose, which signifies that Ganesha always blesses His devotees.

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The rosary suggests that the quest for knowledge should be constant. The sweets He holds in His trunk indicate that one must discover the everlasting sweetness of the eternal Atman.

This is not all. The snake "encapsulating" His waist represents energy in all forms, albeit Ganesha is Himself modest enough to navigate the world astride the humble mouse.

mouse sitting near His feet

A mouse sitting near the feet of Ganesha and gazing at the tray of Laddus: a mouse symbalizes the ego that can nibble all that is good and noble in a person. A mouse sitting near the feet of Ganesha indicates that a perfect person is one who has conquered his (or her) ego. A mouse gazing at the Laddus, but not consuming them, denotes that a purified or controlled ego can live in the world without being affected by the worldly temptations. The mouse is also the vehicle of Ganesha, signifying that one must control ego in order for wisdom to shine forth.

Right foot dangling over the left foot

as stated above, the left side of the body symbolizes emotion and the right side symbolizes reason and knowledge. The right foot dangling over the left foot illustrates that in order to live a successful life one should utilize knowledge and reason to overcome emotions.

ganesha with his family ganesha with ridhhi and sidhhi

Lord Ganesha's family

Lord ganesha is eldest son of Lord shiva and devine mother Parvati. He has one brother Karttikeya, also known as skanda, murugan and other names and one sister jyoty.

There are many contradicting theories evolved regarding Lord ganesha's marital status. According to one theory Ganesha was bachelor while another stories says that Ganesha was married to Siddhi (spiritual power), and Riddhi (prosperity); these qualities are sometimes personified as goddesses.

The Shiva Purana says that Ganesha had two sons: the sons are often said to be Śubha (auspiciouness) and Lābha

Festivals

Fastivals associated with Ganesh are "the Vināyaka caturthī or Ganesh Chaturthi in the śuklapaksa (the fourth day of the waxing moon) in the month of bhādrapada (August/September) and the Ganeśha jayanti (Ganeśha's birthday) celebrated on the cathurthī of the śuklapaksa (fourth day of the waxing moon) in the month of māgha (January/February)."