Lord Ganesha, also known as Vighnaharta or Vinayak, is one of the most worshipped deities in Hinduism. He is worshipped as the patron of intellect and wisdom and is revered as the remover of obstacles. He is the god of beginnings and is worshipped at the beginning of all ceremonies. He is also honoured at the time of ceremonies associated with learning and writing.
He is the son of God Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is the god of gods (Gana = a group of + isha = lords). He is the god of prosperity, of leadership and of kindness. To some he is a brother, to others, he is a friend. Lord Ganesha is the God who is not only known for his generosity but also for his wit and humour.
Every aspect of his being is symbolic of the qualities he possesses. While his ‘elephant head‘ symbolises calmness, wisdom and majesty, his ‘large ears‘ signify enlightenment, judgement and supernatural auditory powers. His ‘grotesque body‘ signifies duality, his ‘broken tusk‘ signify detachment and action and his ‘large belly‘ symbolise contentment and fulfilment. While the ‘curve of his trunk‘ represent his connection with ‘Aum‘, his ‘pasa‘ are symbolic of — karma, Maya and anava. Even his mouse and his weapon or Ankush are symbols of his qualities. While his ‘ankush‘ signifies self-mastery and the power to mitigate suffering, his ‘mouse‘ represents the ability to remove fear, anxiety, uncertainty and indecision.
Vakra-Tunndda Maha-Kaaya Surya-Koti Samaprabha|
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryessu Sarvadaa||
On this Ganesha Chaturthi, we bring to you the 32 forms of the divine lord and their significance:
The eight-armed ‘Taruna Ganapati‘ represents youth, progressiveness and compassion. His complexion is bright as the sun and he represents youth blossoming in all living beings.
Bala Ganesha is like a child. He represents the element of Earth and signifies earth’s abundance and fertility.
His appearance is pleasant and calm to look at. He protects his devotees from all danger. He represents the element water and his worship is believed to help in relaxing mind and in controlling temper.
Veera Ganpati represents a warrior. His 16 arms hold powerful weapons like a shield, a spear, a goad, a trident, a hammer and a battle axe among other things.
He represents shakti or power. He is sitting in the ‘Abhaya mudra‘ and he is embracing Shakti Devi. He represents the element Aakash or space.
The four-headed ‘Dvija Ganapati‘ is holding his japa beads and represents discipline. He is regarded to be born twice and is equivalent to Lord Bhramha.
He represents accomplishment and achievement. He is regarded to be the master of intellect and an embodiment of perfection.
He is the Lord of blessings and offerings and he acts like the guardian of culture. He is also the lord of superiority.
The ten-handed Lord Ganesha is the remover of obstacles and difficulties. He is related to Rohini Nakshatra.
He is the giver of knowledge and he believed to satisfy the devotees on his appearance immediately. He is considered to reward the wishes of his devotees instantaneously.
The five-faced Lord Ganesha rides on a mighty lion and protects the weak. He bestows blessings to all his devotees.
He is the giver of success and wealth and is believed to represent wisdom and achievement. He is sitting with Goddesses Buddhi and Siddhi.
The ten-handed God has a third eye on his fore head just like his father and he sits with Shakti on his left thigh. This the most common form of Ganesha.
The four-handed God is riding his mouse and he bestows success and victory.
The four-handed god represents a dancer. He is standing under a Kalpavriksha and enjoying the activity.
In this pose, Lord Ganesha sits with one of his shaktis and is associated with Pooram Nakshatra.
It literally means ‘single syllable’. He has a third eye and a crescent moon in his crown just like Lord Shiva. He sits in a yogic lotus posture while meditating.
He represents wisdom and is the giver of wishes and boons. He is also called Varadavinayaka.
He is the Lord of three letter– “A-U-M”. Worshipping him is believed to bestow spiritual knowledge. He is associated with Chitra Nakshatra.
Kshipra Prasada Ganapati
He presides over kush grass and is considered to be the quick rewarder of the wishes. He is also considered instant punisher of wrongdoings.
‘Ekadanta‘ represents single tusk. His belly is larger than usual, which signifies that the entire universe exists within him.
He is the lord of ‘happy manifestation’ and his tusk represents selflessness and sacrifice.
He has ten hands and is the enforcer of laws of dharma (justice). This is a rare and an angry form of the elephant lord.
He liberates his devotees from the clasp of guilt and bondage. He gives moksha to people via spiritual studies.
He holds a strand of Rudraksha beads in his hands and represents awakening. He helps his devotees in attaining moksha.
He has two faces that see in all directions and he holds a Ratnakumbha (pot of precious gems) in one of his hand. He is said to protect his devotees from demons.
In this pose, the elephant god has three heads and sits on a lotus. While his right hand signifies protection, his left hand represents blessings.
He rides a lion and is white in colour. He symbolises fearlessness and strength and holds kalpavriksha in one of his hands.
He is absorbed in meditation and is related to Pururutathi Nakshatra. It is believed that worshipping this form of the Lord will protect the devotee from all obstacles.
He is invincible and represents the victory over darkness. He is associated with Uthrattathi Nakshatra.
He sits in the varada mudra and is considered to be the ‘dispeller of sorrow’.
HAPPY GANESH CHATURTHI!
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