Lord Ganesha is the younger son of almighty Shiv and Parvati. The other famous names of Lord Ganesha are Vinayak, Vighneshwer, GanpatiAll. All pujas or prayers whether Tantric or spiritual in hindusim begins with the invocation of Lord Ganesha (or Lord Ganesh). God Shiva blessed Ganesha with the power that any puja started with the prayer of Lord Ganesha will give fruits to the devotees. This power was blessed when Lord Ganesha won the contest to race around the Universe from his brother Kartikay.
Attributes of Ganesha
Lord Ganesha has four hands, elephant's head and a big belly. There are many stories about how Lord Ganesha had got the head of an elephant. In one of the story Maa Parvati created Ganesha in absence of God Shiva to guard her. On His return, when Shiva wanted to see Maa Parvati, Ganesha stopped Shiva, at this point Shiva cut of his head. After learning about Ganesha from Parvati, later Shiva restored Ganesha to life and provided him with the head of an elephant. In another story, Ganesha's head is burned to ashes when Saturn is forced by Parvati to look at her child and bless him. The human part of Ganesha represents that which is manifested, while the elephant part represents the un-manifested great being. Therefore the elephant part is the head.
Lord Ganesha’s ride is a rat. The conch in his hand represents the sound that creates Akash. Lord Ganesha famous food is laddu (sweet) represents Sattva. The snakes represent control over the poisons of the desires and refer to Shiva. The hatchet in his hand cuts away the slavery of desires. The mudra grants fearlessness. The broken tusk is the one with which Ganesha wrote the Mahabaratha.
It is believed that Bal Ganesh has so much devotion to his mother Parvati and when he understood that all women are but manifestations of his mother, he decided not to marry. Others believe that Ganesha is the companion of Buddhi and Siddhi, daughters of Brahma. 'Ga' symbolizes Buddhi (intellect) and 'Na' symbolizes Vidnyana (wisdom). Ganesha is thus considered the master of intellect and wisdom. Ganesha is often depicted along with Maa Saraswati and Maa Lakshmi, symbolising that success and beauty always accompany wisdom.
Lord Ganesha removes all difficulties, forcing one to look beyond form, removing doubts and pointing out the spiritual side of everything. Ganesha is thus often worshipped to remove obstacles. Ganesha is shown in 32 different forms. In one form Lord Ganesha is shown as Heramba Vinayakar, the Pancha Muga Ganesha or five-faced Ganesha. This form is specifically known as the protector of the weak. This ten-armed Ganesha is seated on a lion instead of the usual rat. He extends the gestures of protection and blessing while holding a noose, prayer beads, axe, hammer, tusk, garland, fruit and modaka. Pancha Ganapati is a popular festival to the five-faced elephant God. It consists of five days of gift-giving and festivities within the home, especially for the children. Another famous form is Balganesh, the child version of this famous deity.
Even though Ganesha is the son of Shiva, he is thus regarded as a being beyond the trinity, as Ganapati, the lord of all categories or ganas, trinities included. The Upanishads even say, "You alone are the creator, the sustainer and the destroyer". Ganesha is worshipped by virtually every Hindu.