Ganesh the elephant headed god may well be one of the most captivating Hindu deities hence his popularity. In Hindu mythology because they have more than one god, each god is assigned a series of tasks which they are given to protect, and Ganesh’s main task is remove obtsacles to pave the way for success.
Through history he has been one of the most revered and worshipped of the Hindu gods, but outside of India these days Ganesh is the most well-known. In monotheistic religions, there is not such attention to individual attributes, so there aren’t many gods that give such focused attention on removal on obstacles to create an easier path for a follower, which is no doubt a worthy thing for anyone stuck on a rotating path to focus his attention on.
Ganesh’s role in the Hindu pantheon is the remover of obstacles and the god of success. He is there for those wishing to reach their desired outcomes in life, and to take away the obstacle blocking you from reaching that successful moment. The success he creates is both tangible/material and just as important spiritual success.
While his primary task is to remove obstacles, Ganesh can also place obstacles in front of those who need a reality check, for example to keep excessive pride under control.
Ganesh’s popularity can also be understood from his depiction in art. He is one of the most painted and drawn of all Hindu deities, and his popularity is apparent in garden statues in Western countries, and other art of the elephant god that has made its way there.
There are many stories about how he got his elephant head, but one of them seems to be fairly common and couldn’t be better described than this excerpt from the Greenman:
Lord Shiva, the Hindu God of death and destruction was away at a war. His wife Pavarti, who was a goddess in her own right, wished to bathe. Having no-one to guard the door to her apartments she conceived of the idea of giving birth to a son who could provide this service for her. Thus Ganesh was created, since goddesses have the power to do such things.
Pavarti gave Ganesh instructions that he was to stand guard at the entrance of her apartments and that he was to admit no-one until she gave word that it was OK to do so. Ganesh took up his post and undertook his assignment enthusiastically.
In due course the Lord Shiva returned from his war and went to enter. Ganesh, according to his instructions, forbade him entry. Shiva was enraged by Ganesh’s impudence and drew his sword and cut off Ganesh’s head.
Pavarti emerged to find Ganesh decapitated and flew into a rage. Even though he was immensely powerful Shiva was upset with Pavarti’s rage. He swore to make amends by taking the head of the first living thing he found to replace Ganesh’s head. The first animal he came across was an elephant. Accordingly he took the head from the elephant and placed it on Ganesh’s body.
Thus Ganesh is depicted with an elephant’s head. Because of his role as protector of Parvarti’s door he is associated, in Hindu culture, with protecting entrances.
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If you want to fill yourself with worship of Ganesh why not join the annual Ganesh festival called Ganesh Chathurti (Ganesh’s birthday) usually celebrated between 19th of August and @oth of September each year. Until next post, may you choose the path of least resistance and there be no obstacles for you on the way