11 abril 2009


also spelled Ganesa or Ganesh and also known as Ganapati, Vinayaka, and Pillaiyar, is one of the best-known and most widely worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon.
His image is found throughout India. Hindu sects worship him regardless of other affiliations.
Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and extends to Jains, Buddhists, and beyond India.
Although he is known by many other attributes, Ganesha's elephant head makes him easy to identify.
Ganesha is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles and more generally as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles (Vighnesha, Vighneshvara), patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom.
He is honoured at the start of rituals and ceremonies and invoked as Patron of Letters during writing sessions. Several texts relate mythological anecdotes associated with his birth and exploits and explain his distinct iconography.
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, in most stories he acquires the head later.
The most recurrent motif in these stories is that Ganesha was born with a human head and body and that Shiva beheaded him when Ganesha came between Shiva and Parvati. Shiva then replaced Ganesha's original head with that of an elephant.

Details of the battle and where the replacement head came from vary according to different sources.
In another story, when Ganesha was born, his mother, Parvati, showed off her new baby to the other gods. Unfortunately, the god Shani (Saturn), who is said to have the evil eye, looked at him, causing the baby's head to be burned to ashes. The god Vishnu came to the rescue and replaced the missing head with that of an elephant.
Another story says that Ganesha was created directly by Shiva's laughter. Because Shiva considered Ganesha too alluring, he gave him the head of an elephant and a protruding belly.

Ganesha is Vighneshvara or Vighnaraja, 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.

However, both functions continue to be vital to his character, as Robert Brown explains, "even after the Puranic Ganesha is well-defined, in art Ganesha remained predominantly important for his dual role as creator and remover of obstacles, thus having both a negative and a positive aspect".

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