Ganesha


Ganesha
/geuh nay"sheuh/, n.
the Hindu god of wisdom.

* * *

or Ganesa

Elephant-headed Hindu god, the son of Shiva and Parvati.

He is also revered in Jainism, and he is important in the art and mythology of Buddhist Asia. As the remover of obstacles, Ganesha is invoked when beginning worship or starting any new venture. He was popular with Indian nationalists, who saw British colonialism as one obstacle to be removed. The patron of letters and learning, he is the legendary scribe who wrote down the Mahabharata. His popularity continued to grow through the 20th century. His festival is especially popular in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Ganesa dancing, relief from Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, 10th century AD; in the State ...

Pramod Chandra

* * *

▪ Hindu deity
also spelled  Ganesh , also called  Ganapati 
 elephant-headed Hindu (Hinduism) god of beginnings, who is traditionally worshipped before any major enterprise and is the patron of intellectuals, bankers, scribes, and authors. He is also known as “Lord of the People” (gana means the common people) and as “Lord of the Ganas” (Ganesha is the chief of the ganas, the goblin hosts of Shiva). Ganesha is potbellied and generally depicted as holding in his hand a few round Indian sweets, of which he is inordinately fond. His vehicle (vahana) in the world is the large Indian bandicoot rat, which symbolizes Ganesha's ability to overcome anything to get what he wants; Ganesha is thus the remover of obstacles.

      Many different stories are told about the birth of Ganesha, including one in which Parvati (Pārvatī) makes her son out of a piece of cloth and asks her consort, Shiva, to bring him to life. One of the best-known myths, however, begins with Parvati taking a bath and longing for someone to keep Shiva from barging in on her, as was his habit. As she bathes, she kneads the dirt that she rubs off her body into the shape of a child, who comes to life. But when Shiva sees the handsome young boy—or when the inauspicious planet Saturn (Shani) glances at it, in some variants of the myth that attempt to absolve Shiva of the crime—he or one of his attendants cuts off the child's head, which is eventually replaced with the head of an elephant. When Shiva cuts off the elephant's head to bestow it on the headless Ganesha, one of the tusks is shattered, and Ganesha is depicted holding the broken-off piece in his hand. According to this version of the myth, Ganesha is the child of Parvati alone—indeed, a child born despite Shiva's negative intervention.

Wendy Doniger

Additional Reading
Paul B. Courtright, Ganeśa: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings (1985), is a comprehensive study of Ganesha and his place in Indian religion and culture.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ganesha —    Ganesha, lord of beginnings and remover of obstacles, is probably the most worshipped divin ity of the Hindu pantheon. With the head of an elephant and a human body that shows a pro truding belly the sign of Ganesha’s fondness for sweets the… …   Encyclopedia of Hinduism

  • Ganesha —   [ ʃ ; Sanskrit »Herr der Schar«, d. h. des Gefolges von Shiva], Ganapạti, indische Gottheit, gilt als Beseitiger aller Hindernisse und als Beschützer der Gelehrsamkeit; in der indischen Mythologie Sohn Shivas und Parvatis. Ganesha wird in der… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Ganesha — Vinayaka redirects here. For other uses, see Vinayaka (disambiguation). Ganapati redirects here. For Hindu Vedic Deity and God of planet Jupiter, see Brihaspati. For other uses, see Ganesha (disambiguation). Ganesha …   Wikipedia

  • Ganesha — Estatua de Ganesha del siglo XIII, creada en el distrito de Mysore en Karnataka. Ganesha es una de las deidades más conocidas y adoradas del panteón hindú.[1] gaṇeśa, en el sistema AITS (alfab …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ganesha — Zeitgenössische Ganesha Statue Ganesha (Sanskrit: गणेश Gaṇeśa  [gʌˈɳeːɕʌ]) (Gana: Gefolge , Schar , Isha …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ganesha — Ganesh  Cet article concerne la divinité hindoue. Pour le logiciel, voir Ganesha (logiciel). Ganesha Père Shiva …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ganesha — Ganesa Ga*ne sa, Ganesh Ganesh, Ganesha Ganesha, prop. n. (Hindu Myth.) The Hindu god of wisdom, prudence and prophesy; the remover of obstacles. Syn: Ganapati. [1913 Webster WordNet 1.5] Note: He is represented as a short, fat, red colored man,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ganesha —    or Ganesa    The Hindu god of good fortune, he is the son of Shiva and Parvati. He is typically depicted as elephant headed, and credited with the elephant s good nature and great strength. The remover of obstacles, Ganesha is the god to… …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • Ganesha — En el hinduísmo, Ganesha o Ganesh (en sánscrito, señor de los ganas) es hijo de Shiva y Parvati. Dios de la sabiduría y de las letras. Su montura o vahana es un ratón. Normalmente es representado con cuatro brazos, gran barriga y cabeza de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ganesha — noun a) A Hindu god of intellect, wisdom, gates and beginnings, son of Parvati and Shiva. b) used in India. Syn: Aumkara, Ekadanta, Gajanana, Ganapati, Lambodara, Shurpa Karna, Umaputra, Vakratunda, Vighnaharta, Vinayaka …   Wiktionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.