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Wednesday 30 November 2011

Ganesh Statues

Ganesh Statues are a fairly common sight all around the world. The Elephant God, as he is known in the western countries has fascinated people across the globe with his obvious elephant face, large tummy and tiny mouse. This Hindu god is invoked at the beginning of all traditional rituals and is worshipped in thirty two different forms recognized in the Agamic scriptures.

The 32 names of Ganesh are Baala Ganesh, Dharuna Ganesh, Bhakti Ganesh, Veera Ganesh, Shakti Ganesh, Dwija Ganesh, Siddhi Ganesh, Ucchishta Ganesh, Vigna Ganesh, Kshipra Ganesh, Heramba Ganesh, Lakshmi Ganesh, Makara Ganesh, Vijaya Ganesh, Nritta Ganesh, Urdhva Ganesh, Vara Ganesh, Ekakshara Ganesh, Dhryakshara Ganesh, Kshipraprasaada Ganesh, Haridra Ganesh, Ekadhanta Ganesh, Srishti Ganesh, Utthanda Ganapati, Ranamochana Ganesh, Dundi Ganapati, Dwimukha Ganesh, Trimukha Ganesh, Simha Ganapati, Yoga Ganapati, Durga Ganesh, and Sankatahara Ganapati.

Lord Ganesh also has quite a few names that he is called by such as Ganapati, Ganesha, Ekadantaa, Chaturbhuj, Amit, Kapila, Krti, and so on. His hundred and eight names are symbolic of his various characteristics, blessings, legends attached to his godliness and praises by his worshippers.

Ganesh is known as the eldest son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. There is a fascinating story about this in the Ganesh Khanda of the Brahma Vivarta Puraan. The story goes something like this. Lord Shiva and Goddess Paravti were gifted the magical Wisdom Fruit which held the nectar of immortality and supreme knowledge and they wanted to bestow it on one of their sons which were Lord Ganesh and Lord Kartikeya (Subramanya). Unable to decide Lord Shiva thought for a bit and suggested that they have a race. He said that whoever went around the whole world three times and came back first to the starting point first would be the winner and get the magical fruit. Upon hearing this Lord Kartikeya flew away on his peacock hastily to take a round of the world, quite confident because his brother was slower and fatter; while Lord Ganesh simply walked around Shiva and Parvati and encircled them three times and asked for the prize of his success. Lord Shiva told him that he had not gone around the world, but Ganesha lovingly replied saying, “No, but I have gone around my parents. My parents represent the entire manifested universe!” And upon hearing this Lord Shiva decided Ganesh to be the winner and the tales of his wisdom and intellect abound to this day.

There are many stories of this Hindu god. In fact each name and form of Lord Ganesh has a story behind it. Different Ganesh statues too represent some or the other form of the lord. Reading up on some stories might be a good way to get an insight into such Hindu gods.

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