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8 Things You May Not Know About Ganesh
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8 Things You May Not Know About Ganesh

Ganesh, also known as Ganapati or Vinayaka, is one of the most worshipped deities in Hinduism. He is revered as the remover of obstacles and the god of beginnings. While many are familiar with his elephant head and rotund belly, there are several lesser-known aspects of this beloved deity that are equally fascinating. This blog will uncover eight facts you may not know about Ganesh:

1. The Story of His Birth

The Story of His Birth
Ganesh's birth is a fascinating tale that is rich in symbolism and meaning. According to Hindu mythology, Ganesh is the son of Lord Shiva, the god of destruction, and Goddess Parvati, the goddess of power and devotion. The story goes that Parvati was quite alone and distressed after Lord Shiva left for the Himalayas to perform intense penance. Looking for someone to accompany her during these times, she created Ganesh out of sandalwood paste and gave him life and form. Moving on, she once assigned him the task of guarding her while she bathed.

While Goddess Parvati was busy with her daily rituals, Lord Shiva returned and tried to enter Parvati's abode. And Ganesh, unaware of his father's identity, stopped him. This led to a confrontation between the two, during which Shiva, in a fit of rage, beheaded Ganesh. Upon realizing his mistake and the true identity of the boy he had beheaded, Shiva was filled with remorse.
To revive Ganesh, Shiva instructed his followers to bring him the head of the first living being they encountered, which happened to be an elephant. Shiva then placed the elephant's head on Ganesh's body, giving him his unique appearance. He even granted Ganesh the boon that he would always be worshipped before all other gods and would be known as the remover of obstacles.

This story is often interpreted as symbolizing the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. It also teaches important lessons about the importance of recognizing and overcoming obstacles, as well as the power of forgiveness and redemption.

2. His Many Names and Forms

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Ganesh is known by a multitude of names, each of which reflects a different aspect of his personality and attributes. One of his most common names, Ganapati, means "lord of the people" and emphasizes his role as a leader and protector of his devotees. Other names, such as Gajanana (elephant-faced) and Lambodara (pot-bellied), refer to his physical appearance and characteristics.

Ganesh is also worshipped in various forms, each of which has its own significance. For example, Ekadanta Ganesh, who is depicted with only one tusk, symbolizes control over the mind and the ability to overcome obstacles. Heramba Ganesh, on the other hand, is depicted with five heads and is revered as the protector of the weak and vulnerable.

These different names and forms of Ganesh highlight the multifaceted nature of his personality and the various roles he plays in Hindu mythology and religious practices.

3. The Symbolism of His Elephant Head

Symbolism of His Elephant Head
Ganesh's elephant head holds significant symbolism in Hindu mythology, representing various attributes and teachings:

Wisdom and Intelligence: The elephant is considered one of the most intelligent animals in the natural world. Carrying an elephant head, Ganesh symbolizes wisdom, understanding, and intellect. These qualities are important for dealing with life's challenges and making wise decisions.

Discernment and Discrimination: The large, flappy ears of an elephant symbolize the importance of listening and gaining knowledge. In Hindu philosophy, discernment is considered essential for distinguishing between right and wrong, truth and falsehood. Ganesh's elephant head encourages his devotees to cultivate a discerning intellect and to listen attentively to the wisdom of others.

Modesty and Humility: Despite his immense power and wisdom, Ganesh is often depicted with a small mouth. This symbolizes the importance of speaking less and listening more, as well as practicing humility and modesty in one's interactions with others.

4.  Rivalry Between Goddess Tulsi and Lord Ganesha

Rivalry Between Goddess Tulsi and Lord Ganesha
While Tulsi, or Holy Basil, is considered a significant part of many Hindu rituals and rites, it's never offered to Lord Ganesha. And the story behind this is quite interesting to learn about.

On one fine day, Goddess Tulsi came across Lord Ganesha, who was meditating peacefully. Tulsi was highly captivated by his aura and expressed her desire to marry him. She was moved by his wisdom and kindness and wished to spend all her life with him, as his consort.

However, Lord Ganesha, who had chosen a life of celibacy, politely declined her proposal.

Tulsi felt disappointed and was filled with anger listening to Ganesha’s response. And in the heat of the moment, he cursed Lord Ganesha that he’ll have not one, but two marriages, which was something he had never intended to do.

In response, Lord Ganesha, in a just manner, cursed Tulsi that she would be married to a demon (Asura).
Following up on this heated rivalry between the two, Tulsi is never offered to Lord Ganesha.

5. The Story of His Broken Tusk

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Ganesh is often depicted with a broken tusk, which holds a symbolic significance in Hindu mythology. One of the most popular stories explaining this feature is the tale of how Ganesh wrote the epic Mahabharata as it was dictated by the sage Vyasa.

According to the legend, Vyasa wanted Ganesha to write the Mahabharata, one of the longest epics in the world. Ganesh agreed on one condition: that Vyasa would dictate the verses without stopping. This was because Ganesh, being the god of wisdom, did not want any interruptions that would break the flow of his writing.

As Vyasa began to recite the verses, Ganesh wrote them down attentively. However, due to continuous writing, at one point, his pen broke. Here, without hesitation, Ganesh broke off a piece of his tusk and continued writing. This act of sacrifice and dedication to the task at hand is seen as a symbol of Ganesh's commitment to wisdom and knowledge.

The broken tusk also symbolizes the idea that sometimes, in order to fulfill our duties or achieve our goals, we must be willing to make sacrifices. It teaches us the importance of perseverance and determination in the face of challenges.

6. His Role in Festivals and Rituals

His Role in Festivals and Rituals
Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is one of the most important festivals dedicated to Lord Ganesh. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion across India, especially in Maharashtra.

The festival usually lasts for 10 days, starting on the fourth day (Chaturthi) of the waxing moon period in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (August-September). During this time, huge clay idols of Ganesh are made and worshipped in homes and pandals.

The festival sums up on Anant Chaturdashi, the 10th day, when the idols are taken in grand processions to be immersed in water bodies, such as rivers, lakes, or the sea. This immersion, known as Ganesh Visarjan, symbolizes the cycle of creation and dissolution in Hindu cosmology.

7. Significance of His Vehicle - the Mouse (Musak)

Ganesh's vehicle, or vahana, is a mouse or rat, which is quite unique among Hindu deities. The mouse is often seen as a small, insignificant creature, yet it plays a significant role in Ganesh's symbolism. The mouse symbolizes Ganesh's ability to overcome obstacles of all sizes, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they may be.

In Hindu mythology, the mouse is also associated with darkness and ignorance. By riding on the mouse, Ganesh signifies his mastery over these negative qualities, indicating that with his guidance, devotees can overcome the darkness of ignorance and find their way to enlightenment.

8. His Association with Education and Learning

Ganesh is revered as the patron of arts, sciences, and wisdom. He is often depicted holding a book or writing implements, symbolizing his role as a source of knowledge and learning. Students and scholars often seek his blessings before embarking on a new academic pursuit or undertaking a challenging task.

Ganesh's association with education highlights the importance of intellect and wisdom in dealing with life's challenges. His imagery serves as a reminder that true success comes not just from physical strength or material wealth, but also from intellectual prowess and a thirst for knowledge.


Ganesh is much more than just a deity with an elephant head. His stories, symbols, and attributes convey profound teachings about overcoming obstacles, gaining wisdom, and embracing new beginnings. By understanding the deeper meanings behind his myths and symbols, we can learn valuable lessons that are relevant to our lives today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q. Which Ganesha is lucky?
A. White Ganesha idol is lucky for peace, good health, and prosperity. However, for people seeking self-growth, keeping a vermilion-colored Ganesha idol can be beneficial.
Q. Can we keep 2 Ganesh idols at home?
A. According to the Vastu, it is best to keep only one Ganesha idol at home. It is believed that keeping two Ganesha idols disturbs the energy of the space.
Q. Who is the wife of Ganesha?
A. Lord Ganesha had two wives - Riddhi and Siddhi.
Q. Can Ganesha be gifted?
A. Yes. Gifting the Lord Ganesha’s idol is considered auspicious in Hindu culture as it symbolizes success and prosperity.
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