At the Hindu religion, Gaṇeśa (from the Sanskrit gana - "multitude", and isha - "sir", reads. "Lord of all beings"), often in anglicizzato Ganesha or Ganesh, is a representation of God's most well-known and venerated ; firstborn son Śiva and Parvati, is depicted with the head of an elephant provided with a single tusk, pronounced belly and four arms, while riding or served as a mouse, his vehicle. Often is sitting with one leg raised from the ground and folded over in dell'alitasana position. Typically, his name is preceded by the title of respect Hindu, Śrī.

The cult of Gaṇeśa is widespread, even outside India, devotees of Gaṇeśa called Ganapatya.

As with any other form in which Hinduism is God, understood as the personal aspect of Brahman (also known as Ishvara, the Lord), the figure of Gaṇeśa archetype is a load of multiple meanings and symbolisms expressing a state of perfection, and the way to get there; Gaṇeśa is the symbol of the man who discovered the Divinity itself.
He is the perfect balance between male energy (Shiva) and female (Shakti), or between strength and sweetness, between power and beauty, also symbolizes the ability discriminativa which allows to distinguish the truth by the real dall'irreale.

A description of all features and attributes of Gaṇeśa can be found in Ganapati Upaniṣad (Upaniṣad dedicated to Gaṇeśa) rishi Atharva, where Gaṇeśa is identified with Brahman and Ātman. In this Vedic Hymn also is one of the most famous mantra associated with this deity: Om Namah Gam Ganapataye (lit. I arrendo to you, the Lord of all beings).

In Veda is also one of the prayers to Gaṇeśa more salmodiate, which is the beginning of Ganapati Prarthana:

Om gananam tva ganapatigm havamahe kavim kavinamupamashravastamam
Jyeshtarajam brahmanam brahmanaspata to nah shrunvannutibhih AIDS sadanam
(Rig Veda 2.23.1)

The Lord of the Good Expression
In general terms, is a deity Gaṇeśa much beloved and invoked, as is the good Lord gives hope that prosperity and luck, Destroyer obstacles of a material or spiritual, which is why it invokes the grace before starting any activity such as a trip, an exam, a job, an affair, a ceremony, or any important event. For this reason, it is tradition that all sessions bhajan (devotional songs) begin with an invocation to Gaṇeśa, Lord of the "good start" of songs.

It is also associated with the first chakra, which represents the instinct for preservation and survival, procreation and material wealth.

Attributes body
Each element of the body of Gaṇeśa has a value in its own significance:

* The head of elephant shows loyalty, intelligence and power discriminatory;
* The fact that it has only one tusk (and the other broken) indicates the ability to overcome every dualism;
* Denote large ears wisdom, ability to listen and reflect on spiritual truth;
* Proboscide curved means the intellectual potential, which occur in the faculty of discrimination between real and unreal;
* On the forehead has portrayed the Trident (symbol Śiva), which symbolizes the time (past, present and future) it attaches to Gaṇeśa mastery;
* The belly obese is such because it contains infinite universes, is also equanimity, the ability to assimilate any experience with serene detachment without scomporsi minimally;
* The leg rests on the ground and raised indicate that the attitude that you should take part to the fact that material and spiritual, or the ability to live in the world without being of the world;
* The four arms of Gaṇeśa representing four attributes inner thin body, namely: the mind, intellect, ego, conscience conditioning;
Or in a hand brandisce an axe, a symbol of excision of all desires, apportatori suffering;
Or second hand shaking a lasso, a symbol of strength that binds devoted to the happiness of the Self;
Or third hand, addressed to the devotee, is an act of blessing (abhaya);
Or fourth hand holds a lotus flower (padma), which symbolizes the highest goal of human evolution.

The Lord whose shape is OM
Gaṇeśa is also defined Omkara or Aumkara, or "in the form of Om (or Aum)" (see paragraph names Gaṇeśa). Indeed, the shape of his body follows the contour of the letter indicates that the Sanskrit famous Bija Mantra for this Gaṇeśa is considered the incarnation of the whole Cosmos, who is the basis of all that is manifest (Vishvadhara, Jagadoddhara).

The broken tusk
The tusk of Gaṇeśa broken, as we have seen, indicates mainly the ability to overcome or "break" the duality, but this is a symbol that can take different meanings.
"An elephant has, as a rule, two tusks. Even the mind often proposes two alternatives: the good and bad, excellent and expedient, the fact and imagination that the door off-road. To do anything, the mind must be determined. The head of the elephant and then Lord Gaṇeśa has one tusk for which he is called "Ekadantha", which means "He who has only one tusk," to remind everyone that you must have the mental determination. "

(Sathya Sai Baba)

Gaṇeśa and Topo
The horse is Gaṇeśa of a small mouse (Mushika or Akhu), which represents the ego, the mind with all its desires, the greed of the individual; Gaṇeśa, riding the mouse becomes master (not slave) of these trends indicating the power of the intellect and discrimination have on the mind. In addition, the mouse (by nature extremely voracious), is often portrayed alongside a plate of sweets, with the eyes looking at Gaṇeśa while takes a bite close between the legs, as in a pending order represents the mind which has been fully subject to the higher power of intellect, mind undergoes steely control fixing Gaṇeśa and approaches to food unless it receives permission.

Married or single?
It is interesting to note that, according to tradition, Gaṇeśa has been generated by the Mother Parvati without the intervention of her husband Śiva because Śiva, being eternal (Sadashiva), felt no need not to have children. Thus was born the exclusive Gaṇeśa female Parvati desire to create. Consequently, the report Gaṇeśa with your mother is unique and special.

This devotion is the reason why the tradition of the South is as unmarried (see story Devotion to the Mother). It is said that Gaṇeśa, considering his mother Parvati woman more beautiful and perfect the universe, has exclaimed: "Bring a beautiful woman like you and I sposerò".

In India the north, however, is often portrayed Gaṇeśa married with two daughters of Brahma: buddhi (intellect) and Siddhi (spiritual power). In other depictions his consorts are Sarasvathi (goddess of culture and art) and Lakṣmī (goddess of fortune and prosperity), to symbolize that always accompany these qualities that he has discovered his inner divinity.

Anecdotes mythological

How got a head elephant?
The articulated Hindu mythology presents many stories that explain how they got Gaṇeśa an elephant's head; often the origin of this particular attribute is the same anecdotes concerning his birth.
The stories in question, it is also telling various reasons reveal the source of his enormous popularity worship.

Decapitato and revived by Śiva
The story is probably best known is that the Purana Śiva: Mother Parvati once wanted to make into the bathroom, which created a boy from wheat flour which was sprinkled the body and asked him to play guard at the door home, recommending not to enter into any house. At that juncture Śiva returned home and found a stranger on the door that prevented from entering, and decapitò angry with his trident. Parvati it was very saddened and Śiva, consolarla, sent his heavenly hosts (Ghana) to find and take the head of any creature they had found asleep with his head facing north. They found an elephant sleeping in that way, and took his head; Śiva attacked the body of the boy, and raised him Ganapathi, or head of heavenly hosts, which allowed anyone who adorasse before starting any activity.

Shiva and Gajasura
Another legend concerning the origin of Gaṇeśa said that once there was an Asura (demon) by the appearance of elephant called Gajasura, who performed a penance (or tapas); Śiva, satisfied with this austerity, decided to grant as a gift anything wished. The demon who wanted his body emanasse fire continuously, so that no one osasse zoom, and the Lord granted him. Gajasura continued his penance and Śiva, which appeared in front from time to time, asked him again what it wanted, and the demon answered, "I want you to reside in my stomach."
Shiva esaudì the request and taken home. Indeed, Śiva is also known as Bhola Shankara as a deity easy to promote when it is satisfied with a devout him ask anything, and this sometimes creates situations particularly intricate. Thus Parvati, his wife, I tried anywhere without result, as a last resort went Viṣṇu from his brother, asking him to find her husband. He who knows all, reassured: "Do not worry, dear sister, your husband is Bhola Shankara and readily grant any grace your devotee The requests without taking into consideration the consequences, so I think that we have hunted in some trouble. Scoprirò what happened. "
Then Viṣṇu, omniscient director of the cosmic game, inscenò a small comedy: Nandi changed (the bull Śiva) in a bull dancer and led him before Gajasura, taking the same time to look like a flute player. The enchanting performance of the bull sent into ecstasy the daemon, which asked the flute player to express a desire, the musician Viṣṇu then replied: "You can give me what I ask?" Gajasura replied: "For whom have you taken? I can now give you anything you ask." The player then said: "If so, therefore free from your stomach Śiva that there is." Gajasura understood then how they were others who Viṣṇu same, the only one who might know the secret, threw himself at his feet and released Śiva, The churches one last gift: "I have been blessed by you with many gifts; My last request is that all I remember adoring my head when I am dead. " Śiva there then led his son, whose head was replaced with that of Gajasura. Since then, India is alive tradition whereby any initiative, to be prosperous, it must begin with the worship of Gaṇeśa this is the result of the gift of Śiva to Gajasura.

The sight of Shani
A famous short story on the origins of Gaṇeśa is in Brahma Purana Vaivarta: Śiva asked Parvati, which wanted to have a child, make a special sacrifice (punyaka vrata) for a year in order to satisfy Viṣṇu.
After the completion of the sacrifice, the Lord Krishna promised to Parvati to incarnate as her son, at the beginning of each kalpa or was cosmic. Thus Krishna was born as a beautiful child, with great joy of Parvati who wanted to celebrate the miraculous birth. All gods and goddesses gathered to celebrate the birth. Shani, the son of Surya (the sun deva), was present but refused to watch the baby; disturbed by his behavior, Parvati asked him why, and Shani replied that if the child had watched him wounded. Following insistence of Parvati, Shani turned their gaze and, as soon as his eyes resting on the baby, her head was cut off instantly. All deity present disperarono, so Viṣṇu rushed on the banks of the river Pushpabhadra and returned with the head of a young elephant, and joined to the body of the child infondendogli new life. Viṣṇu blessed the child, promising that he would have been worshipped before any other deity, and that was the best among yogis; similarly Śiva pose to the head of his troops and blessed, saying that any obstacle, any entity , it would have been passed Gaṇeśa praying.

Gaṇeśa scribe
The first part of the epic poem Mahābhārata declares that the essay Vyāsa asked Gaṇeśa transcribed poem under his dictation; Gaṇeśa agreed, but only on condition that Vyāsa should recite the poem continuously without pause. The test, then, in turn pose a further condition: Gaṇeśa would not only had to write, but understand everything heard before writing it. In this way Vyāsa could recover a little from its continuous talk simply reciting a verse difficult to understand. The dictation began, but the ardour of the pen to write Gaṇeśa broke, so he broke a tusk and used as a pen so that the transcript could go forward without interruption, so as to enable them to keep that promise.

Gaṇeśa and Parashurama
One day Parashurama, an avatar of Viṣṇu, went to visit Śiva, but along the road was blocked by Gaṇeśa. Parashurama threw it against him with his axe, and Gaṇeśa (quell'ascia knowing that he had been given by Śiva) consented to be hit, losing a tusk that was cut.

Gaṇeśa and the Moon
It is said that one day Gaṇeśa, after receiving many worshippers from a lot of sweets (Modak) to digest better quell'impressionante amount of food, he decided to take a walk, went up the mouse, which uses as its vehicle and departed. It was a wonderful night and the moon shone. Suddenly spuntò a snake scared to death that the mice, which had dropped sussultando his knight. The bulk of Gaṇeśa stomach was bruised and too full burst, and all had eaten fresh are scattered around him. However, he was too intelligent to take because of this incident, so without wasting time on unnecessary complaints, was concerned only to better resolve the situation took the snake that had caused the accident and used as a belt to hold closed his abdomen and bendare the wound, and, satisfied, went up again on mice and shooting his tour. Chandra, the deva of the Moon, to see a comic scene broke out laughing and took game Gaṇeśa these then considered just punish deva for his arrogance, then broke a tusk and launched against Luna spaccandone halfway face bright. He maledisse, decreeing that anyone who had watched was persecuted by bad luck. Chandra, realising their mistake, and asked forgiveness prayed Gaṇeśa to withdraw the curse, but not a curse can be lifted only diminished, so Gaṇeśa condemned the Moon and set to grow in intensity second rounds of 15 days, and established that anyone had watched during the festivity of Vinayaka Chaturthi was struck by bad luck. Thus, in certain moments the light of the Moon was off, and then again gradually to appear, but his whole face would remain only for a very short period of time, because then it would again "split" to disappear.

Gaṇeśa, head of Schiere Celesti
Once opened was a great race between Deva to choose among them the leader of Ghana (semidèi troops serving Śiva). Competitors would have done quickly around the world and back to the foot of Śiva. The gods left on their vehicles, and also the same Gaṇeśa enthusiastically participated in the tender, but had a big size, and vehicle a mouse! Of course, proceeded with considerable slowness and that the era of big disadvantage. He had not yet come a long way, when he appeared before the essay Narada (son of Brahma), who asked him where were directed. Gaṇeśa was very dry and went on all furie, because it was considered unfortunate that s'iniziasse not just a trip, we met a Brahmino lonely. Despite Narada was the largest of bramini, son of the same Brahma, it still remained a bad omen. Moreover, it was not considered good sign receive the question "Where are you direct?" When they were headed somewhere, so Gaṇeśa felt doubly unfortunate. However, the great brahmino managed to calm his anger. Ll son of the Śiva told the reason for his sadness and his desire to win; Narada consoled him, urging not to despair, and gave him some advice:

"Just as a big tree comes from a single seed, the name of Rama is the seed from which it was released that immense tree called Universe. Therefore, write on the ground the name" Rama ", make one lap around it, and precipitated by Śiva to claim your prize. "

Gaṇeśa returned by his father, who asked him how he could do so quickly. He said, telling him the story and the suggestion Narada; Śiva, wise satisfied with the answer to his question, said his son winner which by that time was acclaimed by the name of Ganapati (Leader of the heavenly host) and Vinayaka (Master of all).

The appetite of Gaṇeśa
Gaṇeśa is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride.

An anecdote drawn from Purana tells that the treasurer of Svarga (paradise) and the god of wealth, Kubera, went one day on Mount Kailasa to receive darshan (vision) Śiva. Since it was very vain, invited him to a dinner in his magnificent city, Alakapuri, so that they can show all its riches. Śiva smiled and said: "I can not come, but you can ask my son Gaṇeśa. Warn you that is a voracious eater." Not at all worried, Kubera he felt ready to meet with its opulence also an insatiable hunger such as Gaṇeśa. He took with him the small son of Śiva and brought him in his home town, where the ceremonial offered a bath and rivestì sumptuous clothes. After these initial rites, began the great banquet. While the servitude of Kubera pledged to serve a maximum of all courses, small Gaṇeśa began to eat, eat and eat ... His appetite is not stopped even after having devoured the dishes intended for other guests, there was not even time to replace a scope that Gaṇeśa had already devoured all, and with signs of impatience, waiting for new food. Divorato everything was prepared, made to eat Gaṇeśa decorations, furnishings, furniture, lighting ... Atterrito, Kubera is prostrò front of the small omnivorous and supplicò to spare the rest of the building.
"I hunger. Unless I dài else to eat, even divorerò you!" Said a Kubera. These desperate, rushed on Mount Kailasa to ask Śiva an urgent remedy. The Lord then gave him a handful of rice abbrustolito, saying that it would have satisfied; Gaṇeśa had already ingurgitato almost the whole city, when the Kubera humbly donated rice. With the food, Gaṇeśa is finally satisfied and calmò.

Read also Ganesha


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