Tag Archives: Ganesha Purana

The Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala Purana are the two main scriptures of the Ganapataya sect that are exclusively dedicated to Lord Ganesha.  Mudgala Purana is an ancient religious text that discusses various aspects of Lord Ganesha and his life in detail. It gives tales, historical events, religious beliefs and customs and legends about the elephant head deity. Like the Ganesha Purana, this is also an Upapurana which means that it is a compilation of various texts and is usually considered as a secondary purana.

Experts believe that this was one of the last works written on Lord Ganesha and was written after the Ganesha Purana, around 1100 and 1400 AD.  The text mentions that the Ganesha Purana is one of the four Puranasthe Brahma, the Brahmaṇḍa, the Ganesha, and the Mudgala describing Lord Ganesha. The text is divided into eight parts each of which discusses the eight incarnations or avatars. Although the manifestations of Lord Ganesha are innumerable but out of them the following eight are considered the most important. It should be noted that these eight incarnations are different from the four incarnations mentioned in the Ganesha Purana. Each of the avatars was born in a different age and portrays a significant journey of creation. The avatars have different philosophical meanings and symbolic representations. The avatars are as follows –

  1. Vakratunda 

This is the first avatar and the name actually means a twisted trunk. This particular incarnation is a form of aggregation of all embodied souls, the Brahman. In this avatar his vahana was the lion and the purpose of this incarnation was to demolish the demon Matsaryasura, the demon of envy and jealousy.

  1. Ekadanta

The second avatar represents an aggregation of individual souls and the name itself means the one with a single tusk. It is believed that Lord Ganesha broke one of his tusks to use it as a pen to write the Mahabharata. Some experts also say that he broke his tusk in a fit of anger when moon was mocking at him and his pot belly. Since Lord Ganesha could not find anything else, he broke one of his tusks and threw it at the moon. Is vahana in this avatar was the mouse. The sole purpose of this avatar was to kill a demon known as Madasura, the demon of arrogance.

  1. Mahodara

The meaning of Mahodara is big belly or pot belly. It is an amalgamation of the first two avatars, the Ekadanta and the Vakratnda. The vahana of Lord Ganesha in this incarnation was the mouse and the reason for the birth of this avatar was to demolish the demon of confusion and dilemma, Mohasura.

  1. Gajavaktra 

It means the elephant head and it is almost similar to the Mahodara avatar. Like the previous two incarnations, the Lord rides the mouse as his vahana. He demolished the demon of greed known as Lobhasura in this avatar of his.

  1. Lambodara

Lambodara actually means big belly. This avatar corresponds to supreme or ultimate power of the universe, Shakti. He rides the mouse as his vahana and was born to kill the demon of anger, Krodhasura.

  1. Vikata

Vikata means the unusual or the not normal form. Lord Ganesha is considered equivalent to the sun (surya) in this avatar. Symbolically it means that like the light from the sun fills light in the whole world similarly in this form Ganesha is the one who shall enlighten the entire universe with his wisdom. His vahana was the peacock and he was born to eradicate and demolish the demon of lust, Kamasura.

  1. Vighnaraja

It means the king of obstacles and in this avatar Lord Ganesha corresponds to Lord Vishnu. Vishnu is believed to be the preserver of the Brahman. Lord Ganesha in this incarnation of his preserves the world and removes all the obstacles from the path to success and prosperity. His vahana in this avatar was the divine snake, Shesha. The purpose of this incarnation was to overcome the demon of possessiveness, Mamasura.

  1. Dhumravarna

It actually corresponds to grey colour which symbolizes destruction of the universe. In this incarnation Lord Ganesha is often corresponded to Lord Shiva because out of the trinity, Lord Shiva represents destruction.Ganesha rides a horse in this avatar and killed the demon of pride and attachment, Abhimanasura in this avatar.

 The teachings are vast and hold great importance for the Ganapataya sect. For them  Lord Ganesha is the prime deity and since the time it came into existence the text has undergone many interpolations according to the region in which it was studied, but the main aim remains wellness, success and prosperity of all beings.

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Lord Ganesha is known to be the remover of obstacles, the epitome of success and prosperity and is synonymous with wisdom, intellect and knowledge. Throughout history he has been regarded as the lord of new beginnings and even today when we start a new venture, we begin with Shree Ganeshaya Namah to seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha. Hindu mythology is filled with tales and incidents about the elephant head god, but in this particular article we would be talking about only one scripture – the Ganesha Purana.

The Ganesha Purana is an ancient religious text that is solely dedicated to Lord Ganesha. It talks about stories, tales, historical events and religious rituals related to Ganesha. The Ganesha Purana is considered sacred by Ganapatayas but surprisingly it came into existence rather late. Religious experts and historians say that the two basic scriptures of Lord Ganesha came into being between 1300 and 1600 AD (although this is a matter of debate).Considering the span of the Hindu mythology, this can be considered late by some. During the medieval ages the Ganapataya sect formed their own rituals and religious movement that was purely dedicated to their prime deity Lord Ganesha. It was during this time that the sect made the teachings of Ganesha Purana popular by preaching them. The Purana discussed in detail the stories that emphasized the importance and significance of Lord Ganesha and it also explained lord’s relationship with his devotees and fellow gods and goddess’. It is said that the Ganesha Purana is an Upapurana which means that it is a compilation of various religious texts. It is difficult to summarize any religious text because of various reasons. Almost all religious texts are extremely lengthy and so is the Ganesha Purana so to actually give a summary of the text is next to impossible. The next reason which adds to the difficulties are the teachings that they preach. The Ganesha Purana lists various religious practices that the Ganapataya sect follows closely. It gives a wide array of stories of Lord Ganesha, techniques of worship, philosophical and religious beliefs and other devotional material which is considered extremely important by the people of the Ganapataya sect. The Ganesa Purana is divided into two parts – The Upasanakhanda (section on devotion)which has 92 chapters and the Kridakhanda (section on the divine play) which has 155 chapters. Chapter 138 to 148 of the Kridakhanda is known to be the Ganesha Gita;it is based on the epic Hindu religious text the Bhagwat Gita (almost 90% of the txt is similar). But in this case it is slightly different because the Ganesha Gita is the modified version of the Bhagwat Gita and gives main importance to none other than Lord Ganesha. The four incarnations of Ganesha are discussed in the Kridakhanda. These four incarnations or avatars as they are called in Sanskrit appeared in four different yugas and the explanation of these avatars is given in the 132nd chapter of the Kridakhanda. It should also be noted that the four incarnations that the Ganesha Purana talks about are different from the eight avatars mentioned in the Mudgala Purana. The four avatars are –

Mahotkata Vinayaka 

Characteristics –

  • Red in complexion
  • 10 arms
  • Vahana – elephant or lion (according to different sources)
  • Born in Krita yuga
  • Son of Kashyapa and Aditi
  • In this avatar he killed his demon brothers Narantaka and Devantaka and the demon Dhumraksha

Mayuresvara

Chraracteristics –

  • White in complexion
  • 6 arms
  • Vahana – Peacock (which e later gave to his younger brother Lord Kartikeya)
  • Born in Treta yuga
  • Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati
  • The purpose of this avatar was to kill the demon Sindhu

Gajanana 

Characteristics –

  • Red in complexion
  • 4 arms
  • Vahana – the mouse
  • Born in the Dwapar Yuga
  • Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati
  • The purpose of this avatar was to demolish the Sindhura demon

Dhumraketu

Characteristics –

  • Grey complexion resembling ash or smoke
  • 2 or 4 arms
  • Vahana – a blue horse
  • Experts say that this incarnation would be born to end the Kali yuga

 The text holds great importance for the people of the Ganapataya sect and they closely follow the teachings given in this sacred text.

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