Tag Archives: Lord Ganesha

Diwali is one of the most popular festivals on India. The rituals and values trace a long way back. But even today these values and rituals hold a place of great importance. Lights, diyas, mithai and gifts have become an indispensible part of this festival. But in this article we shall be talking about why lord Ganesha and goddess Laxmi are worshipped together on Diwali.
On the auspicious day of Diwali which is believed to bring prosperity and peace in our life, we generally worship lord Ganesha and goddess Laxmi together. It is only on this particular day that goddess Laxmi is worshipped with lord Ganesha instead of lord Vishnu.
Laxmi puja is a ritual that is performed on Diwali, the festival of lights. It is believed that people who light oil lamps and worship goddess Laxmi on this day with true heart and soul are blessed with prosperity and goodness. Goddess Laxmi symbolizes wealth and money, thus she is usually worshipped by people who wish to acquire wealth. But goddess Laxmi only visits those houses which are clean and have hard working people. Just by praying goddess Laxmi, you won’t get wealth. You have to make continuous efforts in the direction. One must make a rangoli to welcome goddess Laxmi into their house on Diwali.
The ritual of Laxmi puja is to worship a total of 5 deities. Lord Ganesha is worshipped at the start of all new ventures. On the day of Diwali he is especially worshipped as Vighneshwara. Next is goddess Laxmi in 3 forms – Mahalaxmi (goddess of wealth and money), Mahasaraswati (goddess of learning, books and knowledge) and Mahakali. Last but certainly not the least in this list of deities is Kubera – the treasurer of gods. By worshipping lord Kubera you are offering him to become the treasurer of your wealth and money as well. Keep in mind that while performing Laxmi puja on Diwali you must recite Shri Ganesha aarti before reciting goddess Laxmi’s aarti.
There is another story that explains why lord Ganesha and goddess Laxmi are worshipped together on Diwali. Once when goddess Laxmi and lord Vishnu were having a conversation, goddess Laxmi was praising herself and boasting about her abilities. She told lord Vishnu that by worshipping her people can get all the pleasures and happiness in the world. To reduce goddess Laxmi’s ego, lord Vishnu told her that although you have all these qualities, but you still cannot feel the joys of motherhood. And for a lady motherhood is the most important happiness of the world. She became disheartened and went to goddess Parvati to seek help. Laxmi ji said to Parvati ji that since you have two sons, could you please give me one of your sons. This way I would also get to feel the joys of motherhood. Goddess Parvati loved both her sons, lord Ganesha and lord Karthikeya immensely and could not decide who to give to goddess Laxmi.
She made a tough decision and gave lord Ganesha to Laxmi ji. It was then that goddess Laxmi said that she would be giving all her love and prosperity to lord Ganesha. In addition to this goddess Laxmi also promised goddess Parvati that Ridhhi and Sidhhi, Lord Brahma’s daughters would get married to nobody other than lord Ganesha. Goddess Laxmi declared that whenever my worship will be performed, Lord Ganesha’a worship will be a must. The worship would be considered incomplete if lord Ganesha is not worshipped. That’s the reason why lord Ganesha and goddess Laxmi are worshipped together on Diwali.

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As a culture Hinduism is perhaps the most widely accepted religions. Lord Ganesha is an extremely important God in Hinduism. Lord Ganesha has 108 names, each holding a specific meaning. He is also the most worshiped Hindu deities and is particularly popular in India and Nepal. The devotion to Lord Ganesha is widely diffused across other cultures also. Historically Ganesha emerged as an important deity in the 4th and 5th century, during the reign of the Guptas. The earliest known idol of Lord Ganesha is located in the Shiva temple at Bhumra. His following strengthened around the 10th century in India. The name Vinayaka for Lord Ganesha is not just mentioned in the Puranas but also the Buddhist mantras. Lord Ganesha is also known as the Lord of the Ganas in Sri Lanka.

Ancient temples and excavations show that the worship of the God of wisdom is spread across the globe. The physical attributes of Lord Ganesha vary in Java, Bali, Borneo, Vietnam, Bangkok and Burma. Here Lord Ganesha is mainly thought of as a remover of obstacles and also as the God of success. Worship of Ganesha was in vogue before Islam arrived in Afghanistan but no conclusive evidence exists to prove the statement. A few sculptures discovered between 5th and 7th century is proof of the same. In northern China statues with inscription dated to 531 exist in many parts. Presence of Lord Ganesha is also there in Tibet. The beliefs are ambivalent in nature, which is depicted by various idols across Tibet. Sri Lanka which is dominantly a Buddhist country has about 14 ancient temples of Lord Ganesha.

There is a strong influence of Lord Ganesha in the Malay Peninsula also. Temples were built around the 6th century in various locations including Petaling Java, Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Pudu and Melaka. A dancing Ganesha is evident in the Malay Archipelago in the temple of Candi Sukuh. Other countries, that have Ganesha temples, are Mauritius (in Riviere du Rempart) and Singapore.

The popularity of Lord Ganesha not just spreads across Asia but also South and Central America and Mexico. In the modern times a significant following of Lord Ganesha exists in Britain, Australia Germany, France and Canada. Some of the popular temples of Ganesha stand tall in London, New York, Paris, Durban, Hamburg, Melbourne and Edmonton. Comparisons of Lord Ganesha to Janus, the two headed Roman God, also exist. No conclusive evidence of Lord Ganesha’s worship in Roman culture has been found despite the similarity.

It is not just globally that Ganesha is worshiped but also in various other cultures. Where Ganesha appears as an avatar of Budhdha in Ganesha Purana, he is also shown as a different idol in Tibet. Ganesha is even represented as an idol with one to five heads. Ganesh Chaturthi in India is more of a universal festival then a festival celebrated by Hindus. The popularity of this deity not just spreads across borders but also spreads across hearts.

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Discovery of trade routes and the quest for land has contributed to inter mingling of cultures in the world. It is because of commercial and cultural contacts that Hinduism has had a huge effect particularly on East Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Ganesha is one of the Hindu deities who landed in foreign land and became a popular figure. His teachings have now become universal because of globalization.

Trade not just helped build economies but also evolved cultures. The popularity of Lord Ganesha also spread across different parts of the world because of the traders and the merchants. It is known that any auspicious work marked by Lord Ganesha in the beginning turns out to be fruitful. Hence the significance of Lord Ganesha holds importance in the matters of trade. Migration of Hindus in search of promised lands also contributed to the spread of Lord Ganesha’s popularity. The period from 10th century was marked by the development of new networks of trade and exchange. Evidence of the deity in the 5th and 6th century (the Gupta period) has been found but it is through merchants that the popularity of Lord Ganesha spread across borders. The merchant community’s earliest inscription is that of Lord Ganesha, before any other deity.

The globalization of Lord Ganesha is further substantiated by the close association of some religious sects with trade. It is through this connection of commerce that the ideas of worship of this deity were exchanged. For instance, Ganesha is worshiped by Jainas because the connection of Jainas to the trading community is strong. In Buddhism the popularity of this deity was mainly because of the Guptas. The Guptas built sculptures that depict confluence of Buddhism and Hinduism through Ganesha. In some sects and countries such as Japan, Ganesha is believed to be an avatar of Buddha.

In the modern era it is the exchange of ideas through migration that has resulted in spread of Lord Ganesha’s affluence in places other then the Indian subcontinent and East Asia. Southern and Central America, Mexico, Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and even parts of the Malay peninsula have seen a rise in Hindu population. Hence one can see many temples in these countries which are extremely popular. The region of Angkor Vat for instance thrives on Hindu temples and has elaborate temples and caves depicting Hinduism. We can also find idols and carvings of Lord Ganesha in this region.

It is not just the spread of Hindus in the modern era that has contributed to the popularity of Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha’s teachings are more universal than any other deity in Hinduism. Although various religions may not practice the act of worship of this deity but they still hold his spiritual significance in high regard. It is the acceptance of this deity’s values that has led to the global status of Lord Ganesha.

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In Hinduism the formal way to worship a deity is to recite a hymn or a specific prayer in their name. This is called a mantra. A mantra is mostly in Sanskrit and has a spiritual meaning. Every deity has a specific mantra and Lord Ganesha is no exception. With Ganesha’s being one of the most important and powerful deities in Hindu culture the Ganesh mantra or Ganapati mantra has significant importance for the devotees.

The Ganapati mantra is recited not just in honour of Lord Ganesha but also for overcoming obstacles, attaining prosperity, wealth and knowledge. It can be as simple as saying “Shri Ganeshaya Namah” or “Om Gang Ganadhirajaay Namah”, to chanting elaborate mantras. The popular ones with their meanings are given below.

“Vakratunda Mahakaya”

This is one of the most important Lord Ganesha’s mantra. It is recited for Lord Ganesha and Riddhi and Siddhi. The reason for its incantation is to attain prosperity and wealth. It is believed by the priests that recitation of this mantra 1, 25,000 times brings wealth, prosperity and knowledge. All one needs to do is believe and be dedicated to reciting the mantra the given number of times.

“Om Hreeng Greeng Hreeng”

This mantra is also known as the Shaktivinayak mantra. This is recited primarily for financial prosperity.

“Hastipishachilikhey Swaha”

A Tantrik mantra this is again recited for financial and materialistic prosperity.

“Om Ganesh Rhinam Chhindhi Vareniyam Hung Namah Phutt”

A Rhinaharta mantra, it is recited to keep poverty at bay.

“Om Shreeng Hreeng Kleeng Glaung Gang Ganapatye Var Varad Sarvajanmey Vashmanay Tha Tha.”

This Ganesha mantra is one of the most important Ganapati mantra. Most of the important occasions of worshipping Lord Ganesha start with this mantra. This is recited to worship the Lord who removes obstacles.

“Rayaspaushasaya Dadita Nidhido Ratan Dhatuman Rakshohanovalaghano Vakratundaay Hung”

Not as popular with the devotees, this mantra is more popular amongst priests.

“Om Shreeng Gang Soumyaay Ganapatye Var Varad Sarvajanmmey Vashmanay Swaha”

This is a mantra that is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi and Lord Ganesha. Since it has the power to invoke the two Gods of financial prosperity , it is believed to be effective in that regard.

“Vakratundaikdaikdanshtraay Kleeng Hreeng Shreeng Gang GanapatyeVar Varad Sarvajanam mey Vashmanay Swaha”

This mantra is known as the Trailokya Mohan Kar Ganesha Mantra. It is believed to bring peace to the one who recites it.

“Om Hung Gang Glaung Haridra Ganapatye Var Varad Sarvajan Hridayam Stambhay Stambhay Swaha”

This mantra is known as Haridra Ganesh Mantra. This mantra is recited for marital happiness. It is specifically recited to remove impotency and bless the devotee with a child.

“Om Namo Siddhivinayakaay Sarvakaryakartrey Sarvavighanprashamnay Sarvarjya Vashyakarnaay Sarvajan Sarvastree Purushakarshanaay Shreeng Om Swaha.”

This mantra is known as the Siddhi Vinayaka mantra. As the name suggests it brings in Siddhi which is spiritual prosperity. It is believed to bring the devotee peace and spiritual happiness if recited 108 times every day.
The mantras stated above are some of the most popular mantras not just with the devotees but also the priests. These are recited particularly on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi and (or) otherwise.

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Aum or Om is the sound of divinity in Hinduism. According to the Katha Upanishads (I) whoever recites and believes in this syllable gets what they desire. Aum acts as a support for those who want to accomplish and fulfil their desires. It is a sacred symbol that represents Brahman. It is considered the supreme symbol in Hinduism. It is considered the source of the universe. It is incomprehensible, omnipotent and omnipresent. Alternatively Aum is called Pranava, one which pervades life. According to Madukya Upanishad, Aum is the eternal syllable which encompasses the history, the present and the prospect.

Aum is the primal sound which, like music, transcends boundaries and language. It is the primordial language that everyone can understand. It is a combination of three Sanskrit words, Aa, Au and Ma, which combine to give the sound Aum. “aa” signifies the beginning of the universe, “Au” represents the life period and “Ma” signifies the destruction of the universe. Therefore Aum signifies the three acts of Gods that complete the circle of life. It is believed to be the source of all sounds on earth and is considered a prayer in itself. The sound resonates throughout the body and is believed to stir the Atman (or the soul). The holy book of Hindus, the Bhagavadh Gita, urges devotees to utter the sound with the thought of God. Once someone does that they supposedly reach the state of nirvana.

Aum is believed to project the mind beyond the obvious, to the abstract. Aum helps in not just visioning but also contemplating the inexpressible. It also constitutes all that is substantial and material. This duality to the syllable makes it encompass all that there is and that can be. During meditation the utterance of Aum attunes oneself to the universe.

Aum has four planes of existence. “A” the physical plane constitutes the wake state of the mind. “U” the astral plane constitutes the dream state of mind. “M” the casual state constitutes the dream less state of mind. The fourth plane is the unspoken sound referred to as Turiya. Turiya constitutes the enlightened state.

Though Aum is omnipresent and omnipotent in nature, it is identified with Lord Ganesha. One of the 108 names of Ganesha is Omkara which literally means’ like Aum’. The name is coined because Lord Ganesha’s body looks like the symbol Aum (in Devanagari and the Tamil script) when viewed from the side.

Recitation of the syllable Aum brings prosperity and peace. It is also believed to bring intelligence and spiritual progress which eventually leads to enlightenment.

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Let us find out in some greater detail about the Various Lord Ganesha Artefacts.  Many stories float about the origin of Ganesha’s head but little is known about the artefacts that Lord Ganesha carries. It is considered inauspicious to sculpt Ganesha’s idol with two hands. There are representations of Lord Ganesha with two hands in ancient literature. Generally he is shown with four or more hands. The four armed Ganesha came into existence in the Gupta period (5th to 7th century). Ganesha carries artefacts each of which holds a symbolic meaning.

Most common representation of Lord Ganesha shows him with four hands. Hence the popular artefacts that he holds are the lotus (a closed lotus), the axe, the modaka and the rope. The stories of their origin make for interesting anecdotes. The physical appearance of Lord Ganesha is described in the Ganesh Upanishads. Traditional scriptures describe Ganesha with four arms and the four artefacts.

The lotus was given to Lord Ganesha by Brahma. When Ganesha ate the demon to save the earth and the celestial beings, he could not bear the heat in his stomach. The lotus was given to him to soothe his pain and anxiety. It is hence representative to spiritual awakening and triumph over evil.

The axe comes from Lord Ganesha’s father Shiva. It was given to Lord Ganesha as a gift from his father. Ganesha holds the axe in his upper right hand. Ganesha being the king of Shaiva deity (king of Lord Shiva’s devotees) was vested with the axe that belongs to Lord Shiva. Another popular story of the origin of the axe is after the encounter of Lord Ganesha with Parshurama (avatar of Lord Vishnu. One day Parshurama was going to pay a visit to Lord Shiva. Not knowing Parshurama, Lord Ganesha asked for his introduction before allowing him to go further. This agitated Parshurama and in his anger he hurled his axe (which was a gift from Lord Shiva) towards Lord Ganesha. Ganesha recognized the axe and out of respect got struck by it. The axe is hence symbolic to the respect Ganesha holds for his father. Incidentally this is how Lord Ganesha also got his tusk broken, that he holds in one of his hands.

The modaka is Ganesha’s favourite sweet. It was given to him as a prize by his mother Parvati after he won a race with his brother Skanda. When the Devas came to Shiva and Parvati with a divine sweet claiming that the one who consumes it shall have all the knowledge and wisdom of the world, Parvati was in a fix. She told her sons to encircle the earth and the one to do it fastest shall win. Ganesha simply encircled his parents and said that they constituted the world for him. The display of wisdom won Ganesha the modakam.

The rope is alternatively represented with a snake. On his birthday Ganesha stuffed himself with sweets and his belly grew bigger. He got on to his mouse and during his travel, fell on the ground. The contents of the stomach came out and to hold them Ganesha tied the snake in his belly. He is shown carrying the snake/rope in his hand in his idols sometimes.

The origin of the main artefacts tells the story of Ganesha’s triumph on vices and also his humility. It is hence enlightening to know them.

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Lord Ganesha is one of the Hindu deities who have a global appeal. This happened because of trade and commercial aspects that involved exchange of ideas and materials.

Particularly worshipped by traders and merchants in approximately the 10th century, this deity was worshipped by this union despite their religion. One of the earliest inscription and statue of Ganesha belongs to this period. The ‘Jainas’ belonged to the trader’s clan and hence Lord Ganesha is worshipped by this religious community as well.   Apart from trading, migration also contributed to the popularity of Lord Ganesha in other cultures. Hindus migrated to the Malay Archipelago and took Lord Ganesha with them.  The Malay Archipelago has many statues of Lord Ganesha along with Lord Shiva. The migration of Hindus created a new culture that has a few aspects of Hinduism but is also unique. The religious texts or the literature does not support the worship of Lord Ganesha. No references of Lord Ganesha in the scriptures of Jainism exist. Lord Ganesha is still worshiped by Jainas and he also has characteristics of Kubera for this particular religious sect. Images of Lord Ganesha also appear in some old temples of the Jainas in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Ganesha appears in Mahayana Buddhism. In the Buddhist religion he is known as Vinayaka. Buddhist sculptures dating back to 5th century (the Gupta period) depict him as one of their Gods. The idol representation of the Buddhist God Vinayaka is often shown dancing. This form is also called ‘Nratta Ganapati’.  Ganesha’s form Nratta Ganapti also became popular in Tibet and Nepal. In Nepal, Lord Ganesha is popularly known as Heramba. The idol of Heramba has five heads and has the lion as his vehicle. ‘Tshogs Bdag’ is the Tibetan representation of Lord Ganesha. The Tibetan religion has ambivalent views on Ganesha. Some depictions of Lord Ganesha in Tibet show him being destroyed by the deity Mahakala (similar to Lord Shiva) while; others show him as a destroyer of obstacles. The idol is shown as dancing. In China and Japan evidence of Lord Ganesha’s idols are seen having regional quality.

Buddhism is also prevalent in Thailand, Burma and Cambodia. Hinduism and Buddhism were practiced simultaneously in these regions resulting in the interspersing of the two cultures. The resultant culture created a modified version of Lord Ganesha in all these countries. This can also be seen in Java, Bali and Borneo. Lord Ganesha (or the modified visual representation of Lord Ganesha) is believed to be the remover of obstacles in these regions as well.
In modern times Lord Ganesha is worshiped by other communities in India as well. Some “Sikhs” worship Lord Ganesha for the virtues he represents. It is the universal appeal and teachings of this deity that attract people from other religions as well. Evidence supports the worship of Lord Ganesha by Jainas and Buddhists across the world but Lord Ganesha is worshiped as per the Hindu definitions of his existence across borders.

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World, as we know it, is a collection of organism made from a compilation of molecules. These molecules in Sanskrit are known as “Ganas”. The name Ganesh hence means the Lord of all Ganas.

Several idols of Ganesha exist all over the world. These depictions may vary in different countries but each one holds a meaning. Many craftsmen have worked meticulously on the details of the idols. The details not just lie in the artifacts or the features of Lord Ganesha, but also the positions he rests in. Every position of rest has a symbolic meaning associated to it.

The sitting posture may be seen mounted on high platform. The throne is called a ‘Pitha’. Lord Ganesha is also depicted sitting on a lotus flower. The posture in which Lord Ganesha sits on a lotus is known as the “Padma Asan” in yoga. Typically Lord Ganesha is seen with one leg up and right leg hanging on the ground.

The leg on the ground symbolizes Lord Ganesha’s connect with worldly affairs. The left leg bent backwards indicates meditation. This posture hence denotes a perfect balance between attaining spirituality and taking care of his duties. Though several other forms of sitting postures of Lord Ganesha exist, their symbolic meaning is contested by specialists in each case.

Of the standing postures of Lord Ganesha static as well as dynamic postures of the deity exist. In the static posture Ganesha is shown standing, with one foot on the ground and the other slightly raised and supported by his vehicle, the rat. Although the standing posture has been associated to having a rigid attitude, it also depicts determination and strength of the mind. The dynamic posture on where Lord Ganesha is shown dancing denotes celebration by Lord Ganesha on defeating demons. This is reminiscent of the time when Lord Krishna (another Hindu deity) defeated the serpent Kaliya and danced on his head. The Brahmavaivarta-Purana indeed states that Lord Ganesha is an incarnation of Krishna. The “Linga Purana” was written after Ganesha successfully defeated demons to save earth. The dance is also an emulation of his father- Shiva. This posture has been depicted in paintings in the medieval period and is also found in Thailand and Sri Lanka.

The lying Ganesha is more so a modern representation. The other positions of Ganesha date back to 5th and 7th century and have been depicted in paintings. Statues made of bronze exist from this period that depicts Ganesha in the lying down position. The resting position is often associated with content. According to the Vedas, Ganesha is the one who maintains the balance of life. Although Lord Vishnu created earth by breathing into the water of life, Ganesha maintains the balance of life by doing the same. However, these parallels are contested by scholars as the interpretation of Ganesha lying down is more modern.

In his essence, Ganesha holds many meanings. It is not just his countenance or the artifacts but also his resting positions that symbolically mean something.

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The mother of Lord Ganesha, Parvati is also known as Gauri or Shakti. She is considered the most powerful Goddess in the Hindu religion. All the other goddesses are considered either avatars of Parvati or manifestations of her. Her famous and most worshipped incarnations include Durga, Kali and Chandi.

Parvati is the daughter of the king of Himalayas and the second wife of Lord Shiva. She is a reincarnation of Lord Shiva’s first wife- Shakti. Legend has it that after Shakti killed herself; Shiva went on a destruction rampage. He destroyed those responsible for Shakti’s death and then went to the Himalayas to meditate. On insistence of Narada, the king of Himalayas- Himavan, ordered his daughter Parvati to take care of Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati fell in love with Shiva. With Manmatha’s help, Shiva fell in love with her. With Shiva, Parvati is depicted with two arms but when alone her idol is shown with four to eight arms. Her vehicle is the tiger or the lion.

The name Parvati literally means “She of the mountains” (since she is the daughter of Himavan). She is also known as Shailaja, Haimavathi and Shailaputri, which mean the same. According to the Durga Saptashati, Parvati has 108 names. The Lalita sahasranama lists over 1,000 names of Parvati. The contradictory names Parvati is known with Uma (the fair one) and Kali (the dark one) reflects her birth as Shakti and subsequent re-birth as Parvati. The opposite colours also depict the opposing nature of Parvati. One form of her is the placid and patient Uma while the other form, Kali, is capable of donning the destructive hat to remove obstacles.

Since Shakti was the goddess of power, Goddess Parvati also shares the attribute. She is the physical manifestation of Adi Parashakti. It is this quality that makes her omnipresent among all beings. Whether it is gods, the animals or the humans, power is necessary. She is worshipped by even the holy trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva).
There is no explicit mention of Parvati in the Vedic texts or a dedicated scripture for her. There is a mention of Parvati in the Kena Upanishad, the Puranas and the poems of Kalidasa.

Parvati is also the mother of one of the most powerful and important deities in the Hindu religion, Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha may be the son of Shiva and Parvati but the Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana and the Mudgala Purana, credit the birth of Lord Ganesha to Parvati only. Lord Ganesha was created by Parvati out of turmeric paste to guard the gates while she took a bath. After spending considerable time with the boy she got attached to him and considered Lord Ganesha as her son. After Ganesha was beheaded by his father it is believed that Parvati turned to Kali in her anger. It was because of her wrath that Shiva resurrected Lord Ganesha by giving him the head of an elephant. Ganesha is also known as Umaputra (Son of Uma) and Heramba (mother’s beloved).

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Ganesha and his wivesThe marital status of Ganesha has been under discussion for long. He is known as the leader of the Brahman, after his father Lord Shiva instated the title on him. In some paintings and idols Lord Ganesha is depicted with his wives or consorts. Some devotees of Lord Ganesha believe that the female companions depicted in the paintings and statues are not his consorts but his servants or dasi. Another theory is that the qualities of Ganesha (intellect, wisdom and prosperity) are often personified as women who are shown with him. These differences in theories can be explained on the basis of regional diversity. The belief of Ganesha being unmarried is popular in the southern region of India while the concept of his wives holds ground in the northern region.

The scriptures dedicated to Lord Ganesha (the Mudgala Purana and the Ganesha Purana) contain descriptions of Lord Ganesha with his wives. The story cites that Lord Ganesha expressed the desire to get married. His parents, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, searched the universe for a bride for Lord Ganesha. No woman agreed to marry Lord Ganesha because of the head of an elephant. This made Lord Ganesha very upset. Finally Lord Shiva and Parvati went to Lord Brahma for a solution. Lord Brahma along with Lord Ganesha performed a ‘yagya’. At the end of the ‘yagya’, Brahma created Siddhi and Riddhi and called them his daughters. Lord Brahma asked Lord Ganesha to marry them.

The Shiva Purana also mentions Riddhi and Siddhi as Lord Ganesha’s wives. The story of the marriage is different from the story given in the former scripture. According to the Shiva Purana, Skanda (brother of Ganesha) and Ganesha desired to marry the beautiful daughters of king Prajapati. They were asked to compete in a race if they wished to marry Riddhi and Siddhi. The race was to encircle the world thrice and the one to do it in the least time would win. Skanda hopped on his vehicle, the peacock, and set out while Lord Ganesha stood up and went aounr his parents three times. On being asked why he had done so, Lord Ganesha answered that his world constituted of his parents. Impressed with the wisdom and the clever approach to win the race, Prajapati gave the hand of Riddhi and Siddhi to Ganesha. The Shiva Purana further mentions the birth of Kshema and Labha, sons of Ganesha.

Riddhi is interchangeably called Buddhi, though some texts mention Buddhi separately. Scholars believe that these female characters are nothing but shaktis of Lord Ganesha. In Hinduism every divine being consists of male and female avatars. While Vinayaki is the female avatar of Lord Ganesha, it is believed that Riddhi and Siddhi are also the same.

Siddhi means spiritual power and Riddhi denotes prosperity. On the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi or any occasion involving praying of Lord Ganesha, it is important to invoke Riddhi and Siddhi as well. Although prosperity and spiritual power are qualities of Lord Ganesha, it is only after invoking the names of his wives that these qualities come to the devotees.

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