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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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Posted in Ganesha Iconography | Tagged , , , |

Lord Ganesha has a special place in Hindu mythology. He is the God of wisdom, literature and the remover of various hindrances inbal ganesha our lives. When the believers find themselves in a fix that seems insurmountable simply remembering the name of this deity can smoothen the path. Ganesh is the son of Lord Shiva and Devi Pārbati. There are numerous legends related to his birth and childhood. He has had many conquests over evil from the very beginning. These childhood tales gives us a glimpse into the formative years of this omnipotent deity.

The birth of Ganesh has really an interesting anecdote. It has been said that Goddess Pārbati formed her son one day from the dirt on her body prior to going to a bath. She ordered him to stand on guard at the door and stop any intruder from coming in whoever they may be. From the very beginning his mother was the whole world to Ganesha. Being an obedient son he stood guard with all the zeal of a young boy. Now it so happened that Lord Shiva the husband of Devi Pārbati chose that very moment to come and meet his wife.

While he was entering the abode, the little watchman stopped him. Quite naturally the mighty lord was amazed and quite amused at the same time. After all such a puny being with his defiant gaze and completely no nonsense attitude was a sight to behold. Not recognizing his own son whom the goddess formed in his absence, Lord Shiva tried all the known and unknown tactics to budge the boy from this place. However all this was to no avail.

The love of the boy for his mother simply knew no bounds. He continued to guard this post which all the zealousness of a young one. His only aim was to protect the bath of his mother from any intrusion.  Not only Lord Shiva but a number of other deities including the remaining two of the triumvirate Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu also came to make the boy see reason. However all this was to no avail. The little kid simply could not be moved from his place. Now the rage of Shiva is legendary and when cajoling and even threat did not work, that ire flared up and the boy was beheaded by the all-powerful lord.

When Pārbati came to know about the outcome of her valiant soldier quite naturally she became inconsolable. Shiva himself was extremely regretful that in venting his anger he has killed his own son. In order to appease the Devi and get his brave boy back, the omnipotent God decided to restore life into the headless body. Emissaries were sent to bring a suitable head which could be attached to the torso. Ultimately an elephant head was brought back which found a place on the body of Ganesh and this defiant boy came back to life.

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Posted in Ganesha Stories | Popular Stories About Ganesha | Tagged , , , |
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