Meet A God: Ganesha

Ganesha, I think it is safe to say, is the most beloved of all Hindu Gods and Goddesses. He is loved by everyone who comes into contact with him, whether Hindu or not. Ganesha is known as the remover of obstacles and so he is usually the very first God you will pray to no matter the circumstance.

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It’s easy to find a lot of information about Ganesha, from stories to images.  Here are some sites with a lot of stories about Ganesh:

There are several explanations for how Ganesha came to have an elephant’s head. In all of them, he started out all human (often crafted by Parvati out of clay). In some versions Shiva cuts off his head in anger, in others just the sight of Shiva causes his head to explode. Shiva saves the child’s life by giving him the head of a nearby elephant instead.

My favorite story is the one where Ganesha and his brother have a contest to see who can race around the world the fastest (the brother being in much better physical shape than Ganesha, he is certain that he will win). While the brother rushes off, Ganesha slowly walks around his parents: Shiva and Parvati. In some versions he declares that his parents are his whole world. He is declared the winner. This story illustrates how Ganesha finds creative solutions to problems.

Here are some verses to sing for Lord Ganesh YouTube Preview Image

My friend, Jeramy, though he is an atheist, still has this bumper sticker:

I think in my house I have at least six images of Lord Ganesh!

More information on Ganesha including how he is worshiped at my subscription-based blog


About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • shree

    Ganesha (Pillaiyaar as he is also known in south india) is indeed the most beloved. The around the world story i like the most is when the race in itself is a divine act, perpetrated by lord Shiva using the sage narada.

    As his brother rushes to go around the world , Ganesh calmly asks the sage present, what is the meaning of Ammaiyappan (Lord Shiva and Parvati together). The sage replies Ammaiyappan means the world ( meaning that the world would not be present without Shiva and Parvati).

    And Ganesh replies,correct so wouldn’t it be true if i go around my parents, Ammaiyappan, who are the reason the world itself exists, it would be the same as going around the world.The sage agrees, and we all know the rest of the story:)

  • Drekfletch

    I don’t have anything to add, really. Praises to the Lord of Categories.

    Here is my Ganeshe statue:

    I bought it because my grandmother had one, and we always used it for our breakfast milk when I went over as a child. When I was gathering the animal figures I had randomly accumulated, it was made clear to me that this was Him, and not just an elephant.

  • ela singh

    Amba there is serial coming on Life O.K. channel-Devon ke dev Mahadev. The episodes are given on you tube. Watch from december 18th 2011 onwards. It is too good and India’s current heart throb. You can also visit India forum abt it. But first u will have to be a member. Watch it Ambaa.