Who is Lord Ganesha in Hinduism?

Who is Lord Ganesha in Hinduism? August 31, 2015

Answer by Enakshi Ganguly:

Ganesha is usually depicted colored red; he is pot bellied, has one tusk broken, and has four arms that may hold a pasam, a goad, and a pot of rice, or sweetmeats. The sweet meats are held in a type of bowl known as laddus.

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His appetite for these sweets is legendary and offerings of them are often left at his shrine.  A pasam or noose is a triple twine weapon. Each of the three twines represent: 1. Arrogance and conceit, 2. Maya – the illusory nature of the real world, and 3. Ignorance. Goads (or elephant prods) are typically used to direct elephants. Goads are symbolic of how one should steer the soul away from the ignorance and illusions of this earthly world just as a mahout would steer an elephant away from any treacherous path.

In Hindu ideology weapons are a viewed as symbolic tools to destroy the ego rather than to cause any type of bloodshed. Ganesh’s characteristic pot belly is usually bound around with a cobra. The cobra is an animal usually associated with Shiva, a reminder that Ganesh is his son.

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