Lord Ganesha, Ganapati or Vinayaka


by Jayaram V

Ganesha is one of the most popular gods of contemporary Hinduism. His popularity is very closely associated with the rise of Nationalism in India during the British period. In modern history, he played an important role in uniting the people of British India for a common cause in various parts of the country. He still symbolizes the national aspirations of contemporary India. Not only Hindus but also many non-Hindus hold him in esteem. Religious processions have been common in Hinduism since ancient times, but the Ganesha processions and the immersion of Ganesha idols became a distinct and popular religious and cultural activity by itself.

Ganesha goes by many names such as Vinayaka, Ganapati, Eka Danta, Vighneswara, Vighnaraja, Vighnesa, Gajanana, Isa Putra, etc. Many legends are associated with his name and prowess. Archaeological and historical evidence show that he has been worshipped in the Indian subcontinent (and outside) for at least 1500 years or more.

He is part of the Saiva pantheon, the younger son of Shiva, and considered the leader of the gods. Because of that, in traditional Hindu rituals, he invariably receives the first worship and offerings, except when devotees worship Shiva himself. In ancient India, the Ganapatya sect held him in the highest esteem as Brahman himself and considered him the lord of the Universe.

Although he is the son of Parvathi, the personification of Nature (Prakriti), Ganesha defies all the laws of Nature, whether it is his birth, his resurrection, his elephant head, his unusual form, his prowess, his leadership, his vehicle (Vahana), his knowledge and intelligence, his role in Shiva’s destruction and his ability to obstruct as well as facilitate the desires and wishes of his devotees. In this section, for the benefit of our readers we have put together all the information available at Hinduwebsite.com regarding Lord Ganesha. We hope you will enjoy it.

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