Ganesha is India's cutest god. He has the head of an elephant on which is perched a dainty tiara. Four podgy hands are joined to a sizeable belly with each hand holding its own symbolic object. One has a trishul, or a trident, the second, an ankush, or goad made from his very own broken tooth. The third hand elegantly holds a lotus. The fourth has a rosary (which is sometimes replaced by modaks, his favourite sweet) The devotees of Ganesha are known as 'Ganapatyas', and the festival to celebrate and glorify him is called Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganesha's head symbolises the Aatma or the soul. It is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence. His human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom. The trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad. It helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha's left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties. The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice. It is said he broke it for writing the Mahabharata. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he hears all our prayers and requests. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. He is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse. His Head
The story of the birth of this deity is depicted in the Shiva Purana. It goes like this: One morning goddess Parvati was going to take bath. There was nobody to guard the door. She created a boy out of the dirt of her body. She assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access. He struck off the boy's head...
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