Ganesha, also known as Ganapati, Vinayaka, Pillaiyar and Binayak, is one of the best-known and most worshiped of Hindu Gods. His image is found throughout India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Nepal. Hindu denominations worship him regardless of affiliations. Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and extends even to Jains and Buddhists. Although he is known by many attributes, Ganesha’s elephant head makes him easy to identify. Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. As the god of beginnings, he is honoured at the start of rites and ceremonies. Ganesha is also invoked as patron of letters and learning during writing sessions. Ganesha is identified with the Hindu mantra Aum, also spelled Om. The term oṃkārasvarūpa (Aum is his form),
Father : Lord Shiva
Mother : Lordess Parvathi Devi
Brother : Lord Skanda
Consort : Siddhi and Buddhi
Vahana : Bandicoot rat
Festivals : Ganesha Chaturthi
Beej Mantra : Gum
Moola Mantra : Aum Gum Ganapathaye Namaha
Chakra : Mooladhara
Though Ganesha is popularly held to be the son of Shiva and Parvati, the Puranic myths give different versions about his birth. In some he was created by Parvati, in another he was created by Shiva and Parvati, in another he appeared mysteriously and was discovered by Shiva and Parvati or he was born from the elephant-headed goddess Malini after she drank Parvati’s bath water that had been thrown in the river.
The family includes his brother, the god of war, Kartikeya, who is also called Skanda and Murugan. Regional differences dictate the order of their births. In northern India, Skanda is generally said to be the elder, while in the south, Ganesha is considered the firstborn. In northern India, Skanda was an important martial deity from about 500 BCE to about 600 CE, after which worship of him declined significantly.
Ganesha’s marital status, the subject of considerable scholarly review, varies widely in mythological stories. One pattern of myths identifies Ganesha as an unmarried Brahmachari. This view is common in southern India and parts of northern India. Another pattern associates him with the concepts of Buddhi (intellect), Siddhi (spiritual power), these qualities are sometimes personified as goddesses, said to be Ganesha’s wives.
This festival is marked with the installation of Ganesha clay idols privately in homes, or publicly on elaborate pandals (temporary stages). Observations include chanting of Vedic hymns and Hindu texts such as Ganapati Upanishad, prayers and vrata (fasting). Offerings and Prasada from the daily prayers, that is distributed from the pandal to the community, include sweets such as modaka believed to be a favourite of the elephant-headed deity. The festival ends on the tenth day after the start, wherein the idol is carried in a public procession with music and group chanting, then immersed in a nearby water body such as a river or ocean, thereafter the clay idol dissolves and Ganesha is believed to return to Mount Kailash to Parvati and Shiva.
32 forms of Ganapathi
atha dvātriṁshad gaṇapatInāṁ dhyānaṁ || mudgalapurāṇe ||
|tatra bālagaṇapati dhyānaṁ|
karasthakadalīcūta | panasekṣucamodakaṁ | bālasūryanibhaṁ vaṁde ||
devaṁ bālagaṇādhipaṁ || 1 || raktavarṇaḥAdorned with a garland of tender flowers, having plantain (banana), mango, jack fruit, sugarcane and sweets (modaka) in His hands and who is effulgent like the rising sun (red color).
|atha taruṇagaṇapati dhyānaṁ || mudgalapurāṇe |||
svadaṁtaśālīkṣumapi svahastaiḥ |
dhatte sadāyastaruṇāruṇābhaḥ |
pāyātsa yuṣmāṁstaruṇogaṇeshaḥ || 2 || raktavarṇaḥ“Carrying in His hands the noose, hook, rice-cake , guava fruit, rose apple, own (broken) tusk, bunch of corn ears (paddy) and sugarcane and who vividly shines forth with His brilliant youthfulness” (Red Color).(According to the Mudgala Purana version, kadubu – an edible specific to Lord Ganapati is mentioned instead of rice-cake).
“Devotee (Devotion) Ganapati”
|atha bhakta gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE |nArikELAmrakadaLI ||
bhajE bhaktagaNAdhipaM ||3|| shvEtavarNaHDescribed as “ the Lord of His devotees and who shines like the autumn moon, with coconut, mango, plantain (banana), jaggery and sweets in his hands.” (White Colour)
|atha vIragaNapatidhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||bhEtALashaktisharakAr^mukacakraKaDga ||
shUlaM ca kuMtaparashuM dhvajamudvahaMtaM |
vIraM gaNEshamaruNaM satataM smarAmi ||4 || rakatavarNaH“Armed with Bhetala, the weapon of power(shakti), arrow, bow, wheel(Chakra or discus), sword, club, hammer, mace, hook, nagapasha (serpent noose), spear, plough, and the shining axe.” (Red Colur).(According to the Mudgala Purana version, flag is mentioned instead of plough).
The “Powerful” Ganapati
|atha shakti gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||AliMgya dEvIM haritAMgayaShTiM ||
saMdhyAruNaM pAshasRuNI vahaMtaM |He is red in colour. He has four arms. His low right hand shows the movement of lack of fear (abhaya); the two others wear the elephant goad and the noose; the last hand, who holds a lemon, embraces the goddess. With the top of his trunk, Shakti Ganapati holds a cake.
“Ganapati the Twice-Born”
|atha dvijagaNapatidhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||yaM pustukAkShaguNadaMDakamaMDala shrIvidyOtamAnakarabhUShaNa miMduvarNaM ||
tvAM yaH smarEddvijagaNAdhipatE sadhanyaH ||6|| shubhravarNaHHe has four heads and four arms. He is white in colour. His hands hold the rosary, the washing pot (kamandalu), the walking-stick of an ascetic or the ritual spoon (sruk) and the manuscript on palm-leaves (pustaka).
Ganapati bestowing success(Siddhi)
|atha siddha gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||pakvacUtaPalapuShpamaMjarI ||
udvahanvarashumastu tE namashrI samRuddhiyutahEmapiMgaLa ||7|| piMgaLavarNaHFond of the sesame cake. He has four arms. He is golden in colour. His hands hold the axe, the noose, the sugar-cane stem and the mango.
“Ganapati devouring the remnants of the meal”
|atha uCiShTa gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE |||
gaNEshaH pAtu mEcakaH |graMthAMtare |nArIyOnirasAsvada |
lOlupaM kAmamOhitamiti ||8|| nIlavarNaHHe has six arms. He is blue in colour. His hands show the rosary, the pomegranate, the paddy ear (shalyagra), the nocturnal lotus, the lute (vîna); his sixth hand sometimes bears a guñja berry, embraces the goddess. The Ucchista Ganapati trunk is placed on the goddess’s thigh.
Ganapati – “Lord of Obstacles”
|atha viGna gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||shaMKEkShucApakusumEShukuThArapAsha ||
pANishritaiH parisamIhitabhUShaNashrI |
viGnEshvarO vijayatE tapanIyagaura H || 9 || svarNavarNaHHe has eight arms. He is golden in colour. His hands hold the single tusk, the disc, the arrow-flowers, the hatchet, the conch, the sugar-cane stem, the noose, the elephant goad. With the tip of his trunk, he carries a bunch of flowers (pushapamañjari)
“Ganapati who is easy to Appease”
|atha kShipra gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||daMtakalpalatApAsha ||
dhyAyEtkShipragaNAdhipaM ||10|| raktavarNaHHe has four arms. He is red in colour. His hands show the single tusk, the elephant goad, the creeper of the votive tree (kalpalatâ), the noose. With the end of his trunk, he carries the stone cup full of precious stones (ratnakumbha).
“Mother’s Beloved Son” Ganapati
|atha hEraMba gaNapatidhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||abhayavaradahastaM pAshadaMtAkShamAlAsRuNiparashudadhAnaM mudgaraM mOdakaM ca ||
PalamadhigatasiMhaH paMcamAtaMgavaktrO |
gaNapatiratigauraH pAtu hEraMbanAmA || 11 || gauravarNaHThe five-headed Ganapati riding the lion. He has ten arms. He is dark in colour. His first hand shows the movement of lack of fear (abhaya), the others hold the rosary, the citron, the club, the elephant goad, the noose, the axe, the kadabu cake, the single tusk; his tenth hand shows the movement which bestows boons (varada).
“Ganapati the Fortunate”
|atha lakShmI gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||bibhrANashshukabIjapUrakamiLanmANikyakuMbhAMkushA ||
npApAshaM kalpalatAM ca KaDgavilasajjyOtissudhAnirJaraH |
shyAmEnAttasarOruhENa sahitaM dEvI dvayaM cAMtike |
gaurAMgo varadAnahastasahito lakShmIgaNEshovatAt || 12 || gauravarNaHEmbracing his wives Siddhi (Achievement) and Buddhi (Wisdom). He is white (fair) in colour. He has eight arms. His hands hold a pomegranate, a sword, the creeper of the votive tree, the elephant goad, the parrot, the noose, the jewel pot; his eighth hand bestows boons (varada).
“The Great Ganapati”
|atha mahA gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE||hastIMdrAnanamiMducUDamaruNaCAyaM triNEtraM rasAdAshliShTaM priyayA sapadmakarayA svAMkastayA saMtataM||
vrIhyagrasvaviShANaratnakalashAnhastair^vahaMtaM bhajE ||13|| raktavarNaHWith a shakti, He has ten hands. He is red in colour. His hands hold the single tusk, the pomegranate, the club, the sugar-cane bow, the disc, the conch, the noose, the nocturnal lotus, the paddy ear, the jewels pot.
“Ganapati the Victorious”
|atha vijaya gaNapati dhyAnaM ||mudgalapurANE ||pAshAMkushasvadaMtAmraPalavAnAKuvAhanaH viGnaM nihaMtu nassarvaM ||
raktavarNO vinAyakaH ||14 || raktavarNaHRiding a rat which trots at a smart pace, He has four arms. He is red in colour. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the noose and the mango.
“Ganapati the Dancer”
|atha nRutta gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||pAshAMkushApUpakuThAradaMta caMcatkarAkluptavarAMguLIyakaM ||
pItaprabhaM kalpatarOradhastAM |
bhajAmi nRuttOpapadaM gaNEshaM || 15 || pItavarNaHDancing under the boon-tree, He has four arms. He is golden in colour. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the noose, the axe (parashu) or the hatchet (kuthâra). The dhyâna sloka specifies that one of the four hands can show a cake apûpa.
“The Elevated Ganapati”
|atha UrdhvagaNapatidhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||kalhArashAlikamalEkShukacApabANa ||
AliMganOdyatakarO haritAMgayaShTyA |
dEvyA karOtu shubhamUrdhvagaNAdhipomE ||16|| kanakavarNaHSeated with his Shakti on his left thigh, He has eight arms. He is golden in colour. His hands hold the single tusk, the arrow-flower, the daylight lotus, the blue lily (kalhara), the sugar-cane bow, the paddy ear, the club; his last hand claps the goddess. The extremity of his trunk is rolled around the right breast of the goddess.
Ganapati identified with “Single Syllable”(gaṃ).
|atha EkAkShara gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||raktO raktAMgarAgAMshukakusumayutastuMdilashcaMdramauLe ||
nesatraiyusaktastribhirvAmanakaracaraNo bIjapUraM dadhAnaH |
hastAgrakluptapAshAMkusharadavaradO nAgavaktrOhibhUShO |
dEvaH padmAsanasthO bhavatu suKakarO bhUtaye viGnarAjaH ||17|| raktavarNaHHe has four arms. He is red in colour. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the noose and the cake modaka. Sometimes, he wears, with the extremity of his trunk (bîjapûra).
The “Boon-giver” Ganapati
|atha vara gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||siMdUrAbhamibhAnanaM triNayanaM hastE ca pAshAMkushau ||
bibhrANaM madhumatka pAlamanishaM sAdhviMdumauLiM bhajE ||
puShTyAshliShTatanuM dhvajAgrakarayA padmOllasaddhastayA |
tadyOnyAhitapANimAttavasumatpAtrOllasatpuShkaraM ||18|| raktavaraNaHWith a shakti seated on his left thigh, He has four arms. He is red in colour. His first three hands hold the elephant goad, the skull filled with liquor (madhumatkapâla) and the noose. The fourth hand creeps between the thighs of the goddess who holds a lotus and a banner.
Lord “of the Three-letters A+U+M” Ganapati
|atha tryakSha gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||gajEMdravadanaM sAkShAccalatkarNaM sacAmaraM ||
hEmavarNaM caturbAhuM |
pAshAMkushadharaM varaM |
svadaMtaM dakShiNE hastE |
savyE tvAmraPalaM tathA |
puShkarE mOdakaM caiva |
dhArayaMtaH manusmarEt ||19|| svarNavarNaHHe has four arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the noose and the mango. He holds the cake modaka with the trunk end.
|Kshirpra Prasāda Gaṇapati|
Ganapati the “Quick-Rewarder”
|atha kShipraprasAda gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||dhRutapAshAMkushakalpalatAsvaradashca bIjapUrayutaH ||
shashishakalakalitamaulistrilOcanO ruNashca gajavadanaH |
bhUsurabhUShadIptO bRuhadudaraH padma viShvarollasitaH |
viGnapayOdharapavanaH karadhRutakamalassadAstu mE bhUtyai ||20|| aruNavarNaHHe has six arms. He is red in colour. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the lotus, the creeper of the votive tree (kalpalatâ), the noose, the lemon.
“The curcuma-colored Ganapati”.
|atha haridrA gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE||haridrAbhaM caturbAhuM ||
haridrAvadanaM prabhuM |
pAshAMkushadharaM dEvaM |
mOdakaM daMtamEva ca |
vaMdE viGnavinAshanaM ||21|| haridrAvarNaHHe has four arms. He is yellow in colour. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the noose and the cake modaka
“The Single Tusked Ganapati”.
|atha EkadaMta gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE|laMbOdaraM shyAmatanuM gaNEshaM ||
kuThAramakSha srajamUrdhva gAtraM |
salaDDukaM daMtamadhaH karAbhyAM |
vAmEtarAbhyAM ca dadhAnamIDE ||22|| shyAmavarNaHHe has four arms. He is blue in colour. His hands hold a large tusk, a rosary, a hatchet (kuthâra) and the small ball of sweets (laddu).
“Ganapati the Creator”,
|atha sRuShTi gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE||pAshAMkushasvadaMtAmra||
ssRuShTi dakShOvinAyakaH ||23|| raktavarNaHRiding a big rat, He is red in colour. He has four arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the noose and the mango.
“Ganapati the Unchained”,
|atha uddaMDa gaNapati dhyAnaM ||mudgalapurANE ||kalhArAMbuja bIjapUraka gadAdaMtEkShucApaM sumaM ||
bibhrANO maNikuMbhashAli kalashau pAshaM sRuNiM cAbjakaM |
gaurAMgyA rucirAraviMda karayA dEvyA samAliMgita |
shshoNAMgashshubhamAtanOtu bhajatA muddaMDaviGnEshvaraH ||24|| raktavarNaHWith his Shakti seated on his left thigh, He has twelve arms. He is red in colour. His hands hold the single tusk, the club, the nocturnal lotus, the noose, the paddy ear, the elephant goad, the washing pot (kamandalu), the sugar-cane bow, the disc, the daylight lotus, the conch and the pomegranate. His trunk is placed on the top of the goddesse’s breast or, sometimes, maintains a jewels pot (manikumbha).
“Ganapati the liberator from depts”
|atha RuNamOcana gaNapat idhyAnaM ||mudgalapurANE||pAshAMkushau daMtajaMbU ||
dadhAnaH sphaTikaprabhaH |
raktAMshukO gaNapati |
rmudE syAdRuNamOcakaH ||25|| shvEtavarNaHGanapati seated on a large lotus with his Shakti. He removes the impediment. He has four arms. He is white in colour. His first hand show the movement to bestow boons (varada) ; the three others hold the elephant goad, the noose and the bowl of sugared rice (pâyasapâtra).
“The Ganapati Sought After”
|dhuMDi gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||akShamAlAM kuThAraM ca ||
ratnapAtraM svadaMtakaM |
dhattE karairviGnarAjO |
dhuMDinAmA mudestu naH ||26|| aucityAdraktavarNaHHe has four arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the rosary (rudrAkSha), the hatchet (kuthâra) (an axe ) and the pot of jewels (ratnapâtra). (Red Color).
|atha dvimuKa gaNapati dhyAnaM | mudgalapurANE |svadaMtapAshAMkusharatnapAtraM ||
karairdadhAnO harinIlagAtraH |
ratnAMshukO ratnakirITamAlI |
bhUtyai sadA bhavatu mE dvimuKO gaNEshaH | hasuruvarNaHHe holds in his hands his own tusk, a noose, a hook and a pot full of gems. His body complexion is greenish blue and he is wearing a red colored robe. A gem studded crown embellishes his head.
|atha trimuKagaNapatidhyAnaM | mudgalapurANe |shrUmattIkShNa shiKAMkushAkSha varadAndakShE dadhAnaH karaiH ||
pAshaMcAmRuta pUrNakuMbhamabhayaM vAmE dadhAnO mudA |
pIThE svarNamayAraviMda vilasatsatkarNikA bhAsure |
svAsInastrimuKaH palAsharucirO nAgAnanaH pAtu naH | raktavarNa |He has six arms. He carries in two of his right hands very sharp elephant goad, a rudrâksha rosary and is holding another hand in boon bestowing gesture (varada). He carries in two of his left hands a noose, an urn full of celestial nectar (amruta) – ambrosia pot (amritakumbha) and is holding another hand in gesture of bestowing fearlessness (abhaya). He is seated on shining golden throne with lotus in the center. He has three eyes with elephantine face and he effulgent like the flame of forest flower (bastard teak/butea frondosa). (Red color).
“The Lion Ganapati”.
|atha siMha gaNapati dhyAnaM | mudgalapurANE |vINAM kalpalatAmariM ca varadA dakShE vidhattE karai|
vAsamE tAmarasaM ca ratnakalashaM sanmaMjarIM cAbhayaM |
shuMDAdaMDalasanmRugEMdravadanaM shaMKEMdugaurashshubhO |
dIvyadratnanibhAMshukOgaNapatiH pAyadapAyatsa naH ||29|| shvEtavar^NaHHe has eight arms. He is white in colour He is holding in his right hands a vîna (Indian lute), a creeper of votive tree – kalpavRukSha ( Tree which can cure all diseases), a discus and another held in a gesture of granting boons (varada). He is holding in his left hands a lotus, a pot of gems, a flower bunch and another held in a gesture of granting fearlessness (abahaya). He is lion faced with an elephant trunk and shining. His body is shining like a white conch and moon. He is wearing a gem studded shining robe.
“Ganapati the Ascetic”.
|atha yOga gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANe ||yOgArUDhO yOgapaTTAbhirAmO||
pAyAnnityaZM yOgaviGnEshvarOnaH ||30|| raktavarNaHHe has four arms. He is red in colour. His legs are surrounded with the meditation girdle (yogapatta). He is engrossed in yoga and is strapped in a yoga posture. He looks beautiful and shines like the rising morning sun. He is adorned with a colored robe which is shining like blue sapphire. His hands hold the rosary, the elbow-rest or the walking-stick (a yoga wand), the noose and the sugar-cane stalk.
“Ganapati the Invincible”
|atha durgA gaNApati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE |||
latAM jaMbUMdadhatkaraiH raktAMshukassadAbhUyA ddurgAgaNapatirmudE ||31|| kanakavarNaHHis body glows like burnished gold (Golden Color). He has eight hands and massive body. He is holding a shining hook (Ankush), an Arrow, a rosary and a tusk with the four hands on the right side. He is holding a noose, a bow, a wish bestowing creeper and Rose Apple (Eugenia Jambolana) with the four hands on the left side. He is dressed in red clothes.(According to another version, the Arrow is replaced by a noose)
“Ganapati – Dispeller of Troubles”.
|atha saMkaTahara gaNapati dhyAnaM || mudgalapurANE ||bAlArkAruNakAMtirvAmEbAlAMvahannaMkE ||
gaurAMgIM ratnashObhADhyAM |
pIThE padmAruNE tiShThan |
saMkaTaharaNaH pAyAtsaMkaTapUgEdgajAnanO nityaM ||32|| raktavarNaHHe has four arms. He is effulgent like the rising red sun (Red in Color). He has his wife (shakti) – who is carrying a beautiful lotus, glowing with radiance and bejeweled – sitting on his left lap. He is carrying in one of his right hand a hook (Ankusha) and with the other bestowing boon(varada). He is carrying in one of his left hand a rope(noose) and with the other a vessel brimming with sweet soup (Payasam). He is seated on a Red Lotus and wearing a blue robe.(According to another version, the varada gesture and vessel of Payasam is replaced by the broken tusk and the rose-apple fruit.)