Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, is the beloved of every practicing Hindu devotee.
Lord Ganesha is one of the most loved deities in Hinduism. He stands for everything auspicious and holy. No worship is considered complete without offering prayers to him first.
It is interesting to note that his body contains numerous symbolisms, from which his devotees can learn the way to live. Once you understand the meaning behind the imagery of Lord Ganesha, you will know that Lord Ganesha is much more than what meets the eyes. Read on to know more.
Lord Ganesha's Head
It is perhaps the first thing you notice when you look at Lord Ganesha's image - his elephant head. The face of Lord Ganesha is complete with beautiful elephant-like eyes and a long curved trunk. This is symbolic of many things.
• The large head shows us that Lord Ganesha possesses a larger brain than us, mere humans.
• An elephant's Majestic comes not just from its looks, but also from his benevolent nature. It is full of compassion, love and sensitivity; and is also intelligent at the same time. The head of the elephant helps ascribe all these qualities to Lord Ganesha too.
• The strength of an elephant is like none other. It shows that Lord Ganesha is strong in physical aspects as well as in character. He is capable of removing any obstacles from your path.
• The ancient scriptures say that the elephant head of Lord Ganesha reminds us that the truth of the universe cannot be known with the meager senses that we possess. It is beautiful and abstract, something that is unimaginable with the shallow minds of human beings.
The Trunk Of Lord Ganesha
• The trunk of Lord Ganesha is often used to symbolize the holy sound 'OM'.
• If the trunk is pointed to the left side, he is known as Vamamukhi Ganesha. The flow of the energy from the moon is said to be placed on our left side. It provides us with the qualities of tolerance, calmness, creativity and patience. This form is often worshipped in homes.
• If the trunk is pointed to the right, Lord Ganesha is called Dakshinabhimukhi or Siddhi Vinayaka. The right side of our body channels the sun and it brings us moksha and enlightenment.
• According to the Mudgal Purana, a left-sided trunk is indicative of Rajasic qualities and the right-sided trunk indicates the Tamasic qualities. If the trunk is in the middle, it stands for enlightenment or Satwik qualities.
• If the trunk holds sweets, it stands for the comforts and material pleasures of life.
Hands of Lord Ganesha
It is believed that the hands of Lord Ganesha stand for the Hindu philosophy.
• One hand has a lotus in it. This symbolizes the beauty in truth and enlightenment.
• The second hand is armed with a hatchet. It can also be a chakra or a noose. All of these show us that Lord Ganesha is free from all bondage and beliefs.
• The third hand often holds sweets or laddu. This stands for the simple pleasure of wisdom and knowledge.
• The fourth hand is seen to be in the Abhaya mudra. Abhaya mudra stands for the granting of boons or saying that 'be calm for I am there for you'.
• In some depictions of Lord Ganesha, he is seen holding his severed tusk as a pen. This is symbolic of the contribution of Lord Ganesha in the writing of the epic Mahabharata.
The Tusk Of Lord Ganesha
• Lord Ganesha is depicted with only one tusk. The legend says that the other tusk was severed by Lord Parashurama when Lord Ganesha stopped him from visiting Lord Shiva.
• Lord Ganesha is also known as Ekadanta because of his single tusk. Mudgal Purana says that 'ekadanta' stands for the absolute truth of the universal energy and the singularity of nature.
• The trunk also stands for efficiency and adaptability. It teaches us that flexibility is important and that straight and easy paths to success do not exist.
Large Ears Of Lord Ganesha
It is believed that the large ears of Lord Ganesha are to listen to his devotee's pains and prayers. He listens to all of them with patience and then blesses them with what they need and not always with what they want.
The Small Eyes
The small eyes of Lord Ganesha show us that attention and concentration are of utmost importance. Seeing the tiny details is necessary in any subject.
The Small Mouth
Lord Ganesha has large ears and a small mouth. This is to teach us that we must listen more and talk less. Idle talk is never good or beneficial. This will make us wise and intelligent.
The Large Stomach
• The large stomach of Lord Ganesha gave him the name Lambodara.
• It tells us that we must learn to 'digest' or accept everything that comes our way happily and peacefully. Pain, happiness, pleasure, good, bad and suffering should all be the same for a pious being.
• The large stomach also tells us that Lord Ganesha is a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom.
The Trishul On The Forehead
• The Trishul mark on the Lord's forehead is the weapon of choice of Lord Ganesha's father, Lord Shiva.
• It is also symbolic of the fact that Lord Ganesha is the master of time - the past, the present and the future.
Lord Ganesha's Legs
In most images, Lord Ganesha is seen seated with one leg raised on the thigh of his other leg or on his seat. The other leg touches the ground. This is symbolic of the fact that Lord Ganesha is the master of both the spiritual and the physical world.
It also teaches us that as a human being, we should be a part of both the materialistic world and the spiritual world.
Lord Ganesha' Mouse
Most depictions of Lord Ganesha also show his Vahan or vehicle, the mouse. It is believed that worshipping a Ganesha image with the mouse is very beneficial.
• The mouse stands for the desires that we may have. While desires are necessary for a person, one should not let it be the master. Lord Ganesha rides the mouse to show us that we should always have control over our desires.
• The mouse is a creature that can see in the darkness too. As it is the vehicle of choice, it shows us that Lord Ganesha can come to us even in the darkest of times. He shall lead us into the light with the help of his trusty mouse.