Who is Ganesha?
You may have seen this elephant headed deity in books, magazines, on websites, on malas and jewelry.
But who is this Ganesha really? And why have so many been called to work with him?
The Story of Ganesha
Ganesha was a mythological figure said to be the son of Shiva and Parvati. Parvati was said to have created her son Ganesha from the Earth (some say sandalwood!) by molding it into the shape of a boy.
Shiva was out wandering and meditating while she did so. Parvati asked her son to guard the door while she bathed and to not allow anyone to enter while he stood guard.
Later that day, Shiva returned home to find this unknown boy refusing to let him in his home. He was outraged to find this boy claiming to be Parvati's son and, in a fury, set his gang of demons (Bhutaganas) after Ganesha.
Ganesha surprisingly holds his own against the fearsome demons and only by the help of Vishnu, who came in the form of Maya and distracted Ganesha, could Shiva then lop off Ganesha's head.
Parvati emerged from her bath after hearing the commotion and reprimanded Shiva for killing her son.
To make amends, Shiva ordered a new head to be found for him and they used the closest animal they could find, an elephant!
This is how Ganesha got his his elephant head!
Ganesha is often called the "Remover of Obstacles." He is generally depicted with his elephant head and a portly body with numerous symbolic objects. One of which is an elephant goad, which symbolizes his ability to overcome and master obstacles.
He is also depicted with a rat as well. This is another type of symbol that represents his agility in getting around difficult situations.
For those who are inspired by Ganesha, he is said to assist in helping you overcome your obstacles both spiritual and physical, as well as bless new business ventures.
He is also associated with wisdom and safe travels.
I love using Ganesha in many of my designs and always have him on an altar nearby to remind me of my own power and perseverance!