Vigneswara is also known as Ganesha, Ganapati, Gajamukha and Veenayaka. According to Indian belief and practices, he is the Patron of education, arts and sciences, and the God of knowledge and wisdom Vigneswara is also famous and worshipped among Jains, and Buddhists.
The one tusk figure of Vigneswara shows a wide variety and is portrayed as sitting down, dancing, standing, and other different poses. His elephant head symbolizes wisdom, understanding, and a discriminating intellect to attain perfection in life. The wide mouth and the large ears of Vigneswara represent the human desire to enjoy life and the great capacity to listen to others. Its trunk represents the power to face ups and downs of the external world.
The two tusks of Vigneswara represent two different aspects. His right tusk symbolizes wisdom and his left tusk symbolizes emotion. His broken left tusk represents the idea to human beings that to attain perfection one must triumph over emotions with wisdom.
Different myths are present behind the elephant head of Vigneswara. According to few stories, he was born with the elephant head while in other stories he obtained it later. However, the most popular story depicts that God Vigneswara was born with a human head and Shiva beheaded him when as a child not recognizing Shiva as his father refused Him to enter. Later Shiva realised his mistake and replaced his head with that of an elephant. In another story, Parvati decided to show her new born baby to other Gods. But when God Shani looked at him, the head burned to ashes because God Shani is believed to have evil eyes. Then God Vishnu replaced the head with that of an elephant.
The number of Vigneswara's arms varies between two and sixteen arms. In most of the idols, Vigneswara feature four arms as a standard form and is often shown riding on a mouse. There are hundreds of famous temples present for Vigneswara in different locations of India such as Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Baidyanath in Bihar, Wai in Maharashtra, Dhundiraj Temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
(Last Updated on : 29-01-2009)
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