Ganesha is the elephant-headed deity riding a mouse. Ganesha is the son of Shiva and Parvati, and is the Lord of success and the destroyer of obstacles and evil. Ganesha is one of five prime Hindu deities – Brahma, Vishnu, Durga and Shiva being the other four.
Lord Ganesha is worshiped in many households and businesses alike, as it is believed Lord Ganesha removes any obstacles at the start of every new venture. So at the beginning of the day, the start of a new adventure, a business partnership, a marriage… Lord Ganesha is there the remove the obstacles.
The origin of Lord Ganesha is quite interesting, and goes something like this…
[box] Once, while Lord Shiva was away from his home, his consort Parvati created a child with her own powers. Parvati gave him the name ‘Vinayak‘, and he was a very obedient child. He took care to follow his mothers wishes exactly. In one instance, Parvati was preparing to take a bath and instructed Vinayak not to allow anyone through the door. While guarding the front door, Shiva arrived home. Neither were acquainted with the other, and when Vinayak refused Shiva entry, Shiva became furious and a fight ensued, resulting in the beheading of Vinayak. Upon seeing the death of her son, Parvati wept bitterly. Shiva, becoming aware that he beheaded his own son, sought to revive Vinayak and set out to find the first sleeping creature that crossed his path. Shiva returned with the head of an elephant and placed it on the boy’s body, rejuvenating him. Shiva and Parvati blessed their son, saying: “You shall be the first god to be worshiped in all meritorious deeds. Those who fail to worship you on auspicious occasions shall not be successful…”[/box]
Lord Ganesha is celebrated by all Hindus, and even spreads beyond Hinduism into Buddhism, Jainism, in China, Japan and pretty much worldwide. Read about Ganesh Chaturthi to learn more about the festival that celebrates Lord Ganesha.
Learn how to pray to Lord Ganesha here.