Monday, August 29, 2011

GANESHA WORSHIP—ORIGIN AND POPULARITY

GANESHA WORSHIP—ORIGIN AND POPULARITY


(DISCOURSE BY N.R. SRINIVASAN—JULY 2011)


 

Among the many deities worshipped by the Hindus, Lord Ganesha has in some ways a pride of place. It is not that he is considered to be superior to the great Lords Shiva and Vishnu or the Goddesses, but he has a special place in the affection of the people and no worship of any kind or of any other deity can begin without an initial worship to Ganesha, among whose many names is Vighneshwara, remover of obstacles.


 

Hindu civilization, with its belief, "Ekam Sat, vipraha bahuda vadanti" (the great God is one, the learned call Him by different names), adopted and assimilated the religious beliefs of all tribes and peoples with whom the early vedic people came into contact. Each of these groups had its own gods and beliefs. The Srutis were purely for intellectually evolved persons and aimed at the attainment of Brahman through spiritual enlightenment and Jnana Yoga or the path of knowledge and wisdom. The masses were however depended on stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata, as also from plethora of legends and stories recounted in the various Puranas.


 

The Puranas, much later in age than the Vedas and Upanishads, are revelations of Rishis, who conveyed their messages to the masses in an understandable and acceptable form. All the Puranas are attributed to Sage Vyasa, but as they have been compiled in different periods, it is plausible that they were compiled by different sages but attributed to Vyasa, the most respected of them all. Puranas teach the truths and beliefs of the religion in the simplest ways possible, leaving a lasting image in the minds of adults and children. Myriads of gods and goddesses of the various local tribes and peoples, not mentioned in the Vedas, Smritis or the Epics, found place in the Puranas, however emphasizing that, ultimately, all gods and divinities are but different aspects of the one Brahman, the Supreme, or His manifestation as one of the Trinity.


 

Ganesha in other forms was known as early as 1200 B.C. and was apparently worshipped by several sects in different parts of the country. However, images of this deity are only rarely and infrequently seen in arts and sculpture till the fourth century A.D.


 

Ganapathi was a folk deity of various pre-vedic and Tantric sects. Ganapatya sect was very powerful and wide-spread and the great philosopher Adisankara himself gave them importance by including this sect as one of the six systems (shanmatas) of Hindu worship of personal God. The absorption of Ganesha was achieved through legends and stories in the various Puranas which abound in stories of Ganesha. Although most of the Puranas and Upa-puranas have incidents from the life of Ganesha, the main legends are in the Shiva Purana, Linga Purana, Brahmavaivarta Purana, Skanda Purana, Varaha Purana, Matsya Purana and Padma Purana as well as the two Upa-puranas, the Ganesha Purana and Mudgala Purana.


 

Readers of the Puranas are often confused by different stories regarding the origin of Ganesha, as they appear contradictory. The Shivapurana explains this away stating that Ganesha originated in different ways in the different yugas, each time for a different purpose.


 

Scholars and devotees through the ages have felt that the Puranas have actually belittled the importance of Ganesha by the various legends attached to his birth.


 

To philosophers, Ganesha represents OM, the symbol of the Brahman, the sound from which the World emanated. Ganesha is also the embodiment of Vaak, the Word and Kumaara, the other son of Shiva and Paarvati symbolizes 'action'. The letter OM" in Samskrit and in Tamil as written inthje respective languages symbolizes the divine sound "OM" called Pranava and according to Ganapatya the elephant head and the curved trunk of Ganesha.


 

The earliest reference to the name Ganapati as the "Lord of the Ganas" is in connection with deities other than Ganesha himself Brihaspati is addressed as "ganaanaam tvaa ganapatim havaamahe" in Rigveda. However, as in several other cases, the description is transferred to Indra, on another occasion, when he is also addressed as Ganapati. The Taittareeya Aranyaka refers to Dantin, who has a twisted trunk (Vakratunda) and who holds a sheaf of corn, a sugar cane and a club. In later literature, the Ganaas are short, hardy spirits, a sort of Yaksha and the Lord of Ganas could mean the lord of host of spirits.


 

It is unlikely that Ganapati of Rigveda was the elephant-headed God. Firstly, there is no reference in Rigveda to the elephant, which is too large an animal to miss. Secondly, Brihaspati and Indra are referred to as Ganapati in the sense of "Lord of Ganas" or group leader. The root gana means to count or to list countless ones, either an epithet for the countless spirits inherent in the material world or Devas themselves.


 

It is Mahabharata legend which describes the earliest form of the elephant-headed god, as we know. Excavations carried out in Western Iran revealed a plaque containing an elephant headed figure. This plaque has been dated between 1200 and 1000 B.C., corresponding to later vedic period in India, just preceding the period of Taittireeya Aranyaka. This also corresponds to the date of the Mahabharata war, which date is disputed by some recently. Vedic people celebrated nature, the rain, the wind, waters, the sun and the stars. There is little or no veneration of other elements. Even the cow is cherished for its economic value rather than for her qualities. It is thus most unlikely that 'Dantin' originated with vedic civilization.


 

History of certain indigenous people of India is replete with instances of animal and tree worship. The snakes (nagas) and peepul (Aswattha) tree are, after Ganesha, the most popular. Every tribe has its totem and non-vedic deities like Kartikeya, and Devi, that are invariably associated with animals like peacock and lion. Vedic Indra, Varuna and Sun were given animal vehicles later. Dantin himself appears in Taittareeya Aranyaka, compiled long after Rigveda, the earliest work.
By this time, non-vedic deities had crept into the Rig-veda, and, Ganesha was one such instance.


 

Words like 'pallu' and 'pella' in Dravidian languages signify 'teeth'. The Tamil name for Ganesha "Pillaiyar" came to mean the "noble child", but this is a later development. The earlier meaning was obviously the tusked one from Pallu or Dantin. In Pali language 'pallika' meant a young elephant. The name Dantin is probably the original Samskrit name of the Deity.


 

The rise in popularity of Ganesha along with Shiva and Vishnu coincides with the decline of Buddhism. The importance of Ganapati in the post-Buddhist Hindu Renaissance is affirmed by the fact that Mahaayaana Buddhism believed that the 'Ganapati Hridaya Mantra' was taught to Aananda by Buddha himself.


 

The Yajnavalkya Samhita mentions that a Vinaayaka was the son of Ambika. This text does not identify the elephant-headed deity, but this was done later. This identification was the beginning of a confused mythology about the origin of Ganesha, his elephant head and his association with Shiva and Parvati, a mythology required for integrating him with the official religion.


 

To sum up, the elephant headed God, worshipped as a scribe and a harvest deity was the deity of the Nagas. He combined within him the qualities of the elephant, strength and wisdom, and the qualities of the spirits of the other world. As the lord of the wise, he was their scribe. As the head of the farmers, he protected their fields from rats and ensured a good harvest.


 

His earliest avatara was as a scribe of the Naga tribes. His worship moved southwards, some- where in the course of Indian history, where the farmers, particularly sugarcane growers, venerated him for good harvest. His destruction of their enemy, the rat, gave the rodent a position beneath him or his foot. To satisfy the elephant's teeth, his devotees gave him the sugarcane in one hand and sweet in another.


 

By the Gupta period, an age of Hindu Renaissance and consolidation, the integration of his various associations was complete and Ganesha Sampradaya(worship) became very popular. Later, Adi Sankara listed Ganapatya as one of the "Shanmata" or the six paths of the Hindu worship. At the end of his Digvijaya Yatra and after establishing four Mathas (monasteries) to propagate his philosophy of Advaita, Sankara felt the needs of the untutored devout hearts. He established a new system of worship for their guidance. He grouped all the Gods and Goddesses under six main streams of worship. They are Shaiva (worship of Shiva), Vaishnava (worship of Vishnu), Shakti (worship of Shakti, Mother Goddess), Saurya (worship of Surya, the Sun God), Ganapatya (worship of Ganesha or Ganapati) and Kaumarya (worship of Kumara also known as Murugan or Subramanya). Murugan was well known as a Hill God in the South. Sankara taught that these six bhakti-darshanas or paths of prayer are not in conflict but are for the choice of the worshipper striving to reach the Supreme. He did not destroy any existing belief but brought order into the Hindu fold in a form which did not exist earlier.


 

Later Upa Puranas promoted Ganapatya with greater force identifying Ganesha with Brahman. Ganapatya believes that OM or the Pranava Mantra as the symbol of Ganesha. He is the first word "Vaak", the first Cause.


 

With the sound of OM resounding through the Universe, Ganesha appeared against the light of the first dawn blowing the conch through which the sound of OM had emanated. He came in the form Nritya Ganapati, dancing in great abandon, swirling, whirling and his movements beyond human understanding. He called the Trinity and asked them to create and preserve the world and destroy the evils in it. But they were confused as to what they should do and how to do it? Ganesha told them that he was the Universe itself and swallowed them and asked them to see all the worlds reflected inside him and to meditate on them.


 

Brahma even then realized that he was unable to create the world or other beings in it as they should be created. Ganesha appeared before him and chastised him, saying that he was not able to achieve the role given to him as he had not first meditated on Ganapathi nor on the symbol of God, OM which Ganesha symbilised. Brahma then meditated on Ganapathi who asked the Goddesses Siddhi and Buddhi to help Brahma. And with their help the Universe in all its beauty came into being. The Gods and all the world rejoiced and sang:


 

Oh! Praise is to thee, Oh Ganapathi, Thou art the Ultimate Reality, the One Truth. Thou art Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, Rudra-Shiva, The Destroyer, The Supreme Brahman, the Manifest Spirit.

The Universe is born from Thee. The elements earth, water, fire, air and ether are manifest in Thee.

We meditate on Thy countenance; enlighten therefore our powers of understanding.

Thou art the eternal Brahman, OM!

Thus according to Ganapathya was the present Universe was created and with it the present age, Swetavaraha Kalpa dawned.


 

Mudgala Purana also mentions of several avataras of Lord Ganapathi like Dasavatara.These avataras also signified great symbolism, which is a significant feature in Ganapathya. These are:

  1. To conquer the demon of lust, Kaamaasura, Ganesha was born as Vikala.
  2. To vanquish Krodhaasura, he incarnated as Lambhodara.
  3. To subdue the demon of inflation and delusion, he assumed the form of Mahodara.
  4. To subdue the demon of avarice and greed, Lobhaasura he is born as Gajaanana.
  5. To subdue the demon of vanity, Madaasura, he was born as Ekadanta.
  6. To subdue the demon of attachment and desire, he was born as Vighnaraaja riding Sesha, the celestial serpent.
  7. For the conquest of the demon of egostic pride, Abhimaanaasura, the role of Dhoomravarna was taken.
  8. To subdue the demon personifying envy and jealousy, Matsara, the role of Vakratunda was taken riding on a lion.


 

Ganapathya is vigorously followed by the Tamil and Marathi speaking people. Seeing the powerful trend of Ganapathya Matha, the Tamil speaking Vaishnavites introduced also in their worship 'Vishwaksena' called 'Tumbikkai Aazhwar' adding to the list of Twelve Azhwars, the Vaishnavite saints. He is also invoked as the first deity before commencing any form of worship. Tumbikkai in Tamil means the trunk of an elephant.


 

In Maharashtra where Ganapathya is vigorously followed, there are eight important Ganesha shrines, the Ashtavinayakas. These eight forms of Ganesha are believed to be "Svaayambhu", self emerged and not made by man:

  1. Ganesha riding on a peacock—Mayureshwar who is believed to have destroyed the demon Sindhu.
  2. Chintaamani, at Theur close to Pune. Ganesha is believed to have got back the prescious Chintaamani jewel from the greedy Guna for sage Kapila at this spot.
  3. Mahaaganapati at Ranjangaon. The legend here refers to Shiva worshipping Ganesha before fighting the demon Tripuraasura.
  4. Sidddhivinayak at Siddhatek. It was here Vishnu was reminded to pray to Ganesha before his fight with Madhu and Kaitabha. By doing so, he achieved success or Siddhi. This icon has a right-hand turned trunk.
  5. Vignahara or Vighneshwara at Ojahar—a form taken by Ganesha to destroy the demon named Vighnaasura created by Indra.
  6. Girijaatmaja at Lenyadri, son of Girija or Parvati.It is believed that Parvati performed penance here to beget Ganapati as her son.
  7. Ballaaleshwar at Pali near the Bombay-Goa road where Ganesha saved his devotee, a boy Ballal who was beaten up by villagers for his single minded worship of Ganapati
  8. Varadavinayak at Mahad near Khopoli, the giver of bounty and success. A lamp, Nandaadeep is kept permanently lighted here and has been burning since 1892.


 

Mudgala Purana and Ganesha Purana have glorified Ganapathi as the Ultimate Realityand have mentioned many forms of Ganesha images. The former mentions 32 forms befitting the various roles taken by the God:

1) Bala Ganapathi—beloved child 2) Taruna Ganapathi—youthful Ganesha 3) Bhakti Ganapathi 4) Veera Ganapathi 5) Shakti Ganapathi 6) Dwija Ganapathi—the Twice Born 7) Siddhi Ganapathi—achievement 8) Ucchhishta Ganapathi—a tantric deity 9) Vighna Ganapathi—creator of obstacles of for the evil 10) Kshipra Ganapathi—quick acting 11) Heramba Ganapathi—protector of the weak 12) Lakshmi Ganapathi—giver of wealth 13) Mahaa Ganapathi—the great one 14) Vijaya Ganpathi—the giver of success 15) Nritya Ganapathi—the happy dancer 16) Urdhva Ganapathi—tantric God 17) Ekaakshara Ganapathi—of the single syllable Gum 18) Vara Ganapathi 19)) Trayakshara Ganapathi—of the three letters AUM 20) Kshipra Prasada Ganapathi—who promptly rewards 21) Haridra Ganapathi-golden 22) Ekadanta Ganapathi—one tusked 23)Shrishti Ganapathi—the creator 24) Uddanda Ganapathi—punisher of evil 25) Rinamochana Ganapathi—who releases humanity from bondage 26) Dhundi Ganapathi—of Kasi 27) Dwimukha Ganapathi—two faced 28) Trimukha Ganapathi—three faced 29) Simha Ganapathi—riding a lion 30)Yoga Ganapathi—the great Yogi 31) Durga Ganapathi—the savior 32) Sankatahara Ganapathi—remover of sorrow.


 

The worship of divinity through images and icons is part of Bhaktiyoga. Bhakti itself has two aspects—Para and Apara. In Para Bhakti, the higher stage, the devotee is connected with love for his Ishta-devata, his personal deity. He is intoxicated by the love. He performs no rituals but through Ekaanta-bhakti or single minded devotion, he sees his Ishta-devata everywhere. Saints and mystics are part of this form of Bhakti and they ultimately become one with Divinity. The other aspect followed by the majority is Apara Bhakti where the devotee chooses a personal deity called his Ishta-devata, to whom he offers worship and in whose name he performs rituals. Intoxicated by Para and Apara bhaktimargas, upa-puraanas created conflicting mythologies contradicting the major Puraanas, which were either written by Sage Vedavyasa, or attributed to him with reverence as the author, who codified Vedas and presented them to humanity.


 

There are several attributes of Ganesha that are used in different Ganesha iconography and images: 1. Paasa—noose 2) Ankusha—elephant goad 3. Broken- tusk 4. Goblin 5. Shakti weapon 6. Arrow 7. Bowl 8. Chakra—discus 9. Knife 10. Shield 11. Large hammer 12. Gada —mace 13. Serpent 14. Trident 15. Pick-axe 16. Battle axe 17. Banner 18. Stick 19. Kamandalu—worship vessel 20. Axe 21. Bow of sugarcane 22. Shanka—conch 23. Flower arrow 24. Prayer beads 25. Fly-whisk fan 26. Sword 27. Fire 28. Veena 29. Lotus 30. Bowl of modaka-sweet balls 31. Sheaf of paddy 32. Book 33. Coca-nut 34. Flower garland 35. Kalpataru (divine) tree 36. Bowl of paayasam—pudding 37. Moolaka—radish 38. Fruits favored by Ganesha—banana, pine-apple, rose apple, wood apple, pomegranate and mango.


 

Legends of Ganesha are many and varied. Birth of Ganesha is attributed to Shiva as mind born (not womb born) as well as to Parvati as mind born (not womb born).

  1. At the request of Devas Shiva created a glowing figure of a child with the head of a powerful elephant and trident in one hand, to protect them from demons.
  2. In another Purana, Parvati annoyed at the creation of Ganesha without her consent, willed that the head should be turned to that of an elephant.
  3. Ganesha created by Parvati at the time of her going for a bath, cut off by angry Shiva and later replaced by elephant head by Brahma and Vishnu.
  4. Parvati's longing for a child is fulfilled by Shiva. The beautiful child faces Saturn and its head shatters, then replaced by an elephant head.
  5. Parvati created Ganesha out of the perspiration that came off her body. She then lowered the child to Ganga. The large effulgent child that grows is called "Dwaimaatura", the son of two mothers.
  6. The two Upa Puranas treat Ganapathi as the Great God himself, to whom even Trinity pay obeisance and ask for his help to save world from evil.


 


Why Ganesha has a broken tusk?


 

  1. Parasurama hot tempered at all times, struck Ganesha's tusk when Ganesha, refused admission to Shiva's chambers in Mount Kailasa which he was guarding, with his axe Parasu.
  2. Ganesha broke his tusk himself in war with demon Gajamukha, whom he cursed as he was invincible by the vow granted by Shiva and used him as his vehicle, transforming him to a rat.
  3. In another story Ganesha's rat was really the Gandharva, Krauncha, who insulted sage Vamadeva. He was turned into a large rat after being hit by his broken tusk. The rat was made his vehicle and kept under control while caught in the act of sabotaging the Ashrama of Paarashra as a rat.
  4. The most interesting story concerning Ganesha is the belief that he was the scribe who wrote the Mahabharata dictated by sage Vedavyasa. He broke his tusk and used it as a stylus for etching on bilva patra, bark sheet of paper.
  5. Ganesha threw his broken tusk at the moon, cursing him, while moon made fun of him when he tripped from his vehicle after a heavy meal at Kubera's, which made a scar in moon's face.


 


 

Other Stories


 

  1. Ganesha in his right wisdom, selected right place for the origin of river Kaveri and left the Kamandalu (holy water vessel) at the spot, given by sage Agastya.
  2. Ravana was prevented from being invincible as he could not carry the Linga to Lanka which was temporarily left in the possession of Ganesha (at Gokarna). Ganesha rolled Ravana into a ball and threw him into the sky and played with him to subdue him.
  3. Ganesh's appetite could not be appeased even with a grand dinner at Kubera's, but a handful of beaten rice from his father did the trick.

4. Ganesha stayed single for many years as none could find an equal to the lovely Uma.The Gods are still searching and so Ganesha is bachelor even to this day.


 

5. Ganesha won a race against his brother Kumara circumambulating his parents three times, who then married him to the daughters of Vishwaroopa, Siddhi (Achievement of Success) and Buddhi (Wisdom). In some mythologies Ganesha is married to Siddhi and Buddhi.


 

Symbolism


 

  1. His huge body symbolizes the Cosmos or the Universe. Ganesha in the form of Viswaroopa shows his body covers the whole Universe. This shows the importance of this deity who is the Universe itself.
  2. Elephant's head is symbolic of auspiciousness, strength and intellectual prowess. The elephant is the largest and strongest animal of the forest. Yet, a gentle and amazingly, a vegetarian so that he does not kill to eat. He is very affectionate and loyal to his keeper. Ganesha, though a powerful deity, is loving and forgiving and moved by the affection of his devotees. Ganesha's large head is symbolic of the wisdom. It can destroy the whole forest with its trunk and can even pick up a needle with it. His large ears, like the winnow, sift the bad from the good, and the essential Truths are conveyed to his worshippers. His large ears also point to the Vedic thoughts and ideas that can be learnt only when listened to at the feet of a guru.
  3. Devanagari script OM is believed to resemble the elephant and his extended trunk ( ). Similarly the Tamil OM ( ) has the appearance of an elephant's head and hanging trunk. Ganesha himself is believed to be the embodiment of OM and the curved trunk (Vakratunda) is symbolic of Pranava.     The trunk of an elephant has the unique capacity of performing both gross and subtle activities. So Ganesha'a intellect penetrates the realms of the material and spiritual worlds. That is the state which man must aspire for. Ganesha breaking the tusk to fight with a demon or to write Mahabharata signifies the great sacrifice which Divine Beings make for helping mankind.
  4. The huge belly signifies that Ganesha swallows the sorrows of the Universe and protects the world. A man of perfection can consume and digest whatever experiences he undergoes. Figuratively, he is represented as being able to stomach and digest all types of experiences. The awkward and corpulent body of Ganesha is symbolic that the beauty of the outward form has no connection with inner beauty and spiritual perfection.
  5. The mouse symbolizes the petty desires of man which nibbles away at their personalities and their inner selves. Beside the food the tiny rat is looking up towards Ganesha. The rat is the greediest of all animals and represents desire. The rat looking up therefore denotes that the desires in a perfect man are absolutely under control.


 

  1. All deities are symbolically given several arms and hands. Only the natural arms (the two in front) are found in "action" poses such as the abhaya (protection) mudra and varada (boon giving) mudra. The other hands symbolize the different attributes of the deity, and the various roles taken by the deity. Ganesha is normally shown with one hand in the abhaya pose and the second holding a modaka sweet, symbolic of the sweetness of the realized inner self. In the two hands behind he holds ankusa (goad) and paasa (noose). The noose is to convey that worldly attachments and desires are a noose. The goad is to prod the man to the path of righteousness. He sometimes holds broken tusk in the hand, symbolic of knowledge and erudition. Equally important to Ganesha is the sugarcane a favorite elephant's food. Eternal Truth is outwardly hard of attainment, but once reached, the inner layers are infinitely sweet, as sweet as the sugarcane.


 

  1. Ganesha is shown with other attributes depending on the roles taken by him in various avataras with various weapons used against various demons of evil. Other attributes seen in his hands in more peaceful roles are a banner, prayer vessel, pot of nectar, pot of gems, prayer beads, flower garland, fly whisk, veena, fruits of various kinds, a sheaf of grain, a bunch of flowers, the lotus, radish, book, Kalpa vriksha tree and others. The veena is symbolic of Nada-brahman, the music and rhythm of the cosmos. The lotus is a symbol of purity. Ganesh's four arms represent four inner equipments –buddhi, manas, ahankara and chitta (intellect, mind, ego and conditioned consciousness)


 

  1. Ganesha is sometimes shown with three eyes. The two front eyes symbolize the power of Surya, the sun and Chandra, the moon. The third eye is believed to be symbolic Agni, the powerful God of Fire. It is located at the seat of wisdom, the center of the forehead.


 

  1. Ganesha sometimes wears a crescent moon on his head. Symbolically this crescent without blemishes (3rd day) leads human beings to attain pure knowledge and spiritual enlightenment.


 

  1. The snake worn around Gnaesha's stomach is symbolic of cosmic energy. It is sometimes worn by him as sacred thread, across his left shoulder.


 

Every aspect and role of Ganesha has meanings and interpretations by which wisdom of this great God is conveyed to his devotees in easiest way by way of symbols and messages.


 

Ganesha in many lands


 

Hindu culture based on the multifaceted Hindu religion has quietly spread beyond the geographical boundaries of India. This Hindu cultural impact is evident from the popularity of Ganapatya in many lands. Ganesha icons and images were seen and found in many lands from the beginning of the first millennium.


 

Afghanistan—Two images of Ganesha have been found in this century, a) one at Gardez (belonging to the 6th century A.D. b) another at Sakar Dhar near Kabul (4th centuryA.D.)


 

Bali & Java—Saivism made its first appearance in Java around 4th century A.D. The oldest image of Ganesha has been found in Dieng Plateu.


 

Borneo—Images of Ganesha discovered date back to 5th century A.D.


 

Cambodia (Kampuchia)—Temple of Ganesha exists even now.


 

Campa (South Annan, Vietnam)—a four armed standing Ganesha has been discovered at the temple site of Mison (5th century A.D.)


 

China—Ganesha pictures have been discovered on wooden panels and frescoes in Khotan in West China.


 

Malaysia—Archaeologists have found the relief of Ganesha image, belonging to the 7th century A.D.


 

Mangolia—Images of Nritya Ganapathi has been found.


 

Iran—Plaque containing an elephant headed figure was discovered in the excavations carried out in Western Iran dating back between 1200 & 1000 B.C.


 

Mexico—Images of Ganesha have been found in many places along with the images of other Hindu Gods.


 

Nepal—Ganesha Temple at Zimpi Tandu (800 A.D.) is quite famous.


 

Peru—Aztecs of Central Mexico, Incas of Peru and Mayas of Yucatan worshipped Indra and Ganesha.


 

Sumatra—In Sungve Batu, a temple with Ganesha images has been found.


 

Thailand--Archaeological discoveries at Prah Pathom and Pong Tak include a bronze image of Ganapathi (6th century A.D.)


 

Pakistan—Harappan site has an elephant headed composite image. Luristan plate has an elephant headed composite image that holds a quill in one hand while a snake slithers at his feet.


 

India—In an Amaravati copying there is a pot bellied elephant headed figure below a long garland held by ganas.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

This lecture has been prepared by N.R.Srinivasan by extracting, abridging and editing texts from the following sources:


 

  1. Shakuntala Jagannathan, Hinduism, Vakils, Feffer and Simons Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, India
  2. Shakuntala Jagannathan& Nandini, Ganesha, Feffer and Simons Pvt. Ltd.,Mumbai, India.
  3. Ed. Viswanathan, Am I a Hindu? Rupa & Co., New Delhi, India.
  4. A. Parthasarathy, Symbolism of Hindu Gods and Rituals, Vedanta Life Institute, Mumbai, India.
  5. Viswam, Sanatana Dharma, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, Mumbai, India.