Indian Mythology

The Mahabharata

Who is Ganesha?

Ganesha, or Ganapati, the elephant-headed god, is worshipped by many Hindus, especially Ganapatyas, whose devotion is directed specifically to him as their major deity. The Brhaddharma Purana tells the story of Ganesha’s birth. Pārvatī, Shiva’s wife, wanted a child, but the ascetic-yogi Shiva saw no need of creating descendants. Finally he agreed to his wife’s desire for a baby but maintained a distance from the conception process. He instructed her to tear off a piece of her dress and to use that as the agent of conception. When the baby was born into Pārvatī’s hand while she was taking a bath, Shiva became jealous of it and decapitated the child. Later, feeling remorse and giving in to Pārvatī’s threats against creation itself, Shiva arranged for a new head to be placed on the boy. The head was that of an elephant. Ganesha is the god who provides wealth and success.


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