Ganesha Essay

4944 Words May 15th, 2012 20 Pages
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Essay Sample
Vinayagar or Ganesha is best known as the God of new beginnings. This aspect of the God can be explained by the stories of his origins. The Padma Purana tells that Ganesha was the son of Shiva and Parvati and was born a perfect and normal child. At Parvati's invitation, the other gods and goddesses came to see the new baby and to bestow their blessings upon him. Unfortunately, Parvati's brother Sani had been cursed by his wife so that if he looked at anyone, that person was reduced to ashes.

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He is often shown holding this broken tusk which symbolizes the sacrifice necessary to acquire wisdom.

Ganesha's four arms demonstrate his onmipresence and omnipotence. The objects held on right side of his body represent the reason which must overcome the emotion represented by those held on the left side. In his upper hands he variously holds a noose, paasam, an elephant goad, ankusha, an axe, and a lotus. The axe and lotus say that one must sever worldly attachments and conquer the emotions to obtain wisdom, while the noose is used to trap illusion. The ankusha is used in India to control elephants and signifies the power to produce movement from intertia and helps Ganesha to remove obstacles in order to propel mankind down the right paths.

In his lower left hand Ganesha may hold a string of beads which symbolizes that pursuit of knowledge is continuous, or a conch shell, shankha. This shell is thought to be lucky and to bring wealth. It is blown before the start of many ceremonies, its sound a symbol of the cosmic universe. The lower right hand is open in the varada mudra, which is an upright hand gesture carrying a blessing, and also means the granting of wishes or boons. This hand may sometimes hold a chakra, a small emblem which is an energy center. Sometimes the lower left hand will be held palm open and pointing down in the abhaya mudra which grants protection and shows fearlessness.

Ganesha wears red and yellow clothing, the red denoting
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