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Ganesh incarnations

Ganesh Incarnations

The four Ganesh incarnations during the Yuga
According to the Ganesha Purâna, four Ganesh incarnations came on earth during the different periods (yuga), in order to fight the devils. They are :

1.Mahotkata with ten arms, seated on a lion, shining like the sun, came during the Krita Yugato kill the demons
Narântak and Devântak

2.Wite-colored Shri Mayureshvar with six arms, riding the peacock, faced the demon Sindhu during the Treta Yuga

3.Red-colored Shri Gajânana with four arms, mounted on his rat, destroyed the demon Sindur during the Dwapara Yuga

4.Dhûmraketu is the form of Ganesh who will come in the future; we are now living in the Kali Yuga. Two-arms and smoke-colored Dhûmraketu will ride on a blue horse; he will fight all the devils to restore peace and harmony in the world.

The eight incarnations of Ganesh 

The Mudgala Purâna, is an eminent scripture dated of the 16 th century. It tells the story of the eight incarnations of Ganesh. Let us describe them in brief :
1.         Vakratunda, “the Lord with the curved trunk”. He is represented seated on a lion. He came to struggle against
the devil Matsara, who is the symbol of jealousy.

2.         Ekadanta, “the Lord who has only one tusk”. exterminated Mada, the demon of drunkeness.

3.         Mahodara, “the Lord who has a big belly”, gives battle to Moha, the demon of illusion.

4.         Gajânana, “the Lord with an elephant face”, put Lobha, the demon of greed, to death .

5.         Lambodara, “the Lord with a protuberant belly”, masters Krodha, the demon of anger.

6.         Vikata, “the misshapen”, subdued Kâma, the demon of desire Ekadanta, Mahodara, Gajânana, Lambodara
and Vikata are represented mounted on a rat.

7.         Under the form of Vighnarâja, “the Lord King of obstacles”, lying on Shasha, the Snake
of Eternity, Ganesh destroyed Mama, the demon of ego.

8.         Finally, the last Ganesh incarnation is Dhûmravarna, “the Lord with a tawny color”, riding a mouse, who got
victory over Ahamkâra, the demon of self-infatuation.

These mythic forms demonstrate that Ganesh has the capacity to reduce all the human weaknesses, such as jealousy, drunkeness, illusion, greed, anger, desire, egotism, self-infatuation (arrogance), which send the devotee away from his path to god. We must notice that the battle against these ennemies of the human being are really the basis of the sadhana for the spiritual seeker. But, for all that, the demons are not definitely destroyed. They are only under control and the spiritual path only allows this result.

The twelve main names of Ganesh  

The Ganesha Purâna, important text of the Gânapatya, gives a list of the twelve main names of the elephant-headed-god. These names must be used before any ritual. They are the following :

1.         Sumukha : “The very graceful Lord”

2.         Ekadanta : “The Lord who has only one tusk”

3.         Kapila : “The Lord of a tawny color”

4.         Gajakarna : “The Lord with elephant ears”

5.         Lambodara : “The Lord with a prominent belly”

6.         Vikata : “The Misshapen”

7.         Vighnanâsaka : “The Lord destroyer of obstacles”

8.         Ganâdhipa : “The Lord Protector of the Gana”

9.         Dhûmraketu : “The Lord of a smoky color” with two arms riding on a blue horse, Ruler of the Kali Yuga

10.       Ganâdhyaksha : “The Minister of the Gana”

11.       Bhâlachandra : “The Lord who wears the moon crescent on his head”

12.       Gajânana : “The Lord with an elephant face”.

We notice that the incarnations 2, 4, 5, 6, are also found in this list.

Of course, in this Purâna, we meet many other Ganesh names. There is also litany of one thousand names of Ganesh…

The twenty one names of Ganesh 

During a pûjâ, offerings of flowers and rice accompany the 21 Ganesh names (eka vishanti nama) as follow :

1.         Vighnarâja : “The King of obstacles”

2.         Gajânana : “The Lord who has an elephant face”

3.         Lambodara : “The Lord with a prominent belly”

4.         Shivatmaja (son of Shiva)

5.         Vakratunda : “The Lord with a twisted trunk”

6.         Supakarna

7.         Ganeshvara : “The Lord of the Gana”

8.         Vighnanashin : “The Destroyer of Obstacles”

9.         Vikata : “The Misshapen”

10.       Vamana : “The Dwarf”

11.       Sarvadeva

12.       Sarvadukhavinâshi

13.       Vighnarhartr : “The Lord who cancels the obstacles”

14.       Dhûmrâja

15.       Sarvadevâdhideva

16.       Ekadanta : “The Lord who has only one tusk”

17.       Krishnapingala : “The blue and dark Lord”

18.       Bhâlachandra : “The Lord who carries the crescent of moon on his head”

19.       Gananâtha : “The supreme Chief of the Gana”

20.       Shankarasunav : “The son of Shankara”

21.       Anangapujita : “The formless Lord”

The thirty two names of Ganesh 

The Srîtattvanidhi is a document written in the 19 th century in Karnataka, under the guidance of the Mysore Mahârâja. It compiles and describes in detail the thirty two main forms of Ganesh.

1.         Bâla Ganapati : “Ganapati the Child”. He has four arms. His hands bear a mango, a small branch of a mango-tree, a stem of sugar-cane and a cake.

2.         Taruna Ganapati : “Ganapati the Teenager”. Her has eight arms. His hands expose the single tusk, the elephant goad, the kapittha fruit, the sugar-cane, the noose, the paddy ear, the apûpa cake.

3.         Bhakta Ganapati : “Ganapati, the Perfect Worshippert”. He has four arms. His hands show a banana, the small branch of a mango-tree, the bowl of sugared rice (payâsapâtra).

4.         Vîra Ganapati : “Ganapati the Hero”. He has sixteen arms. He wears the trident, the vampire, the two-head club, the axe, the arrow, the elephant goad, the sword, the disc, the pestle, the club, the snake, the spear, the banner, the bow, the noose and the small damaru drum.

5.         Shakti Ganapati : “Ganesh embracing the goddess Success; – Pushti”. He has four arms. His low right hand shows the movement of lack of fear (abhaya); the two others wear the elephant goad and the noose; the last hand, who holds a lemon, embraces the goddess. With the top of his trunk, Shakti Ganapati holds a cake.

6.         Ucchista Ganapati : “Ganapati devouring the remnants of the meal”. He has six arms. His hands show the rosary, the pomegranate, the paddy ear (shalyagra), the nocturnal lotus, the lute (vîna) ; his sixth hand sometimes bears a guñja berry, embraces the goddess. The Ucchista Ganapati trunk is placed on the goddesse’s thigh.

7.         Siddhi Ganapati : “Ganapati bestowing success”, fond of the sesame cake. He has four arms. His hands hold the axe, the noose, the sugar-cane stem and the mango.

8.         Dvija Ganapati : “Ganapati the Twice-Born”. He has four heads and four arms. His hands hold the rosary, the washing pot (kamandalu), the walking-stick of an ascetic or the ritual spoon (sruk) and the manuscript on palm-leaves (pustaka).

9.         Vighna Ganapati : “Ganapati removing the obstacles”. He has eight arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the disc, the arrow-flowers, the hatchet, the conch, the sugar-cane stem, the noose, the elephant goad. With the tip of his trunk, he carries a bunch of flowers (pushapamañjari).

10.       Kshipra Ganapati : “Ganapati the Speedyle”. He has four arms. His hands show the single tusk, the elephant goad, the creeper of the votive tree (kalpalatâ), the noose. With the end of his trunk, he carries the stone cup full of precious stones (ratnakumbha).

11.       Heramba Ganapati : “The five-heads Ganapati riding the lion”. He has ten arms. His first hand shows the movement of lack of fear(abhaya), the others hold the rosary, the citron, the club, the elephant goad, the noose, the axe, the kadabu cake, the single tusk; his tenth hand shows the movement which bestows boons (varada).

12.       Lakshmî Ganapati : “Ganapati the Fortunate” embracing his wives Siddhi and Buddhi. He has eight arms. His hands hold a pomegranate, a sword, the the creeper of the votive tree, the elephant goad, the parrot, the noose, the jewels pot; his eighth hand bestows boons (varada).

13.       Mahâganapati : “The Great Ganapati” with the goddess Wealth – Pushti. He has ten hands. His hands hold the single tusk, the pomegranate, the club, the sugar-cane bow, the disc, the conch, the noose, the nocturnal lotus, the paddy ear, the jewels pot.

14.       Vijaya Ganapati : “Ganapati the Victorious”, riding a rat which trots at a smart pace. He has four arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the noose and the mango.

15.       Nrtya Ganapati : “The Dancing Ganapati” under the boon-tree. He has four arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the noose, the axe (parashu) or the hatchet (kuthâra). The dhyâna sloka specifies that one of the four hands can show a cake apûpa.

16.       Ûrdhva Ganapati : “The Rising Ganapati”, seated with his Shakti on his left thigh. He has eight arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the arrow-flower, the daylight lotus, the blue lily (kalhara), the sugar-cane bow, the paddy ear, the club; his last hand claps the goddess. The extremity of his trunk is rolled around the right breast of the goddess.

17.       Vara Ganapati : “The Delightful Ganapati” with the goddess Wealth – Pushti, seated on his left thigh. He has four arms. His first three hands hold the elephant goad, the skull filled with liquor (madhumatkapâla) and the noose. The fourth hand creeps between the thighs of the goddess who holds a lotus and a banner.

18.       Ekâkshara Ganapati : “Ganapati identified with the word OM”. He has four arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the noose and the cake modaka. Somtimes, he wears, with the extremity of his trunk (bîjapûra).

19.       Tryakshara Ganapati : “The Three-letters A+U+M Ganapati”. He has four ars. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the noose and the mango. He holds the cake modaka with the trunk end.

20.       Kshipraprasâda Ganapati : “Ganapati bestowing quickly his mercy”. He has six arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the lotus, the creeper of the votive tree (kalpalatâ), the noose, the lemon.

21.       Haridrâ Ganapati : “The curcuma-colored Ganapati”. He has four arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the noose and the cake modaka.

22.       Ekadanta Ganapati : “The Single Tusk Ganapati”. He has four arms. His hands hold a large tusk, a rosary, a hatchet (kuthâra) and the small ball of sweets (laddu).

23.       Shristi Ganapati : “Ganapati the Creator”, riding a big rat. His has four arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the noose and the mango.

24.       Uddanda Ganapati : “Ganapati the Unchained”, with his Shakti seated on his left thigh. He has twelve arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the club, the nocturnal lotus, the noose, the paddy ear, the elephant goad, the washing pot (kamandalu), the sugar-cane bow, the disc, the daylight lotus, the conch and the pomegranate. His trunk is placed on the top of the goddesse’s breast or, sometimes, maintains a jewels pot (manikumbha).

25.       Sankatahara Ganapati : “Ganapati seated on a large lotus with his Shakti “; he removes the impediments. He has four arms. His first hand show the movement to bestow boons (varada) ; the three others hold the elephant goad, the noose and the bowl of sugared rice (pâyasapâtra).

26.       Dundhi Ganapati : “The Ganapati which we have to look for”. He has four arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the rosary, the hatchet (kuthâra) and the pot of jewels (ratnapâtra).

27.       Trimukha Ganapati : “The Tree-Head Ganapati”. He has six arms. His first hand shows the movement which gives boons (varada), the four others hols a very sharp elephant goad, a rudrâksha grain of the rosary, the noose and the ambrosia pot (amritakumbha) ; the sixth hand removes the fear (abhaya).

28.       Simha Ganapati : “The Lion-face Ganapati”. He has eight arms. His first hand shows the movement which bestow boons (varada). The following hold the disc, the bunch of flowers, the lute (vîna), thez daylight lotus, the jewels pot, the creeper of the votive tree; the last hand shows the movement which removes fear (abhaya).

29.       Yoga Ganapati : “Ganapati the Ascetic”. He has four arms. His legs are surrounded with the meditation girdle (yogapatta). His hands hold the rosary, the elbow-rest or the walking-stick, the noose and the sugar-cane.

30.       Durgâ Ganapati : “Ganapati similar the the Goddess Durgâ”. He has eight arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the arrow, the rosary, the noose, the bow, the creeper of the votive tree (kalpalatâ) and the rose-apple fruit.

31.       Rnamocaka Ganapati : “Ganapati who discharges from debts”. He has four arms. His hands hold the single tusk, the elephant goad, the noose and the rose-apple fruit.

The fifty one names of Ganesh 

South India is the main region where 51 names are given to Ganesh, as many as letters of the sanskrit alphabet. We remember that those letters are also found, in a specific order, on the chakra petals. Thus, there are four in the mûladhara chakra where Ganesh is the presiding deity.

The litanies of one hundred and eight names of Ganesh

During the pûjâ, one uses to repeat a litany of one hundred and eight names only (Shri Ganesh ashtottara shata nâma).

1 Akhurath One who has Mouse as His Charioteer

2 Alampata Ever Eternal Lord

3 Amit Incomparable Lord

4 Anantachidrupamayam Infinite and Consciousness Personified

5 Avaneesh Lord of the whole World

6 Avighna Remover of Obstacles

7 Balaganapati Beloved and Lovable Child

8 Bhalchandra Moon-Crested Lord

9 Bheema Huge and Gigantic

10 Bhupati Lord of the Gods

11 Bhuvanpati God of the Gods

12 Buddhinath God of Wisdom

13 Buddhipriya Knowledge Bestower

14 Buddhividhata God of Knowledge

15 Chaturbhuj One who has Four Arms

16 Devadeva Lord of All Lords

17 Devantakanashakarin Destroyer of Evils and Asuras

18 Devavrata One who accepts all Penances

19 Devendrashika Protector of All Gods

20 Dharmik One who gives Charity

21 Dhoomravarna Smoke-Hued Lord

22 Durja Invincible Lord

23 Dvaimatura One who has two Mothers

24 Ekaakshara He of the Single Syllable

25 Ekadanta Single-Tusked Lord

26 Ekadrishta Single-Tusked Lord

27 Eshanputra Lord Shiva’s Son

28 Gadadhara One who has The Mace as His Weapon

29 Gajakarna One who has Eyes like an Elephant

30 Gajanana Elephant-Faced Lord

31 Gajananeti Elephant-Faced Lord

32 Gajavakra Trunk of The Elephant

33 Gajavaktra One who has Mouth like an Elephant

34 Ganadhakshya Lord of All Ganas (Gods)

35 Ganadhyakshina Leader of All The Celestial Bodies

36 Ganapati Lord of All Ganas (Gods)

37 Gaurisuta The Son of Gauri (Parvati)

38 Gunina One who is The Master of All Virtues

39 Haridra One who is Golden Coloured

40 Heramba Mother’s Beloved Son

41 Kapila Yellowish-Brown Coloured

42 Kaveesha Master of Poets

43 Krti Lord of Music

44 Kripalu Merciful Lord

45 Krishapingaksha Yellowish-Brown Eyed

46 Kshamakaram The Place of Forgiveness

47 Kshipra One who is easy to Appease

48 Lambakarna Large-Eared Lord

49 Lambodara The Huge Bellied Lord

50 Mahabala Enormously Strong Lord

51 Mahaganapati Omnipotent and Supreme Lord

52 Maheshwaram Lord of The Universe

53 Mangalamurti All Auspicious Lord

54 Manomay Winner of Hearts

55 Mrityuanjaya Conqueror of Death

56 Mundakarama Abode of Happiness

57 Muktidaya Bestower of Eternal Bliss

58 Musikvahana One who has mouse as charioteer

59 Nadapratithishta One who Appreciates and Loves Music

60 Namasthetu Vanquisher of All Evils & Vices & Sins

61 Nandana Lord Shiva’s Son

62 Nideeshwaram Giver of Wealth and Treasures

63 Omkara One who has the Form Of OM

64 Pitambara One who has Yellow-Coloured Body

65 Pramoda Lord of All Abodes

66 Prathameshwara First Among All

67 Purush The Omnipotent Personality

68 Rakta One who has Red-Coloured Body

69 Rudrapriya Beloved Of Lord Shiva

70 Sarvadevatman Acceptor of All Celestial Offerings

71 Sarvasiddhanta Bestower of Skills and Wisdom

72 Sarvatman Protector of The Universe

73 Shambhavi The Son of Parvati

74 Shashivarnam One who has a Moon like Complexion

75 Shoorpakarna Large-Eared Lord

76 Shuban All Auspicious Lord

77 Shubhagunakanan One who is The Master of All Virtues

78 Shweta One who is as Pure as the White Colour

79 Siddhidhata Bestower of Success & Accomplishments

80 Siddhipriya Bestower of Wishes and Boons

81 Siddhivinayaka Bestower of Success

82 Skandapurvaja Elder Brother of Skand (Lord Kartik)

83 Sumukha Auspicious Face

84 Sureshwaram Lord of All Lords

85 Swaroop Lover of Beauty

86 Tarun Ageless

87 Uddanda Nemesis of Evils and Vices

88 Umaputra The Son of Goddess Uma (Parvati)

89 Vakratunda Curved Trunk Lord

90 Varaganapati Bestower of Boons

91 Varaprada Granter of Wishes and Boons

92 Varadavinayaka Bestower of Success

93 Veeraganapati Heroic Lord

94 Vidyavaridhi God of Wisdom

95 Vighnahara Remover of Obstacles

96 Vignaharta Demolisher of Obstacles

97 Vighnaraja Lord of All Hindrances

98 Vighnarajendra Lord of All Obstacles

99 Vighnavinashanaya Destroyer of All Obstacles & Impediments

100 Vigneshwara Lord of All Obstacles

101 Vikat Huge and Gigantic

102 Vinayaka Lord of All

103 Vishwamukha Master of The Universe

104 Vishwaraja King of The World

105 Yagnakaya Acceptor of All Sacred & Sacrficial Offerings

106 Yashaskaram Bestower of Fame and Fortune

107 Yashvasin Beloved and Ever Popular Lord

108 Yogadhipa The Lord of Meditation

Etymology and other names

Ganesha has many other titles and epithets, including Ganapati and Vigneshvara. The Hindu title of respect Shri (Sanskrit: śrī, also spelled Sri or Shree) is often added before his name. One popular way Ganesha is worshipped is by chanting a Ganesha Sahasranama, a litany of “a thousand names of Ganesha”. Each name in the sahasranama conveys a different meaning and symbolises a different aspect of Ganesha. At least two different versions of the Ganesha Sahasranama exist; one version is drawn from the Ganesha Purana, a Hindu scripture venerating Ganesha.

The name Ganesha is a Sanskrit compound, joining the words gana (Sanskrit: ; gaṇa), meaning a group, multitude, or categorical system and isha (Sanskrit: ; īśa), meaning lord or master. The word gaņa when associated with Ganesha is often taken to refer to the gaņas, a troop of semi-divine beings that form part of the retinue of Shiva (IAST: Śiva). The term more generally means a category, class, community, association, or corporation. Some commentators interpret the name “Lord of the Gaņas” to mean “Lord of Hosts” or “Lord of created categories”, such as the elements. Ganapati (Sanskrit:  gaṇapati), a synonym for Ganesha, is a compound composed of gaṇa, meaning “group”, and pati, meaning “ruler” or “lord”. The Amarakosha, an early Sanskrit lexicon, lists eight synonyms of Ganesha : Vinayaka, Vighnarāja (equivalent to Vignesha), Dvaimātura (one who has two mothers), Gaṇādhipa (equivalent to Ganapati and Ganesha), Ekadanta (one who has one tusk), Heramba, Lambodara (one who has a pot belly, or, literally, one who has a hanging belly), and Gajanana (IAST: gajānana) ; having the face of an elephant).

Vinayaka (Sanskrit:  vināyaka) is a common name for Ganesha that appears in the Purāṇas and in Buddhist Tantras. This name is reflected in the naming of the eight famous Ganesha temples in Maharashtra known as the Ashtavinayak (aṣṭavināyaka). The names Vignesha (Sanskrit: vighneśa) and Vigneshvara (Sanskrit: ; vighneśvara) (Lord of Obstacles) refers to his primary function in Hindu mythology as the creator and remover of obstacles (vighna).

A prominent name for Ganesha in the Tamil language is Pille or Pillaiyar (Little Child). A. K. Narain differentiates these terms by saying that pille means a “child” while pillaiyar means a “noble child”. He adds that the words pallu, pella, and pell in the Dravidian family of languages signify “tooth or tusk of an elephant”, but more generally “elephant”. Anita Raina Thapan notes that the root word pille in the name Pillaiyar might have originally meant “the young of the elephant”, because the Pali word pillaka means “a young elephant”.

Ganesha is a popular figure in Indian art. Unlike those of some deities, representations of Ganesha show wide variations and distinct patterns changing over time. He may be portrayed standing, dancing, heroically taking action against demons, playing with his family as a boy, sitting down, or engaging in a range of contemporary situations.

Images of Ganesha first appeared in Sri Lanka at least as early as the 2nd century CE. The earliest known image occurs at the Kantaka Cetiya in Mihintale, which is dated to earlier than the 1st century BC. The figure is a one-tusked Gana (dwarf) attended by other ganas, who hold the various attributes of the deity.

Ganesha images were prevalent in many parts of India by the 6th century The figure shown to the right is typical of Ganesha statuary from 900–1200, after Ganesha had been well-established as an independent deity with his own sect. This example features some of Ganesha’s common iconographic elements. A virtually identical statue has been dated between 973–1200 by Paul Martin-Dubost, and another similar statue is dated c. 12th century by Pratapaditya Pal. Ganesha has the head of an elephant and a big belly. This statue has four arms, which is common in depictions of Ganesha. He holds his own broken tusk in his lower-right hand and holds a delicacy, which he samples with his trunk, in his lower-left hand. The motif of Ganesha turning his trunk sharply to his left to taste a sweet in his lower-left hand is a particularly archaic feature. A more primitive statue in one of the Ellora Caves with this general form has been dated to the 7th century. Details of the other hands are difficult to make out on the statue shown. In the standard configuration, Ganesha typically holds an axe or a goad in one upper arm and a noose in the other upper arm.

The influence of this old constellation of iconographic elements can still be seen in contemporary representations of Ganesha. In one modern form, the only variation from these old elements is that the lower-right hand does not hold the broken tusk but rather is turned toward the viewer in a gesture of protection or fearlessness (abhaya mudra). The same combination of four arms and attributes occurs in statues of Ganesha dancing, which is a very popular theme.

Common attributes

Ganesha has been represented with the head of an elephant since the early stages of his appearance in Indian art Puranic myths provide many explanations for how he got his elephant head. One of his popular forms, Heramba-Ganapati, has five elephant heads, and other less-common variations in the number of heads are known. While some texts say that Ganesha was born with an elephant head, in most stories he acquires the head later. The most recurrent motif in these stories is that Ganesha was born with a human head and body and that Shiva beheaded him when Ganesha came between Shiva and Parvati. Shiva then replaced Ganesha’s original head with that of an elephant. Details of the battle and where the replacement head came from vary according to different sources. In another story, when Ganesha was born, his mother, Parvati, showed off her new baby to the other gods. Unfortunately, the god Shani (Saturn), who is said to have the evil eye, looked at him, causing the baby’s head to be burned to ashes. The god Vishnu came to the rescue and replaced the missing head with that of an elephant. Another story says that Ganesha was created directly by Shiva’s laughter. Because Shiva considered Ganesha too alluring, he gave him the head of an elephant and a protruding belly.

Ganesha’s earliest name was Ekadanta (One Tusk), referring to his single whole tusk, the other having been broken off. Some of the earliest images of Ganesha show him holding his broken tusk. The importance of this distinctive feature is reflected in the Mudgala Purana, which states that the name of Ganesha’s second incarnation is Ekadanta. Ganesha’s protruding belly appears as a distinctive attribute in his earliest statuary, which dates to the Gupta period (fourth to sixth centuries). This feature is so important that, according to the Mudgala Purana, two different incarnations of Ganesha use names based on it: Lambodara (Pot Belly, or, literally, Hanging Belly) and Mahodara (Great Belly). Both names are Sanskrit compounds describing his belly (Sanskrit: udara). The Brahmanda Purana says that Ganesha has the name Lambodara because all the universes (i.e., cosmic eggs; IAST: brahmāṇḍas) of the past, present, and future are present in him. The number of Ganesha’s arms varies; his best-known forms have between two and sixteen arms. Many depictions of Ganesha feature four arms, which is mentioned in Puranic sources and codified as a standard form in some iconographic texts.[58] His earliest images had two arms.Forms with 14 and 20 arms appeared in central India during the 9th and 10th centuries. The serpent is a common feature in Ganesha iconography and appears in many forms. According to the Ganesha Purana, Ganesha wrapped the serpent Vāsuki around his neck. Other depictions of snakes include use as a sacred thread (IAST: yajñyopavīta)[63] wrapped around the stomach as a belt, held in a hand, coiled at the ankles, or as a throne. Upon Ganesha’s forehead there may be a third eye or the Shaivite sectarian mark (Sanskrit: tilaka), which consists of three horizontal lines.The Ganesha Purana prescribes a tilaka mark as well as a crescent moon on the forehead. A distinct form of Ganesha called Bhalachandra ( bhālacandra; “Moon on the Forehead”) includes that iconographic element. Specific colors are associated with certain forms. Many examples of color associations with specific meditation forms are prescribed in the Sritattvanidhi, a treatise on Hindu iconography. For example, white is associated with his representations as Heramba-Ganapati and Rina-Mochana-Ganapati (Ganapati Who Releases from Bondage). Ekadanta-Ganapati is visualized as blue during meditation on that form.

Ganesh Incarnations

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