Ganesha, commonly known as and easily recognized as the Elephant-God, is one of the most popular deities of the Hindu pantheon. The Son of Parvati was given the name Ganesha by Shiva. The word Ganesha is made up of gana (followers of Shiva) and isha (lord), as Shiva appointed him the lord of his ganas. Ganesha is known as one who removes all obstacles. He is considered to be the god of wisdom, prudence and prosperity. He is the personification of material universe in all its various magnificent manifestations. His names are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun and before any kind of worship is begun. He is the God of power and wisdom. He is the eldest son of Shiva and the brother of Skanda or Kartikeya.
Ganesha has many names. The main ones are GANAPATI (lord of the tribe or attendants), VIGNESHWARA (controller of all obstacles), VINAYAKA (the prominent leader), GAJANANA (elephant faced), GAJADHIPATI (Lord of elephants), LAMBKARNA (long eared), LAMBODARA (pendant -bellied) and EKADANTA (having one tusk), GAJAVADANA (the elephant face), SHOOPRA-KARNA (winnowing pan like ears), CHATURBHUJA (four hands) three of them carrying Pasha (a rope), ANKUSHA (a spear-like weapon curved at one end) and MODAKA (a pudding like sweet dish).
The Birth of Lord Ganesh to Parvati.
Once while Parvati was going for her bath, she rubbed off the dust and oil from her body and out of it created the figure of a young boy. She infused life into the figure and told him he was her son and should guard the entrance when she went to bath. Soon after, Shiva came to see Parvati but the young boy blocked his way and would not let him in. Shiva, unaware that this lad was his son, became furious and in great anger fought with the boy whose head got severed from his body in the ensuing battle. Parvati, returning from her bath, saw her headless son, and in aggrieved anguish threatened to destroy the heavens and earth. The Gods and Shiva pacified her and the latter sent out his ganas, or hordes, to bring the head of the first living being with his head towards the north (the auspicious direction associated with wisdom). The first living creature they found sleeping with his head to the north was an elephant. They brought the head of this animal and Shiva placed it on the trunk of Parvati's son and breathed life into him. Parvati was overjoyed and embraced her son, the elephant-headed boy whom Shiva named Ganesh, the lord of his ganas "Ganpati"
Story: Shiva and Parvati used to play with their two sons, Ganesh and Kartikeya. The gods had given them a marvelous fruit. Each boy wanted to get it for him alone. Their parents explained them that the nectar of the Supreme Knowledge and of Immortality was hidden in that fruit. To get the fruit, both had to compete. The winner should run three times around the world and come back first. Kartikeya left at once. Riding his peacock, he flew in the sky, stopping at every sacred place on his way, praying and worshipping the gods. Ganesh was fully aware of his stout body; it slackened off him badly. The rat, his vehicle, was rather slow and would not be able to beat Kartikeya. But his wisdom suggested him the right solution. He turned round his parents, Shiva and Parvati, showing a deep devotion. When they asked him why he did not start his journey around the world, he replied:
""My parents Shiva and Shakti are the Whole Universe. In them is located the World. I do not need to go further"". Of course, he won the contest, and the fruit. This legend emphasizes the importance of cleverness which is always the best against force, speed or physical strength.
Ganesh Chathurti (festival celebrating the birth of Lord Ganesha) is a very popular festival celebrated by Hindus all over India. This Ganesh Chathurti is celebrated as one of the important festival all over India.His grace, we receive the grace of all. He removes any potential obstacles and enables our endeavours to succeed.