Symbolism of Ganesha

Symbolism of Ganesha

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Ganesha — the elephant-deity riding a mouse — has become one of the commonest mnemonics for anything associated with Hinduism. This not only suggests the importance of Ganesha, but also shows how popular and pervasive this deity is in the minds of the masses.

Since Ganeshji represents auspiciousness and his whole being has symbolic importance for devotees:

Large ears – signify listening to God’s katha with great zeal
Small eyes – to do the Lord’s darshan minutely
Large forehead – to develop great intellect to realise God
Large stomach – depicts his great capacity to empathise with the woes of devotees
Short legs – depicts patience
Long trunk – symbolic of his deep scriptural wisdom
Mouse as vehicle – a hyperactive creature, symbolic of our indriyas. Therefore Ganesh sitting on such a vehicle represents a deity of control over the indriyas
Four arms – Each hand holds: ‘ankush’ – symbol for control over the mind; ‘ladu’ – for happiness; ‘pash’ – axe to punish the indriyas and antahkaran; ‘ashirvad mudra’ – blessings for the well being of humanity

Depending on the role of Ganapati, the number of arms varies, as do the type of objects.

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