Ganesha is one among the popular deity god who has many different titles. He is known as the “lord of obstacles, remover of obstacles, lord of beginnings, and deity of good fortune”. On some sources, he is also referred as “Ganesh” and “Ganapati”.

As you can see on the image below, Ganesha has an elephant head with a human body. He does look strange and at some point creepy. But interestingly, there is a story behind as to why he possessed an animal head.

Ganesha wasn’t actually born with an elephant head. His parents were Shiva and Parvati, two of the most powerful and highly respected deities among all other gods and goddesses of their time.

The Story behind Ganesha’s Elephant Head

It all started a very long time ago when Shiva and Parvati decided to live together at Mt. Kailash. There, they were so happy at the comfort of one another but not until when Shiva was called for a journey. This was a very long journey that his wife will surely miss him.

Parvati had indeed become so lonely where she wished for a son that she can cherish, care, and play. Since she was one powerful goddess, Parvati had decided to create her son Ganesha through sandalwood, turmeric, and her own flesh. By sprinkling the Ganges water on her creation, Ganesha had finally came to life.

Ganesha’s existence had filled her mother’s loneliness. As a mother and son, they were both happy until one day, her mother asked him to guard the door of their house while she takes a bath. She instructed her son not to let anyone inside their house no matter who they were.

Unexpectedly, Shiva had arrived back to his home from his long and tiring journey. When he arrived, Shiva was surprised to see a boy guarding the front door of his house. When he asked the boy to let him in, Ganesha did not allow him to enter unless the boy’s mother gives him the permission. Unfortunately, Shiva was a quick-tempered god where he immediately got enraged. So with a quick swift move, he had drawn out his sword and cut-off the boy’s head. The head got tossed so far into the forest while the body fell down on the ground.

Parvati who was enjoying her bath had heard the commotion going on outside their house so she hurriedly went out to check it. There she saw her son’s decapitated body on the floor where she burst into tears. She then explained that Shiva had killed their only son. So to correct his mistake, Parvati ordered his husband to revive the decapitated boy.

Reviving the boy was an easy task for Shiva since he was one powerful god. However, he needs to find the boy’s head to attach it back to the body. Other than that, he only has a short limited amount of time to do it. Thus, Shiva had sworn to himself to use any being’s head that he will come across as a replacement while heading into the forest.

Unfortunately, Shiva never met anyone on his way and worst, he couldn’t find the head anywhere around the forest. As he was about to lose his hope, an elephant came out from the trees behind him. With no other options and the time ticking down to its end, he had no other choice but to use the elephant’s head. Thus, he cut the creature’s head and immediately went back to his house.

Shiva made it on time when he attached the elephant’s head to the boy’s body and got him miraculously revived. Despite the boy’s new elephant head, Parvati was still overjoyed to see her son came back to life.

In order to further please Shiva’s wife, he marked full respect to his son due to his loyalty and bravery in guarding the door of their house for his mother. Other than his respect, he also declared that Ganesha must be worshipped first above all the other gods of their time.

Statues of Ganesha on Temples and Sacred Buildings

You will notice that many temples and sacred buildings consist of Ganesha’s statues placed at the entrances. The purpose is to protect them from anyone who is unauthorized from entering their places.

On festivities or sacred rituals, before the event begins the people will chant Ganesh mantras as a means of attracting protection, luck, and power while getting rid of any potential obstacles that may come.

When it comes more about obstacles, Ganesh is known to help remove obstacles but also does the opposite which is to place them as a form of challenge that must be overcome.

Interpreting Ganesha’s Symbolism

All deities actually have their own respective symbolism which comes in the form of their appearance, colors, markings, and etc… As for Ganesha, he is a symbol that focuses on protection, power, and the will to overcome obstacles.

The Elephant Head

Ganesha’s elephant head represents both “strength and power”. You may be surprised to know that most animals that live in the wild are potentially dangerous especially to humans. The surprising part about the elephants is that, many of these animals from the wild are not dangerous. It is their natural behavior as gentle and calm creatures but when they are treated badly, they can wreak havoc.

The Large Elephant Ears

Ganesha’s large elephant ears symbolizes that he listens to those people who asks for his help. Since he has large ears, this represents his ability to hear and listen to a lot of different people.

The Large Elephant Head

Most common thinking is that, if you have a big head then you also have a big brain. Thus, Ganesha’s large head is a representation of his high intelligence and thinking ability in all aspects of life.

Small Elephant Mouth

Not all parts of the elephant are big where their mouth is small. As Ganesha’s symbolism for his small mouth, it means that he loves to listen more but only talk less.

One Broken Tusk

If you are going to take a closer look on Ganesha’s tusk, you will notice that one has been broken. This indicates about retaining all good things but getting rid of all bad things away that are no longer needed. According to other stories, Ganesha had intentionally broken off one of his tusk when the moon scolded him for simply being fat.

Small Elephant Eyes

Aside from the mouth, elephants also have small eyes. But when it comes to Ganesha’s symbolism, it is a representation of one-pointed focus and concentration.

Ganesha’s Large Stomach

You will notice that Ganesha has a large stomach but there is a positive reason when it comes to its symbolism. It actually shows that he is able to consume and digest every good and bad thing in life.

Objects Held by Ganesha on his Hands

Ganesha typically has four hands where he holds different objects like his fellow deities around. Each of these objects has their respective meanings that are helpful in proving guidance in achieving progress in life.

Rope – First Hand

It represents Ganesha’s ability to help pull someone from achieving his or her ultimate goal of realization and liberation.

Axe – Second Hand

We all know that all materials on this world are not permanent. Ganesha’s axe symbolizes that he can cut someone’s attachment to materialism.

Bowl of Sweets – Third Hand

Ganesha’s third hand consisted of a bowl of sweets. It actually symbolizes rewards for achieving spiritual development.

Blessing Mudra – Fourth Hand

Ganesha’s fourth hand is a symbol that depicts the blessing mudra. It is a type of hand gesture that is commonly noticed and observed on all other deities. This is because; it is their means of blessing their followers or worshippers.

Antique Ganesha Sculpture for Sale

Below are the following images of an antique Ganesha sculpture that is for sale. I do not own this antique which is owned by one of my community where he asked me to find an interested buyer that could offer him the best price.

As you can see on the photos, Ganesha’s appearance was fully engraved on a flat surface of a black rock. Base on my research, I have never seen anything that is similar to this kind Ganesha’s image. So this item must be somewhat rare.

Anyway, if you are interested on this antique then you can send me a message so that I can connect you to the owner of this item. You might as well post your bid on the Comment Form below.

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