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Ganesha

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Ganesha
Ganesha

Sri Ganesha, also known as Ganesh, Ganesa, Gonesh, and Ganapati, is one of the primary deities within the Hindu tradition, and one of the most widely venerated Hindu Deities. He is also honored by Buddhists, Jains, and others throughout the world who were not born into any of the Asian traditional religions. Known as the opener of the way, he is often invoked at the altar before other prayers, mantras, or puja rituals are started. He is a protector of women and children, a bringer of good luck and prosperity, and a divine Lord who is able to crush any obstacles that stand in his way. Additionally, Hindu tradition holds that Ganesh was the scribe for the great Indian epic the Mahabharata -- and as such he is the Lord of Knowledge, a patron figure for students, teachers, and writers.

Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and the Goddess Parvati. One day, while Shiva was away, Parvati decided to take a bath, and so, to protect her modesty, she placed her beloved son Ganesh at the threshold as a guard. When Shiva returned, wishing to see his wife, Ganesh refused to let him in and in anger Shiva's third eye opened and destroyed Ganesha's head. Immediately regretting his rash action, Lord Shiva went in search for a replacement head for his son. He chose an elephant's head and thus we see Ganesh as he appears today. Depending on what form a devotee is invoking, Ganesh may be a brahmin bachelor much like a priest, he may be married to the Goddess of culture and arts Sarasvati in his guise as the Lord of Knowledge, or he may be the consirt of Lakshmi in his form as one who break down barriers and opens the way to good fortune and success. In some stories he has two children Siddhi ("spiritual power") and Riddhi ("prosperity").

Within the Hindu religious tradition, Sri Ganesh is depicted in a wide variety of postures from sitting in the lotus position, to reclining on his side, to dancing the cosmic dance of his father Shiva. Symbols associated with him include his vehicle, a small mouse, his elephant head and big belly, the swastika of good fortune, and his plate of sweets. Often in one of his upper arms he will hold an axe, in the other an elephant goad or noose. His bottom hands may hold a piece of his own broken trunk and a sweet. Usually his trunk is depicted veering left because he is tasting something sweet. Sweet buns and candy, rice, sandalwood, coconut, milk, and flowers are all common offerings left for Ganesh. He is worshipped throughout the year and, as a road opener and obstacle remover, he is given special veneration whenever a new vehicle is purchased or a new business venture is started. His primary festivals are the Ganesh Chaturthi, a ten day event celebrated on the 4th day of the waxing moon in August-September, and his birthday, Ganesha jayanti, celebrated on the 4th day of the waxing moon during January-February.

Hoodoo psychic readers, spirit workers, and root doctors who petition the Hindu gods and goddesses on behalf of clients may work with Ganesh when there is need for removing obstacles and blockages and opening the roads to fulfillment.

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