Basohli miniature, c. 1730. National Museum, New Delhi. Devanagari Sanskrit transliteration Gaea Affiliation Deva Abode Mount Kailash (with parents Shiva and Parvati) Mantra O Shri Gaeya Nama O Ga Gaapataye Nama Weapon Parau (axe), pa (noose), akua (elephant goad) Symbols Aum, Modak Mount Mouse Texts Ganesha Purana, Mudgala Purana, Ganapati Atharvashirsa Festivals Ganesh Chaturthi Personal Information Consort Buddhi (wisdom) Riddhi (prosperity) Siddhi (attainment) Parents Shiva and Parvati Siblings Kartikeya
Although he is known by many attributes, Ganesha's elephant head makes him easy to identify. Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. As the god of beginnings, he is honoured at the start of rites and ceremonies. Ganesha is also invoked as patron of letters and learning during writing sessions. Several texts relate mythological anecdotes associated with his birth and exploits and explain his distinct iconography.
Ganesha likely emerged as a deity as early as the 2nd century AD, but most certainly by the 4th and 5th centuries AD, during the Gupta period, although he inherited traits from Vedic and pre-Vedic precursors. Hindu mythology identifies him as the restored son of Parvati and Shiva of the Shaivism tradition, but he is a pan-Hindu god found in its various traditions. In the Ganapatya tradition of Hinduism, Ganesha is the supreme deity. The principal texts on Ganesha include the Ganesha Purana, the Mudgala Purana, and the Ganapati Atharvashirsa. Brahma Purana and Brahmanda Purana are other two Puranic genre encyclopedic texts that deal with Ganesha.
Ganesha has been ascribed many other titles and epithets, including Ganapati (Ganpati) and Vighneshvara. The Hindu title of respect Shri (Sanskrit: ; IAST: r; also spelled Sri or Shree) is often added before his name.
The name Ganesha is a Sanskrit compound, joining the words gana (gaa), meaning a group, multitude, or categorical system and isha (a), meaning lord or master. The word gaa when associated with Ganesha is often taken to refer to the gaas, a troop of semi-divine beings that form part of the retinue of Shiva, Ganesha's father. The term more generally means a category, class, community, association, or corporation. Some commentators interpret the name "Lord of the Gaas" to mean "Lord of Hosts" or "Lord of created categories", such as the elements. Ganapati (; gaapati), a synonym for Ganesha, is a compound composed of gaa, meaning "group", and pati, meaning "ruler" or "lord". Though the earliest mention of the word Ganapati is found in hymn 2.23.1 of the 2nd-millennium BCE Rigveda, it is however uncertain that the Vedic term referred specifically to Ganesha. The Amarakosha, an early Sanskrit lexicon, lists eight synonyms of Ganesha: Vinayaka, Vighnarja (equivalent to V
The name "Ganapati" sound phonologically similar to the word in Tamil/Malayalam "Aanapati". It is the combination of two sounds "Aana" and "Pati" or "Kana" and "Pati". The meaning of the word "Pati" is "half" in English. Where, "Ana" or "Kana" means elephant. Ganapati is always manifested as the combination of elephant and human. "Kanapati or Anapati" simply means half elephant in English. The bad pronunciation of the word "Kanapati" by Sanskrit speaking people might have caused the evolution of the current word "Ganapati".
Vinayaka (; vinyaka) is a common name for Ganesha that appears in the Puras and in Buddhist Tantras. This name is reflected in the naming of the eight famous Ganesha temples in Maharashtra known as the Ashtavinayak (Marathi: , aavinyaka). The names Vighnesha (; vighnea) and Vighneshvara (; vighnevara) (Lord of Obstacles) refers to his primary function in Hinduism as the master and remover of obstacles (vighna).