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is one of the best-known and most widely worshipped deities in the Hindu
pantheon. His image is found throughout India. Hindu sects worship him
regardless of affiliations. Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and
extends to Jains, Buddhists, and beyond India.
Although he is known by many other attributes, Ganesha's elephant head
makes him easy to identify. Ganesha is widely revered as the Remover
of Obstacles and more generally as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of
Obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect
and wisdom. He is honored at the beginning of rituals and ceremonies.
People mostly worship Him asking for siddhi, success in undertakings,
and buddhi, intelligence. He is worshipped before any venture is
Ganesha is Vighneshvara or Vighnaraja, the Lord of Obstacles,
both of a material and spiritual order. He is popularly worshipped as a
remover of obstacles, though traditionally he also places obstacles in
the path of those who need to be checked. Paul Courtright says that "his
task in the divine scheme of things, his dharma, is to place and remove
obstacles. It is his particular territory, the reason for his creation.
Ganesha is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is
the personification of material universe in all its various magnificent
Though Ganesha is popularly held to be the son of Shiva and Parvati, the
Puranic myths disagree about his birth. He may have been created by
Shiva or by Parvati, or by Shiva and Parvati, or appeared mysteriously
and was discovered by Shiva and Parvati.
Ganesha is also one of the five Gods the worship of whom was popularized
by Adi Shankaracharya; the other four are Vishnu, Shiva, Devi and Surya.