Gaṇeśa (Biographical details)

Gaṇeśa (deity; Hindu; Male)

Also known as

Gaṇeśa; Ganesa; Ganesha; Vinayaka; Binyaka; Vighnesvara; Pillaiyar; Ganapati; Ganesh


The Indian deity Gaṇeśa is immediately recognisable because of his genial countenance and his elephant-head. He is the auspicious god who is the Lord of all Beginnings, as well as both the placer and remover of obstacles. He is thought of as the son of Siva (q.v.) and of Parvati (q.v.) and with their other child, Karttikeya (q.v.) comprises the frequently-depicted 'Holy Family'. Theoretically and according to the texts, Gaṇeśa is the product of only his mother Parvati (the scurf from her bath into which she miraculously breathed life) , while Karrtikeya was generated solely by Siva. Gaṇeśa's mount (vahana), is the rat or bandicoot. The Tamil name for Gaṇeśa is Pillaiyar.


See Courtright, Paul. 'Ganesa. Lord of Beginnings, Lord of Obstacles'. Oxford. 1985. For examples in the BM collection, see Blurton, T. R. 'Hindu Art'. BM Press, London. 1992. p. 102-107.'