The symbolism of Ganesha and his beautiful form

The symbolism of Ganesha and his beautiful form Cover Image

Ganesha , the Lord we all pay primary obeisance to, represents so many wonderful facets. Every feature has a powerful message which you can share with your kids today.

Ganapathy, Gajamukha, Vinayaka: Many names, one God. He who is worshipped first by many of us before we start any task to make sure that we succeed. The symbolism of Ganesha extends from the majestic elephant head to the tiny mouse that serves as his vehicle.

When we look at the idol of Ganesha, we see many objects forming part of His person. Here’s an overview of what each part stands for.

1. The Elephant Head

What it signifies: Wisdom and Memory

It is well known that He was the chosen one when each sentence of the epic Mahabharatha recited by the sage Vyasa had to be understood and written down as it was delivered. None of the others including the Gods could match His capability!


2. The Four Hands

He has two hands turned upwards and two at the lower level. What He holds in each vary in different idols.

In many cases, the upper right hand holds a rod like object normally used to goad an elephant to move faster.

What it signifies: His role as the God who propels us to move forward along the right path. It is called an Ankusha in Sanskrit.


In His upper left hand, He is shown as holding a knotted loop similar to what we use to tether a cow to hold and control it (known as Pasha in Sanskrit). It represents a soft implement He uses to capture all obstacles on the way.


He holds in His lower left hand the broken half of his tusk – an implement He used to continue writing Mahabharatha when the pen he was using broke midway.

What it signifies: His graciousness in sacrifice for a worthy cause.


In His other hand, He is shown as holding a Modak – a sweet He is very fond of.

What it signifies: The sweetness we experience when our soul discovers the true and eternal inner joy (Sat-Chit- Anand).


Sometimes, the lower left hand is shown as an open palm facing upwards

What it signifies: That He is there to protect us from fear (Abhaya Hasta).


The upper right hand holds a lotus bud symbolising enlightenment. The other upper hand holds a conch (or Shankha) which always represents something auspicious calling for us to realize the true inner self. It is well known that blowing a Shankha is part of any religious celebration.


Also check out our article on Ganesha slokas for kids

3. The potbelly, ears and mouth

This is supposed to represent the vast universe and its bounty. The trunk is the representation of ‘Om’, the eternal and ultimate spiritual chant. Large ears symbolize the need to hear even the quietest whisper. The small mouth signifies the futility of loud talk.


4. The mouse

The ubiquitous creature that Ganesha uses as his carrier represents his humility. Ganesha is incomplete without this wonderful mouse, as can be seen in pictures and representations all over the world.

Taken together, one gets to feel the greatness of this gentle being, who presents all that is good to pursue in our life through his many forms and adornments.

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