Ganesha

Hindu - The elephant-headed god of art, foresight, good fortune and scribes. Ruler of the Ganas. Son of Shiva and Parvati. Brother of Karttikeya. Brother of Subrahmanya, some say. Husband of Buddhi, Riddhi and Siddhi. He is said by some to have been produced by Parvati from flaking skin or from bath-oil. His mother asked him to guard her door while she bathed and when he tried to deny entry to Shiva his father chopped off his head. To pacify Parvati, he replaced it with the first thing to hand - the head of an elephant. In another version, the god Shani was asked to look after the baby and his fiery glance burned off Ganesha's head which Parvati or Vishnu replaced with an elephant's head. One of his tusks was knocked out by Rama when he tried to keep him from the sleeping Shiva. Another account says that his stomach split open when he fell off the mouse (or rat) he was riding. He hastily put back all the sweet things that had fallen out and tied a snake round his waist like a belt. This episode made the watching moon laugh and this angered Ganesha so much that he pulled out one of his tusks and threw it at the moon. Other versions say that he pulled out the tusk and used it as a pen to write down the alphabet dictated by Vyasa. He is depicted as a red or yellow fat-bellied man holding a club, a discus, a shell and a water-lily in his four hands and is sometimes shown riding on a rat. Sometimes identified as Ganesha, Ganesa, Ganesa, Ganesh, Ganesh, Genesh, Genesh, Ekadanta, Ekadanta, Gajanana, Gajanana, Ganapati, Ganapati, Brhaspati, Hastimukha, Hastimukha, Lambodara, Lambodara, Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Obstacles, Vigneshava, (Maha-)Ganapati, (Maha-)Ganapati, Buddhist Vighnantaka, Buddhist Vighnantaka, Greek Hermes, Greek Hermes, Mercury, Nabu, Shullat, Thoth, Turms, Japanese Shoten, Japanese Shoten, Heramba or Heramba.

Nearby Myths