Thursday, 23 June 2011

Avatars of Ganesha

(Clockwise from left top) The four of Ganesha from Ganesha Purna: Mahotkata, Mayuresvara, Dhumraketu and Gajanana (modern painting at Siddhivinayak temple, Mumbai).The Linga Purana declares that Ganesha incarnates to destroy demons and to help the gods and pious people. The two upapuranas - Ganesha Purana and Mudgala Purana - detail the avatars of Ganesha. Both these upapuranas are core scriptures of the Ganapatya sect - exclusively dedicated to Ganesha worship.

Four avatars of Ganesha are listed in the Ganesha Purana:Mohotkata, Mayūreśvara, Gajanana and Dhumraketu. Each avatar corresponds to a different yuga, has a different mount and different skin complexion, but all the avatars have a common purpose - to slay demons.

The Mudgala Purana describes eight avatars of Ganesha: Ganesh: Studies of an Asian God,
•Vakratunda () ("twisting trunk"), his mount is a lion.
•Ekadanta ("single tusk"), his mount is a mouse.
•Mahodara ("big belly"), his mount is a mouse.
•Gajavaktra (or Gajānana) ("elephant face"), his mount is a mouse.
•Lambodara ("pendulous belly") , his mount is a mouse.
•Vikata () ("unusual form", "misshapen"), his mount is a peacock.
•Vighnaraja () ("king of obstacles"), his mount is the celestial serpent .
•Dhumravarna () ("grey color") corresponds to Śiva, his mount is a horse.
•Tonyang (wisdom)

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