Apr 21, 2019 by


Hinduism is a religion commonly practiced in Southern Asia. It is one of the major religions in the world. 15-16% of the world’s population practices Hinduism. The majority of them live in India which is no surprise considering it originated in Northern India. Hinduism is a polytheistic religion that has many deities. It is often believed that deities are individuals. In fact, they are all representations of one god, Brahman. Brahman is the Supreme Being or the Ultimate Reality. Hindu gods and goddesses embody different attributes and traits that reflect Brahman. They are means for the individual to direct their devotion to a specific aspect of Brahman by way of visual representation. 

It is found that the Hindu deities may have specific features unique to their origin. Some features people may have seen are: 

  • Flowers
  • Flutes
  • Multiple arms
  • And posture

There are nuances within the deities and each representation. The deities are multidimensional, so they possess many qualities which may be evident in the visual portrayal. They may be categorized in a family that is associated with a specific heritage. 

Ganesha In Images

A popular deity in Hinduism is Ganesha or Ganesh. There are many tales of how he was given the elephant head. Some say he was born with an elephant head while others claim that it came later in life. He is the son of Shiva and Parvati. The story says that he was ordered by his mother, Parvati, to prohibit anyone from entering the house. When Shiva arrived home, he did not permit him to enter. As a result, Shiva cut off the head of Ganesh. When Parvati discovered this, she ordered Shiva to bring him back to life. Shiva returned with an elephant head and brought him back. 

Ganesh has an elephant head and a plump human body with yellow skin pigmentation. His posture looks as if he is sitting with one leg folded and the other on the ground. In his hands, he is usually holding a few objects such as a rope, an axe, water lily, and a bowl of sweetmeats. 

Representation Of Ganesha 

Ganesha is the remover of obstacles and difficulties. He grants good fortune to those who pray to him. He is worshiped at the beginning of a new journey such as moving into a new home, employment, or marriage. The elephant head represents gaining knowledge by listening with the ears. One of the tusks is broken while the other is perfectly fine to demonstrate the two realms of the world both good and bad. The protruding symbolizes the ability to absorb life as it may come. A pot belly usually means that someone has the resources to eat well and provide a comfortable living. His four arms represent the four different Hindu texts. His posture shows an equilibrium between the spiritual and the experiential world. 

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