Hinduism Gaṇeśa
by
Greg Bailey
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 April 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399318-0139

Introduction

Gaṇeśa, also called Gaṇapati and Vināyaka, is one of the most popular gods in contemporary India and one of the most well known Hindu deities outside India. His popularity comes from his function as creator and remover of obstacles as well as from his status of being the first god to be worshiped in all rituals. In addition, his elephant head marks him out as almost unique among deities in India. Since he has been the deity worshiped at the beginning of all rituals in India, all Hindus usually come into contact with Gaṇeśa at some time each day. Up until about 1900 he was popular mainly in western and southern India, but his popularity is now universal throughout India. However, from the middle of the 1st millennium CE, images of Gaṇeśa are found throughout Southeast Asia, and he also has a presence in China and more recently in Japan, making him one of the most international of Hindu deities. Despite his popularity, he has not received the scholarly treatment one might have expected. This is because he has usually been treated as part of the Śiva family of deities, not so much as an independent deity in his own right. It is also likely that he became independent only after the 14th century, as evidenced by the appearance of two Purāṇas centered on his mythology and worship and some associated Tantric texts. Prior to this, most of Gaṇeśa’s appearances in literature have been in association with his birth, subsequent conflict with Śiva, his beheading, and the replacement of his human head with an elephant’s head. However, his immense popularity as a god of auspiciousness in contemporary India has given rise from the 1990s to a flood of devotional literature.

General Overviews

In this category are books that combine surveys of the historical development of Gaṇeśa as a deity with studies of his mythology and iconography. They can be regarded as introductions to the study of the deity without offering specializations found elsewhere in this bibliography. Getty 1971 is a pioneering work, outdated now because of its reliance on a small range of sources. Courtright 2001 is very strong on psychoanalytic interpretations of Gaṇeśa’s mythology and of his worship in contemporary Maharashtra. Brown 1991 consists of a collection of essays exploring different aspects of Gaṇeśa’s worship, iconography, and mythology. Martin-Dubost 1997 focuses substantially on Gaṇeśa’s iconography, but interprets this through the primary literary sources. Thapan 1997 is an excellent historical study of Gaṇeśa and his divine predecessors from the earliest occurrences before the Mahābhārata, and Krishan 1999 analyses Gaṇeśa’s development as a deity primarily through literary texts. Bailey 2009 is a brief introduction to Gaṇeśa’s mythology.

  • Bailey, Greg. “Gaṇeśa.” In Brill Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Vol. 1. Edited by Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, and Angelika Malinar, 51–63. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2009.

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    Identifies five historical stages in the development of Gaṇeśa as an independent deity in his own right. Discusses the themes of auspiciousness, the elephant head, and family relations as central to understanding the god’s mythology and ongoing popularity.

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    • Brown, R. L. GAṆEŚA: Studies of an Asian God. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1991.

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      Contains eleven essays covering Gaṇeśa’s earliest development in India, his rise to prominence in the Purāṇas, literature about Gaṇeśa, the artistic treatment of the god in Jainism, and different aspects of the deity as represented in the art and literature of other parts of Asia. An excellent starting point for dealing with the problems in studying the god.

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      • Courtright, Paul B. Gaṇeśa: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2001.

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        Divided into sections dealing with origins, mythology, ritual, and Gaṇeśa in a regional setting, this is almost a complete handbook about Gaṇeśa in India. It is a major advance on Getty 1971 and other earlier monographs in its use of contemporary hermeneutical tools for analyzing the god’s mythology and in its exploration of Gaṇeśa worship in contemporary Maharashtra. Originally published in 1985.

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        • Getty, Alice. Gaṇeśa: A Monograph on the Elephant-Faced God. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1971.

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          The earliest of a series of books that looks at Gaṇeśa from an historical perspective and traces his development outside India into China, Japan, Tibet, and Southeast Asia, as both a Hindu and a Buddhist deity. Also functions as an introduction to Gaṇeśa’s iconography. Raises questions about the god’s origins that have still not been answered. Originally published in 1936.

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          • Krishan, Yuvraj. Gaṇeśa: Unravelling an Enigma. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1999.

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            Primarily a collection of essays published earlier and now brought together in a single volume. It studies the history of the god’s emergence and his mythology, and is very strong on the depiction of Gaṇeśa in countries outside India. It is also strong on iconography, containing hundreds of pictures of the deity from many periods and in many styles.

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            • Martin-Dubost, P. Gaṇeśa, the Enchanter of the Three Worlds. Mumbai: Franco-Indian Research, 1997.

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              A very comprehensive work focusing primarily on Gaṇeśa’s mythology, including his attendants (the gaṇas) and the mothers, and the iconographical representations of this mythology. It contains wonderful illustrations and summarizes a number of texts about the god. It does, however, contain a slight devotional tinge. Almost a source book for the study of the god, with a very extensive bibliography.

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              • Thapan, Anita R. Understanding Gaṇapati: Insights into the Dynamics of a Cult. Delhi: Manohar, 1997.

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                An important recent work that traces elephant worship in India from Harappan times until Gaṇeśa appears as an independent deity in the Purāṇas. Focuses on his importance to the mercantile community as a powerful source of his popularity. Argues that in the Puṛāṇas the deity is associated with a process of brahmanization.

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                Encyclopedias

                There are two encyclopedic works devoted to Gaṇeśa, but they are not organized alphabetically along the lines of traditional encyclopedias. Rather, they are to be regarded primarily as source books of textual, epigraphical, and iconographical material for the study of Gaṇeśa. Gadgil 1968 is almost an encyclopedia of knowledge about Gaṇeśa, but its accessibility is substantially limited because it is written in Marathi. Ramachandra Rao 1992 is primarily a selection of Sanskrit texts relating to Gaṇeśa.

                • Gadgil, A. Śrī Gaṇeśa Kośa: Upāsaka āṇi abhāyāsaka āśā sarvāṃsaṭhī Gaṇeś daivataviṣayaka sādhanagrantha. Mumbai: Vorā, 1968.

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                  This contains a summary of Gaṇeśa’s appearance in myth in the Purāṇas and summaries of the contents of the Gaṇeśa- and Mudgala Purāṇas. It also mentions some of the inscriptions where Gaṇeśa occurs and lists and describes the rituals with which he has been worshiped. Its accessibility is substantially limited because it is written in Marathi.

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                  • Ramachandra Rao, S. K. Gaṇeśa-kosha: Being an Encyclopaedia on Gaṇeśa, also Containing Original Sanskrit Texts relating to Gaṇeśa. Bangalore, India: Kalpatharu Research Academy, 1992.

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                    Contains a collection of Sanskrit texts relating to Gaṇeśa, coming mainly from the Purāṇas. Utilizes texts that help explain why he became a popular deity and also provides many line drawings of Gaṇeśa from both within and outside India.

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                    Literature and Mythology

                    Literature about Gaṇeśa can be divided into three categories. The first comprises the body of mythic narratives relating to his birth, excessive closeness to Pārvatī, conflict with Śiva, decapitation, and assumption of an elephant head. Because Śiva plays such an essential role in these narratives, they cannot be regarded exclusively as texts pertaining to a specific cult of Gaṇeśa. The second category includes texts specifically devoted to Gaṇeśa, and encompasses the Purāṇas and works derived from them, texts that indicate the existence of a cult surrounding the god. A third category comprises Tāntric texts and some late Upaniṣads, both functioning as ritual handbooks for worshipers extracted from earlier literary sources.

                    Texts Relating to Gaṇeśa’s Birth

                    Virtually every major Śaivite Purāṇa contains the set of myths dealing with Gaṇeśa’s birth and decapitation. Probably the most complete and latest of these is the Śiva Purāṇa (2, 4, 13–20) version, translated by Board of Scholars 1970. Some Purāṇas, such as the Liṅga Purāṇa (104–105), translated by Board of Scholars 1973, however, make no mention of the decapitation. A good translation of one extended version of the myth is given in O’Flaherty 1975, and many are summarized and interpreted in Courtright 2001. Bailey 1995 discusses the specific reinterpretation of the Gaṇeśa family myths as made by the author(s) of the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa. Martin-Dubost 1997 gives a complete reworking of the birth myths in both the early Purāṇas.

                    • Bailey, Greg. The Gaṇeśa Purāṇa. Vol. 1. Upāsanākhanda. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz, 1995.

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                      On pp. 139–146, discusses how myths of family tension in the first book of the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa do not mention Gaṇeśa, Śiva, and Pārvatī, but do offer an ongoing attempt to understand the conflict and underlying tension between these three.

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                      • Board of Scholars. The Śiva-Purāṇa: Translated by a Board of Scholars. Vol. 2. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1970.

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                        This includes a translation of the most complete version of the series of myths resulting in Gaṇeśa’s acquisition of an elephant head due to Śiva’s violent behavior and subsequent admonishment by Pārvatī. Based on the Sanskrit text, Śiva Purāṇa (Kaśī: Paṇḍitapustakālaya. 1963).

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                        • Board of Scholars. Liṅga Purāṇa. Vol. 6. Part II. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1973.

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                          An instance, one of several, of a version of the birth myths that does not mention conflict between Śiva and Gaṇeśa. It simply records the birth of the god complete with the elephant head. Based on the Sanskrit text Liṅga Purāṇa of Sage Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasa, with Sanskrit commentary Sivatosini of Ganesa Natu, edited by J. L. Shastri (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1985).

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                          • Courtright, Paul B. Gaṇeśa: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2001.

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                            Chapters 2 and 3 deal with Gaṇeśa’s birth, decapitation, and his acquisition of an elephant head. Chapter 2 presents the main texts dealing with this, whereas chapter 3 (pp. 103–129) gives an interpretation of these motifs within the framework of the traditional Indian family structure. Originally published in 1985.

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                            • Martin-Dubost, Paul. Gaṇeśa: The Enchanter of the Three Worlds. Mumbai: Franco-Indian Research, 1997.

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                              In chapter 2 (pp. 41–70) there is a summary of the prominent birth accounts of Gaṇeśa in the older Mahāpurāṇas. It includes many photographs of images, sculptures, and paintings directly illustrating the different forms of the god’s birth and pictures of a joyful family group, somewhat at odds with the tensions underlying them.

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                              • O’Flaherty, W. D. Hindu Myths. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975.

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                                Gives a translation of the version of the myth from the Bṛhaddharma Purāṇa. See pp. 261–269.

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                                Texts Directly about Gaṇeśa

                                These differ from the previous category of texts, in which Gaṇeśa is just one among several gods and goddesses functioning in interaction with Śiva. In this group of texts, consisting of the Gaṇeśa- and Mudgala Purāṇas, both likely dating from about the 14th century, Gaṇeśa is placed at center stage. Of these, the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa is certainly the best known. It has been edited three times and summarized in vernacular languages, especially in Marathi, and was reworked in modern Tamil in 1730.

                                Gaṇeśa Purāṇa

                                This text of approximately eleven thousand verses contains mythic narratives, descriptions of rituals to be performed to the god, and a list of his thousand names, all typical features of a Purāṇa. It was probably composed in Maharashtra or possibly even in Varanasi, though its date of composition remains open, but it is probably not more than seven hundred years old. Hazra 1951 is a short study of the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa, and Raghavan 1960 compares the Sanskrit and Tamil versions of the text. Yoroi 1968 is a translation of the Gaṇeśagītā, a text embedded in the second book of the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa, and Sharma 1993 is an accessible edition of the Sanskrit text. Bailey 1995 and Bailey 2008 give a translation and study of the Sanskrit version of the text.

                                • Bailey, Greg. The Gaṇeśa Purāṇa. Vol. 1. Upāsanākhanda. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz, 1995.

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                                  Full translation and study of the first volume of the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa based on five manuscripts and three printed editions. Includes a translation of the thousand names of Gaṇeśa as chapter 46. Contains extensive notes outlining the literary structure of the text and analysis of the mythology found in the text.

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                                  • Bailey, Greg. The Gaṇeśa Purāṇa. Vol. 2. Krīḍākhaṇḍa. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz, 2008.

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                                    Full translation and study of the second volume of the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa. Includes a translation of the Gaṇeśagītā and an introduction providing a historical contextualization of the text, which the author dates to about the 14th century CE.

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                                    • Hazra, R. C. “The Gaṇeśa Purāṇa.” Journal of the Gaṅganātha Jha Research Institute 9 (1951): 79–99.

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                                      Gives an accurate survey of the contents of the text and an indication of its manuscript spread, and attempts a dating of between the 11th and 14th centuries.

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                                      • Raghavan, Venkatarama. “Tamil Versions of the Purāṇas.” Purāṇa 2.1–2 (1960): 225–242.

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                                        A most useful article comparing Sanskrit and Tamil versions of the same Purāṇas. Argues that the Tamil version of the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa, called Vināyakapurāṇam, composed in 1730, was based both on the Sanskrit version and a collection of tales about the god called Vināyakamāhātmyam.

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                                        • Sharma, Ram Karan. Gaṇeśa Purāṇa. New Delhi: Nag, 1993.

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                                          A reprint of the 1892 edition of the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa published by Gopal Narayan and Sons. Contains a brief introduction and the complete text of the Purāṇa with quarter verse index, but is somewhat marred by printing mistakes.

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                                          • Yoroi, Kiyoshi. Gaṇeśagītā: A Study, Translation with Notes, and Condensed Rendering of the Commentary of Nīlakaṇṭha. The Hague: Mouton, 1968.

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                                            The earliest translation of the Gaṇeśagītā. Contextualizes the text in his introduction and also provides translations of extracts from Nīlakaṇṭha’s 17th-century commentary. The text can be found edited in Sharma 1993.

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                                            Mudgala Purāṇa

                                            This Purāṇa contains some common material with the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa and is divided into eight books, each telling how Gaṇeśa under a particular name defeats a manifestation of a psychological state such as jealousy, delusion, and vanity, all being obstacles to a pure knowledge of the self. The voluminous Mudgala Purāṇa has been edited only once and never translated. Granoff 1991 is an excellent survey of its metaphysical treatment of Gaṇeśa and its recommendation of yogic practices to reach the god. Grimes 1995 illustrates the meaning of some of Gaṇeśa’s names with reference to the Mudgala Purāṇa, and Martin-Dubost 1997 provides a brief summary of its contents.

                                            • Granoff, Phyllis. “Gaṇeśa as Metaphor: The Mudgala Purāṇa.” In GAṆEŚA: Studies of an Asian God. Edited by Robert L. Brown, 85–99. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1991.

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                                              The only accessible study of the Mudgala Purāṇa. Focusses on its metaphysical teachings and especially its reinterpretation of some important Upaniṣadic concepts. Also looks at the sense in which yogic practice and philosophy, reflecting the view that Gaṇeśa himself is yoga, are developed in this text.

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                                              • Grimes, John. Ganapati: Song of the Self. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1995.

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                                                On pp. 47–49 translates and summarizes a few passages of the Mudgala Purāṇa illustrative of particular names of the god. These are significant given that some of the cults centered on the worship of the god distinguished themselves by the names by which they worshipped the god.

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                                                • Martin-Dubost, P. Gaṇeśa: The Enchanter of the Three Worlds. Mumbai: Franco-Indian Research, 1997.

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                                                  At pp. 72–82 provides a summary of the contents of the eight sections of the Mudgala Purāṇa. Also includes photographs of images illustrating the particular forms of Gaṇeśa that form the substance of these sections.

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                                                  • Mudgala Purāṇa. Bombay: Nirṇayasāgara, 1976.

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                                                    The only accessible edition of the Sanskrit text.

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                                                    Gaṇeśa in Tantric Literature

                                                    It is only recently that the importance of Gaṇeśa as a deity important in Tantric texts has become apparent. Gudrun Bühnemann is the only scholar who has worked extensively on this and has published some pioneering books on the subject. Her work is valuable for illustrating Tantric rituals centered on Gaṇeśa, rituals still performed today, and some of the many forms of the god, each with their own specific name, that have attracted attention from devotees. Bühnemann 1987 studies Gaṇeśa worship in one of the oldest Tantric texts dealing with his worship, while Bühnemann 2003 offers a complete study of a more recent Tantric ritual centered on the god. Bühnemann 2008 studies some images of the deity and associated mantras prescribed by the Vidyārṇavatantra. Wilkinson 1991 summarizes the contents of some Gaṇeśa Tantric texts preserved in Tibetan translation, whereas Bühnemann 1994 suggests that some of the technical terms in Wilkinson 1991 need revision and studies some other Tantric texts preserved in Sanskrit and Tibetan translation.

                                                    • Bühnemann, Gudrun. “Tantric Worship of Gaṇeśa according to the Prapañcasāra.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 137 (1987): 358–382.

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                                                      Translates the seventh chapter of the Prapañcasāra, possibly the oldest (11th-century CE) Tantric text dealing with the worship of Gaṇeśa. Important because of its antiquity, it is also the basis of most other Tantric ritual texts dealing with Gaṇeśa, even where the god is called under different names. Also available online.

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                                                      • Bühnemann, Gudrun “Two Forms of Gaṇapati in the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Tradition.” Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens 8 (1994): 201–211.

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                                                        Valuable article that describes images of a dancing Gaṇeśa with twelve arms, four legs, and a six-armed three-headed image, based on descriptions in some medieval Tantric texts in Sanskrit and Tibetan. Contains an edition of the short Gaṇapatisādhana and drawings of the relevant images. Expands on Wilkinson 1991.

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                                                        • Bühnemann, Gudrun. The Worship of Mahāgaṇapati according to the Nityotsava. Delhi: Kant, 2003

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                                                          A study and translation of the second chapter of the Nityotsava, a Tantric text composed in 1745. This chapter deals specifically with Gaṇeśa rituals and provides the basis for rituals performed in present-day Maharashtra. An appendix contains photographs of a performance of the ritual described in the text. Originally published by Insitut für Indologie, Wichtrach, Switzerland in 1988.

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                                                          • Bühnemann, Gudrun. Tantric Forms of Gaṇeśa according to the Vidyārṇavatantra. New Delhi: D.K. Print World, 2008.

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                                                            A study of fourteen forms of Gaṇeśa and the mantras associated with them based on a medieval Tantric text. An important book because many of the forms the author describes on the basis of the text are found illustrated on the walls of Gaṇeśa temples today. Originally published as Forms of Gaṇeśa: A Study Based on the Vidyārṇavatantra (Wichtrach, Switzerland: Insitut für Indologie, 1989).

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                                                            • Wilkinson, Christopher. “The Tantric Gaṇeśa: Texts preserved in the Tibetan Canon.” In GAṆEŚA: Studies of an Asian God. Edited by Robert L. Brown, 235–275. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1991.

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                                                              Translates fifteen short texts, the earliest being from the 8th or 9th century, and provides an historical introduction to them. None of them belong to a specific category, but “Gaṇeśa is presented as a deity from whom food, wealth, sex, and supernatural attainments may be received” (p. 235). He is generally regarded as an emanation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara.

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                                                              Other Literature

                                                              Most of the other texts dealing with Gaṇeśa have not been edited or translated. These consist mainly of collections of rituals and hymns of praise to the god, usually very late productions and derivative of early Purāṇic and Tantric texts. The Vināyakamāhātmya is a short collection of myths about Gaṇeśa; Bühnemann 1984 contains a complete translation of the brief, but important, Atharvaśiras Upaniṣad; and Bühnemann 1987 is a study of the late Vallabheśa Upaniṣad.

                                                              • Bühnemann, Gudrun. “Some remarks on the Structure and Application of Hindu Sanskrit Stotras.” Wiener Zeitschrift fūr die Kunde Südasiens 27 (1984): 73–104.

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                                                                This is a study of the important generic form, the stotra, a hymn of praise encoding considerable theological information about a particular god. Contains a complete translation of the short Gaṇeśātharvaśīrṣa Upaniṣad, a very popular 17th-century text. Also in Courtright 2001 (pp. 252–254) (cited under General Overviews).

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                                                                • Bühnemann, Gudrun. “The Vallabheśa-Upaniṣad.” Indo-Iranian Journal 30 (1987): 243–263.

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                                                                  Edition, translation, and study of a Tantric Upaniṣad dealing with Mahāgaṇapati. This brief text offers a philosophical disquisition about the shape and appearance of Gaṇeśa and how he performs cosmogonic functions and creates obstacles, among other things. It also explains why Vallabheśa is Kaśyapa’s sister’s husband, lists some of his mantras, and gives brief details appropriate to the time and place of his worship.

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                                                                  • Vināyakamāhātmya. Bombay: Nirṇayasāgar, 1930.

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                                                                    The only edition of a medieval Purāṇic type text containing about twelve myths about Gaṇeśa. Some of these are also found in the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa, but others must have come from an as-yet-unidentified body of myths about the god.

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                                                                    Historical Development

                                                                    It is easier to trace Gaṇeśa’s development through iconography than through literature and epigraphy. In a tradition as rich as Hinduism, it is difficult to trace the origin of any god and perhaps pointless, but this is especially so with Gaṇeśa, who does not appear in Vedic literature. His development extends through an association with an auspicious unnamed elephant deity and with Vināyaka, a demigod believed to create obstacles for people, finally to become an independent deity combining both elephants, and a part of Śiva’s family. In the past five centuries he has become a completely independent god, often linked with Lakṣmī, a goddess heavily associated with auspiciousness.

                                                                    Beginnings

                                                                    One of the major questions concerning Gaṇeśa is the emergence of the god in the literary and iconographical record. Despite attempts to trace the origins of the deity to early Vedic literature, there is virtually no real evidence for an elephant-headed god in these texts, nor in the two Sanskrit epics. Only in some Gṛhyasūtras, composed around the beginning of the Common Era, is there mention of a class of demigods called Vināyaka, whose task was to create obstacles for people. Images of an elephant-headed god have been traced back to the 1st century BCE, but it is disputed as to whether this is Gaṇeśa. Narain 1991 argues for a post-Vedic origin for Gaṇeśa, and Dhavalikar 1991 focusses on Vināyakas as the predecessor of Gaṇeśa, in association with the cult of an elephant deity. Von Simson 1992 offers an intriguing thesis that Gaṇeśa may have derived from the Vedic Vṛtra, who was a Lord of Obstacles. Krishan 1999 cites a few disputed Vedic passages while searching in vain for a Vedic Gaṇeśa, and Thapan 1997 gives a thorough survey of all the literary and inscriptional evidence regarding Gaṇeśa’s predecessors in the Gṛhyasūtras and the Mahābhārata. A completely different approach is Michael 1983, which focuses on the origins of Gaṇeśa worship in the god’s connection with agriculture.

                                                                    • Dhavalikar, M. K. “Gaṇeśa: Myth and Reality.” In GAṆEŚA: Studies of an Asian God. Edited by Robert L. Brown, 49–68. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1991.

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                                                                      Argues for an earlier date than Narain 1991 for the appearance of Gaṇeśa. Focuses on some Kushana images dating from between the 1st and 3rd century CE, and a terracotta image from Andhra Pradesh dated to before 300 CE. Because of their dwarflike appearance, the author identifies these images as Vināyaka, creator of obstacles, rather than as Gaṇeśa, remover of obstacles. Also evokes the significance of the elephant cult in northern India.

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                                                                      • Krishan, Yuvraj. Gaṇeśa: Unravelling an Enigma. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1999.

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                                                                        Chapter 3 reviews the evidence pertaining to the mention of Gaṇeśa in Vedic literature, arguing that he was not a Vedic deity and that “Gaṇeśa verses” in the Maitrāyaṇī Saṃhitā are interpolations. Chapter 6 also argues that the reference in the first book of the Mahābhārata to Gaṇeśa as the writer of the Mahābhārata is a late interpolation.

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                                                                        • Michael, S. M. “The Origin of the Ganapati Cult.” Asian Folklore Studies 42.1 (1983): 91–116.

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                                                                          Argues that Gaṇeśa may have been universally regarded as auspicious because of his connection with agriculture. This is reflected in folk literature and current harvest festivals in Maharashtra, where a mouse is worshipped, to stop it from eating the grain, along with an image of Gaṇeśa.

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                                                                          • Narain, A. K. “Gaṇeśa: A Protohistory of the Idea and the Icon.” In GAṆEŚA: Studies of an Asian God. Edited by Robert L. Brown, 19–48. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1991.

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                                                                            Seeks to discover why Gaṇeśa apparently appears suddenly on the Hindu scene, since there are few if any traces of him in literature before the earliest Purāṇas. Argues that he is not a Vedic deity, but derives from an elephant deity existing outside of Vedic tradition and that he really emerges as a creator/destroyer of obstacles in the 4th–5th century CE.

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                                                                            • Thapan, Anita. Understanding Ganapati: Insights into the Dynamics of a Cult. Delhi: Manohar, 1997.

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                                                                              Summarizes all previous studies and is very useful because of that, but is unable to go beyond where most of these studies conclude. Contains an extended study of elephant symbolism in Vedic, Buddhist, and Jain literature, and argues that the origin of the Purāṇic Gaṇeśa must be sought here, in the figure of the Vināyakas and in the group of youthful demigods named gaṇas.

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                                                                              • Von Simson, Georg. “Gaṇeśa and Vṛtra.” In Philosophy, Grammar and Indology: Essays in Honour of Professor Gustav Roth. Edited by H. S. Prasad, 339–350. Bibliotheca Indo-Buddhica Series 20. Delhi: Sri Satguru, 1992.

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                                                                                An intriguing article arguing that Gaṇeśa may have developed out of the Vedic Vṛtra, who was a Lord of Obstacles. Like Vṛtra, Gaṇeśa is associated with snakes and, in Purāṇic mythology, with the waning moon. Additionally, cites an episode in one Purāṇa where Indra’s power is transferred to Gaṇeśa through the head of Indra’s elephant being placed on Gaṇeśa.

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                                                                                As Part of Śiva’s Family

                                                                                In the earliest Purāṇas, 400 CE and beyond, Gaṇeśa becomes well known as Śiva’s son and brother of Skanda. In most of the Mahāpurāṇas, his prominent role is as Śiva’s son, though increasingly in the medieval period he was worshiped in his own right. Rocher 1991 is a superb brief study of the god’s development in the early Purāṇas, while Yuvraj 1999 offers a more extensive survey of the same literature.

                                                                                • Rocher, Ludo. “Gaṇeśa’s Rise to Prominence in Sanskrit Literature.” In GAṆEŚA: Studies of an Asian God. Edited by R. L. Brown, 69–83. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1991.

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                                                                                  Learned analysis of the development of Gaṇeśa in the Purāṇas. Rightly suggests that the myths in them focus on only a small number of incidents: his birth and parenthood, his elephant head, and his single tusk. Asks why it is that the god is virtually absent from the Mahābhārata, which claims comprehensive status in most other areas of the culture.

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                                                                                  • Yuvraj, Krishan. Gaṇeśa: Unravelling an Enigma. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1999.

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                                                                                    In his long chapter 3, the author deals with some of the issues raised by Rocher 1991 and also includes a short section on Gaṇeśa and Skanda. He also asks why the rat was his vehicle, why the snake became his ornament, and whether the god was celibate or a householder.

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                                                                                    As the Writer of the Mahābhārata

                                                                                    At the beginning of the vulgate edition (1, 1, 77–83) of the Mahābhārata, and in P. C. Roy’s 19th-century translation, Gaṇeśa is depicted writing down the Mahābhārata at Vyāsa’s request when the latter was orally reciting it. This episode has partially contributed to the god being associated in contemporary India with writing and letters. It is also used to account for his images often only having one tusk—the other being used to write the Mahābhārata—and it is an episode very well known to contemporary Gaṇeśa devotees. But it has been rejected as an indication that Gaṇeśa was regarded as an important deity at the time of the Mahābhārata (200 BCE–200 CE), and in the Critical Edition it is relegated to an appendix (lines 7–15, notes to Appendix 1). The brief episode does not occur in any of the southern manuscripts of the Mahābhārata and some of the Kashmiri versions, yet it is summarized in Rājaśekhara’s 10th-century play called Pracaṇḍapāṇḍava Nāṭaka. Winternitz 1898 argues that this episode was probably not part of the Mahābhārata even in Rājaśekhara’s time, in part because it is not included in an earlier summary of the Mahābhārata composed by Kṣemendra. Martin-Dubost 1997 does not question whether it is a late interpolation, whereas Krishan 1999 argues quite the opposite. Courtright 2001 accepts it as a late interpolation but interprets the episode in terms of Gaṇeśa’s role as creator and destroyer of obstacles. Adluri 2010 argues that it is irrelevant whether this is a late addition, suggesting instead that it offers a new clue to a comprehensive reading of the Mahābhārata.

                                                                                    • Adluri, Vishwa. “The Perils of Textual Transmission: Decapitation and Recapitulation.” Seminar 608 (April 2010): 48–54.

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                                                                                      A unique piece that argues the fundamental importance of this episode as a key for interpreting the epic and Gaṇeśa as a deity who stimulates the need for “textual and philosophical understanding.” Gaṇeśa is the first reader of the epic and highlights an infusion of the “consciousness” of the true meaning of birth, death, andsacrifice as dominant themes in the epic.

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                                                                                      • Courtright, Paul B. Gaṇeśa: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2001.

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                                                                                        Argues that this episode is very well known to contemporary Hindus. Its appearance at the beginning of the epic is entirely appropriate in illustrating Gaṇeśa’s role as the preeminent god who can facilitate the removal of obstacles, here in the act of writing, where writing is an act of bringing “word and sense into form.” Originally published in 1985. See pp. 151–153.

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                                                                                        • Krishan, Yuvraj. Gaṇeśa: Unravelling an Enigma. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1999.

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                                                                                          On the basis of a few scant references argues that any attributions of Gaṇeśa and Vināyaka in the Mahābhārata are interpolations. See chapter 6.

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                                                                                          • Martin-Dubost, P. Gaṇeśa, The Enchanter of the Three Worlds. Mumbai: Franco-Indian Research, 1997.

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                                                                                            Summarizes the story from Mahābhārata 1, 61–1, 83, accepting tacitly that it is evidence for Gaṇeśa’s presence in the epic. Translates Rājaśekhara’s poetic depiction of the meeting between Vyāsa and Vālmīki where the Gaṇeśa episode is retold and includes some wonderful illustrations of this episode in 17th- and 18th- century Indian miniature painting. See pp. 35–39.

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                                                                                            • Winternitz, Moriz. “Gaṇeśa in the Mahābhārata.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1898): 380–384.

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                                                                                              Argues that the episode of Gaṇeśa writing the Mahābhārata was not an original part of the epic text and that it is unlikely that the 10th-century account of this episode found in a play of Rājaśekhara comes from the Mahābhārata instead of from some other source. Suggests that Gaṇeśa was not an important deity in the epic pantheon.

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                                                                                              Development of Cults and Worship of Gaṇeśa

                                                                                              Contemporary Gaṇeśa rituals are treated in the literature listed under the section Gaṇeśa’s Appropriation in Contemporary Indian Politics. But in the medieval period, there appear to have been six sectarian groupings centered on Gaṇeśa worship, groupings that continued to have an influence in Maharashtra up until the 16th century. These groupings worshiped different forms of Gaṇeśa under different names. The primary source dealing with these is the 14th-century hagiography of Śaṅkara, entitled Śaṅkaravijaya, edited by Veezhinathan 1971. Preston 1980 studies the sacred centers to Gaṇeśa located around Pune and associated with the Gāṇapatya cults. Courtright 2001 also summarizes the orthodox and Tantric aspects of the Gāṇapatya cults and traces them to the lineage of important Gaṇeśa worshipers begun by Morayā Gosavī in mid-17th-century Maharashtra. Krishan 1999 collects material about the same groups and their promotion of Gaṇeśa through literature.

                                                                                              • Courtright, Paul B. Gaṇeśa: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2001.

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                                                                                                Briefly discusses the six sects on pp. 217–226 and then focuses on the career of Morayā Gosavī, the founder of an important lineage of Gaṇeśa worshipers in central Maharashtra. Outlines the continuation of the lineage through the support of the Peshwas until the early decades of the 19th century. Originally published in 1985.

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                                                                                                • Krishan, Yuvraj. Gaṇeśa: Unravelling an Enigma. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1999.

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                                                                                                  Chapters 8 and 9 deal with the six Gāṇapatya cults and the promotion of the Gaṇeśa cults after the 10th century. Considers Gaṇeśa literature as evidence of expansion of the cult, but tends to accept too early a date for the two Purāṇas dealing with the god.

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                                                                                                  • Preston, Laurence W. “Subregional Religious Centers in the History of Maharashtra: The Sites Sacred to Ganesh.” In Images of Maharashtra. A Regional Profile of India. Edited by N. K. Wagle, 102–128. London: Curzon, London, 1980.

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                                                                                                    An excellent article that discusses the sacred sites to Gaṇeśa mainly located around Pune, sites popularized by the Gāṇapatya sects. Uses inscriptions and the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa to give geographical specificity to the sites he discusses.

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                                                                                                    • Thapan, R. Understanding Gaṇapati: Insights into the Dynamics of a Cult. Delhi: Manohar, 1997.

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                                                                                                      Reviews all of the evidence pertaining to the development of the six cults in chapter 6.

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                                                                                                      • Veezhinathan, N., ed. Anantānandagiripraṇītam Ṡrīśaṅkaravijayam. Śrī Śaṅkaravijaya. Madras University Philosophical Series no. 16. Madras: Centre of Advanced Study in Philosophy, University of Madras, 1971.

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                                                                                                        The principal source of knowledge about the sects, both orthodox and Tantric. Chapters 15–18 summarize the teachings of the six Gāṇapatya sects. Not yet available in translation.

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                                                                                                        Gaṇeśa’s Appropriation in Contemporary Indian Politics

                                                                                                        Most studies of Gaṇeśa in contemporary India have been devoted to his appropriation by political groups involved in anticolonial activity or in Hindu nationalist activities from the 1990s. Most of these are primarily devoted to Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s use of Gaṇeśa’s most important public festival, his Fourth–more commonly known as Ganesh Caturthi, to mobilize political support. Barnouw 1954 is a fine early study of the politicization of this festival, while Courtright 2001 covers similar ground, though in a much more recent time frame. Fuller 2001 studies the political use of this festival in South India, and Kaur 2003 offers a fine study of both the festival and the development of a militant Gaṇeśa in western India.

                                                                                                        • Barnouw, V. “The Changing Character of a Hindu Festival.” American Anthropologist 56.1 (1954): 74–86.

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                                                                                                          An excellent short article, tracing how after 1893 what was basically a family affair in the performance of Gaṇeśa’s Fourth became a large-scale public festival in Maharashtra. Describes the ten-day festival in Pune in 1952 as performed by a particular family, then provides details of the public festival, which even then was being popularized by various Hindu Right groups, even though some Muslims participated in the festival.

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                                                                                                          • Courtright, Paul B. Gaṇeśa: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2001.

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                                                                                                            Covers ground similar to Barnouw 1954 but shows how both the public and private rituals have evolved since 1952. Argues that the Festival of the Fourth supports social solidarity, but also brings forth group differentiation, one of the reasons as to why it can be used to deliver political and nationalistic messages. Originally published in 1985.

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                                                                                                            • Fuller, C. J. “The ‘Vinayaka Chaturthi’ Festival and Hindutva in Tamil Nadu.” Economic and Political Weekly 36.19 (May 2001): 1607–1616.

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                                                                                                              Extends the study of Gaṇeśa’s most important festival to Tamil Nadu. Shows how in the past twenty years the festive celebration of Gaṇeśa’s Fourth has been taken up by several prominent groups associated with the Hindu Right in order to consolidate a sense of Hindu unity among the population. Full of interesting material dealing with the transactions surrounding the construction and use of Gaṇeśa images during the festival.

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                                                                                                              • Kaur, R. Performative Polities and the Cultures of Hinduism. Delhi: Permanent Black, 2003.

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                                                                                                                An excellent study of the way in which Gaṇapati worship has been used to integrate anticolonial political movements and nationalistic movements in contemporary India. Includes, in chapter 4, a very insightful study of how Gaṇeśa’s Fourth is experienced intellectually and affectually by devotees. Includes many photographs of warlike images of the god.

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                                                                                                                Gaṇeśa and the Goddess

                                                                                                                An important part of Gaṇeśa’s mythology concerns his troubled role with women. He is very frequently depicted in literature with two wives, usually named Siddhi and Buddhi, with whom he seems to have an entirely celibate relationship. There is some early iconographic evidence that he may appear with Lakṣmī, and in contemporary India this is very common. Both represent different aspects of prosperity. But he also appears with Sarasvatī and, in West Bengal, with Durgā. Finally, there is some evidence of a female form of Vināyaka, named Vaināyakī, but identifying images of this deity has proven very difficult. Agrawala 1978 is a short monograph on Vaināyakī, while Martin-Dubost 1997 presents some excellent illustrations of this goddess. Cohen 1991 offers a comprehensive discussion of Gaṇeśa’s wives in traditional literature and in contemporary India today, while Bailey 2008 analyzes Pārvatī’s relation with Gaṇeśa in the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa.

                                                                                                                • Agrawala, P. K. Goddess Vināyakī: The Female Gaṇeśa. Indian Civilisation Series 20. Varanasi, India: Prithivi Prakashan, 1978.

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                                                                                                                  Argues that Vināyakī is derived from an elephant-headed deity named Jyeṣṭha of the 1st century CE, perhaps associated with Gaṇeśa’s own possible derivation from a Yakṣa figure. Traces references through late-Vedic ancillary texts and the Purāṇas.

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                                                                                                                  • Bailey, Greg. “Pārvatī as Creator of Māyā or Victim of Māyā: The Role of Gaṇeśa’s Mother in the Gaṇeśapurāṇa.” In The Iconic Female: Goddess of India, Nepal and Tibet. Edited by J. Bapat and I. Mabbett, 43–65. Melbourne, Australia: Monash University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                    Discusses Pārvatī’s incapacity to see beyond Gaṇeśa’s embodiment as her son, failing to see him as a god. Includes summaries of some of the myths from the first book of the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa illustrating this theme.

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                                                                                                                    • Cohen, Lawrence. “The Wives of Gaṇeśa.” In GAṆEŚA: Studies of an Asian God. Edited by Robert L. Brown, 115–139. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1991.

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                                                                                                                      Reviews the textual evidence for the role of Gaṇeśa’s wives and looks extensively at the problem of the god having wives while being celibate. Concludes that this reflects a tension he always had with his mother Pārvatī. Demonstrates the wide divergences in contemporary India of people’s understanding of the status of Gaṇeśa’s wives.

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                                                                                                                      • Martin-Dubost, P. Gaṇeśa, The Enchanter of the Three Worlds. Mumbai: Franco-Indian Research, 1997.

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                                                                                                                        Chapter 13 deals with Gaṇeśa’s relations with the seven or eight mothers as they appear in the Purāṇas, demi-goddesses who are required to help him in all things. Chapter 15 provides a brief summary of Vināyakī, an elephant-headed deity depicted in a woman’s body. About thirty images have been found, dating from the 10th century CE, and the name Vināyakī occurs in a number of Purāṇas.

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                                                                                                                        Iconography and Painting

                                                                                                                        Gaṇeśa images have been found from as early as the 3rd century CE and from as far as India to Japan, and an extremely rich iconography of the god has developed. This has been motivated by the need to have images of the god in most Hindu temples but also because of the production of disposable images, often made of clay, for use in Gaṇeśa’s Fourth, his most important ritual. In addition, small images of Gaṇeśa can be found for sale at markets all over the world in the present day. Brown 1991 discusses the connections between Indian and Southeast Asian images of Gaṇeśa. Pal 1995 contains ten essays about the spread of Gaṇeśa images and their significance in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Martin-Dubost 1997 is the most comprehensive treatment of Gaṇeśa iconography and painting. Krishan 1999 has a brief chapter on the development of Gaṇeśa’s iconography and a useful explanation as to why Gaṇeśa is so often depicted in Buddhist art as being trampled on by Mahākāla or some other Buddhist deity. To this can be added a huge recent production of paintings of Gaṇeśa, resulting in works painted in almost every style of Indian art and even in Tibetan thangkas (religious paintings on silk). His portrayal in painting is much more recent than his depiction in stone, bronze, and terracotta. Finally, Bandhopadhyay 2004 is a fine example of over one hundred paintings by the Bengali artist and Gaṇeśa devotee Ramanada Bandopadhyay. Bühnemann 2006 illustrates and explains some rare erotic depictions of Gaṇeśa in sculpture and painting.

                                                                                                                        • Bandhopadhyay, Ramanada. Ganesha: The Power, the Passion and the Paradox. Ganesha Paintings by Ramananda Bandyopadhyay. Kolkata: Gallery Sanskriti, 2004.

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                                                                                                                          Wonderful coffee table book of paintings by a contemporary Bengali artist, including comments by him about his spiritual and artistic approach to Gaṇeśa. Excellent text by Kishore Chatterjee, commenting on the themes in the paintings and the manner in which they have been directly inspired by Gaṇeśa’s mythology.

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                                                                                                                          • Brown, Robert L. “Gaṇeśa in Southeast Asian Art: Indian Connections and Indigenous Developments.” In GAṆEŚA: Studies of an Asian God. Edited by R. L. Brown, 171–233. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1991.

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                                                                                                                            Represents a major advance on Getty 1971 (cited under General Overviews), which was the first work to discuss Gaṇeśa images in Southeast Asian art. Looks at what is specific in Southeast Asian forms as opposed to what is foreshadowed in Indian prototypes. Argues that a distinctive Southeast Asian form developed very early on, probably in the 6th/7th century, and suggests that this emphasized humanoid rather than elephantine features.

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                                                                                                                            • Bühnemann, Gudrun. “Erotic Forms of Gaṇeśa in Hindu and Buddhist Iconography.” In Script and Image: Papers on Art and Epigraphy. Papers of the 12th World Sanskrit Conference held in Helsinki, Finland, 13–18 July, 2003, Vol. 11.1. Edited by A. J. Gail, G. J. R. Mevissen, and R. Salomon, 15–28 and plates I–III. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2006.

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                                                                                                                              An excellent piece that cites some rare examples of erotic depictions of Hindu Gaṇeśa, then looks at more common forms in Indo-Tibetan and Tibetan traditions. Tantric texts describe him having intercourse with his consort, but this is not commonly depicted in Hindu art. Includes some fine color illustrations.

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                                                                                                                              • Krishan, Yuvraj. Gaṇeśa: Unravelling an Enigma. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                Chapter 14 gives a good, if brief, historical survey of the development of Gaṇeśa iconography, focusing on him as a subsidiary deity to Śiva, as an independent deity, and on his vehicles, predominantly the rat. Chapters 12–13 provide useful summaries of his role in Buddhism. Figures 161–174 illustrate Gaṇeśa as he appears in Tibetan and Japanese art.

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                                                                                                                                • Martin-Dubost, P. Gaṇeśa: The Enchanter of the Three Worlds. Mumbai: Franco-Indian Research, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                  The most complete book on the iconography and painting of Gaṇeśa, containing hundreds of black-and-white and color plates, a very long chapter on the forms of Gaṇeśa, and lengthy chapters on Gaṇeśa’s attributes and colors. Many of the individual forms are traced back to specific texts.

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                                                                                                                                  • Pal, Pratapaditya. Ganesh: The Benevolent. Bombay: MARG, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                    A collection of ten essays by distinguished scholars on the spread of Gaṇeśa images throughout South, Southeast, and East Asia and even in the British Museum. Includes essays on Gaṇeśa in Buddhist and Jain art and one delightful piece on collecting Gaṇeśa images in India.

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                                                                                                                                    Modern Devotional Works on Gaṇeśa

                                                                                                                                    This section has been included to account for the many recently appearing coffee table books devoted to Gaṇeśa. Each of these typically includes a small treatment of history, mythology, and ritual, based on scholarly sources, and sprinkles this with some striking photos of Gaṇeśa images and line drawings. They constitute a body of literature that would be widely utilized by middle-class Hindus and so must be taken seriously by scholars of Gaṇeśa, even if just as primary sources for a contemporary understanding of the god. Nagar 1992 is a semi-scholarly work with extracts from many texts, but has a strong devotional tinge about it. Jagannathan and Krishna 1992 focuses on the auspicious positive aspects of Gaṇeśa, while Shankar and Shankar 2003 contains minimal text but includes many photographs of Gaṇeśa images and Gaṇeśa festivals. Grimes 1995 is a scholarly work by an American scholar who also attempts to explain his own emotive/spiritual experience of Gaṇeśa.

                                                                                                                                    • Grimes, John. Ganapati: Song of the Self. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                      A learned book written by an American scholar of Hinduism who attempts to show how he personally reacts to Gaṇeśa as he is presented in texts, iconography, and sacred places. Based on a wide range of texts and scholarly literature, but with a strong attempt at defining an “affective” response to Gaṇeśa.

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                                                                                                                                      • Jagannathan, Shakunthala, and Nanditha Krishna. Ganesha, The Auspicious . . . The Beginning. Bombay: Vakils, Feffer & Simons, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                        Similar to Nagar 1992. It offers a general introduction to the devotee, with summaries of the Gaṇeśa birth myths, and some fine photographs of images of the deity. Almost certainly written by devotees, so focuses on the auspicious side of Gaṇeśa.

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                                                                                                                                        • Nagar, Shanti Lal. The Cult of Vinayaka. New Delhi: Intellectual Pub. House, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                          Covers most aspects of Gaṇeśa mythology, iconography, and worship over the last two millennia, but does not add much to what is found in earlier scholarly works. However, it is a good example of a text designed for contemporary Gaṇeśa worshipers, attempting to be very comprehensive while containing a strong devotional ambience.

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                                                                                                                                          • Shankar, Sondeep, and Archana Shankar. Ganesha: The Lord of Beginnings. New Delhi: Har-Anand, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                            Mainly a book of photographs of some spectacular Gaṇeśa images representing many different varieties of appearance. Also includes some excellent shots of crowds attending Gaṇeśa’s Fourth, his most venerated festival, showing huge images of the god being drawn along by crowds of people.

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                                                                                                                                            Gaṇeśa outside India

                                                                                                                                            Because of his early inclusion into the Tantric pantheon of gods and his presence in Buddhist pantheons, Gaṇeśa was quickly transported to China and from there to Korea and Japan. Iconographic evidence suggests he was being depicted in sculpture from at least 531 CE. He entered Japan when Buddhism arrived there in the late 6th century CE and he entered Tibet in the 8th century. He had already entered Southeast Asia several centuries earlier, and distinct iconographic styles developed around him. Getty 1971 offers a pioneering study of Gaṇeśa iconography outside India, and this study may be regarded as the base from which others developed. Lancaster 1991 and Sanford 1991 are both specialist articles dealing with negative aspects of Vināyaka in Buddhist texts and the dual Gaṇeśa in Japanese Buddhism, respectively. Both are advancements on Getty 1971. Krishan 1999 offers a general survey of Gaṇeśa outside India with many accompanying photographs.

                                                                                                                                            • Getty, Alice. Gaṇeśa: A Monograph on the Elephant-Faced God. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1971.

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                                                                                                                                              Chapters 5–8 survey Gaṇeśa iconography and painting outside India, including China, Japan, Tibet, and Southeast Asia. Now somewhat dated, but still an important contribution. Originally published in 1936.

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                                                                                                                                              • Krishan, Yuvraj. Gaṇeśa: Unravelling an Enigma. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                Offers a survey rather than specialist scholarship, yet it is still very useful in summarizing much recent scholarship done by others. Also contains short sections on Gaṇeśa in Nepal and Sri Lanka.

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                                                                                                                                                • Lancaster, L. “Gaṇeśa in China: Methods of Transforming the Demonic.” In GAṆEŚA: Studies of an Asian God. Edited by R. L. Brown, 277–286. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                  Focusses primarily on the literary treatment of Vināyaka in some Chinese Tantric texts from the 6th century CE. Shows how the Chinese held a very negative view of animal-headed deities and that Vināyaka was both a symbol of and an obstacle to attaining enlightenment. Outlines rituals to be performed to neutralize his negative effect.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Sanford, James. H. “Literary Aspects of Japan’s Dual-Gaṇeśa Cult.” In GAṆEŚA: Studies of an Asian God. Edited by R. L. Brown, 287–335. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                    Studies the dual form of Gaṇeśa, which seems to occur only in Japan. It was certainly present by the 9th century and depicts male and female standing images of Gaṇeśa in an embrace. This article brings out the symbolism associated with this in the Shingon School, then traces this through many later literary sources.

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