Saturday, March 6, 2010

Incarnations of Lord Ganesh

The following are the four incarnations of Ganesh as per the Kridakhanda of the Ganesha Purana.
  1. Mahotkata Vinayaka (Mahotkaţa Vināyaka), who has ten arms and a red complexion. Different sources list his mount (vāhana) as either an elephant or lion. He was born to Kashyapa (Kaśyapa) and Aditi in the Krita yuga. The name Kāśyapa (descendant of Kaśyapa) for Ganesha refers to this incarnation. This incarnation killed the demon brothers Narantaka (Narāntaka) and Devantaka (Devāntaka), as well as the demon Dhumraksha (Dhūmrākşa).
  2. Mayuresvara (Mayūreśvara), who has six arms and a white complexion. His mount is a peacock. He was born to Shiva and Parvati in the Treta yuga. He incarnates for the purpose of killing the demon Sindhu. At the end of this incarnation he gives his peacock mount to his younger brother Skanda, with whom the peacock mount is generally associated.
  3. Gajanana (Gajānana), who has four arms and was born with a red complexion. He has a mouse as his mount. He is born to Shiva and Parvati in the Dvapara yuga. He incarnates for the purpose of killing the demon Sindura (Sindūra), who was so-named due to his reddish-pink complexion (see: Sindoor). It is during this incarnation that Ganesha gives the discourse known as the Ganesha Gita to King Varenya.
  4. Dhumraketu (Dhūmraketu) is grey in colour, like ash or smoke (dhūmra). He has either two or four arms. He has a blue horse as his mount. He will come to end the decline of the Kali yuga. During this incarnation he kills numerous demons. Grimes notes that there is a parallel between this incarnation of Ganesha and the tenth and final incarnation of Vishnu, where he will ride upon the white horse Kalki.

The following are the eight incarnations of Lord Ganesh as per the Mudgala Purana.
  1. Vakratunda (Vakratuṇḍa) ("twisting trunk"), first in the series, represents the absolute as the aggregate of all bodies, an embodiment of the form of Brahman. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Matsaryāsura (envy, jealousy). His mount (vāhana) is a lion.
  2. Ekadanta ("single tusk") represents the aggregate of all individual souls, an embodiment of the essential nature of Brahman. the purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Madāsura (arrogance, conceit). His mount is a mouse.
  3. Mahodara ("big belly") is a synthesis of both Vakratuṇḍa and Ekadanta. It is the absolute as it enters into the creative process. It is an embodiment of the wisdom of Brahman. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Mohāsura (delusion, confusion). His mount is a mouse.
  4. Gajavaktra (or Gajānana) ("elephant face") is a counterpart to Mahodara. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Lobhāsura (greed). His mount is a mouse.
  5. Lambodara ("pendulous belly") is the first of four incarnations that correspond to the stage where the Purāṇic gods are created. Lambodara corresponds to Śakti, the pure power of Brahman. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Krodhāsura (anger). His mount is a mouse.
  6. Vikata (Vikata) ("unusual form", "misshapen") corresponds to Sūrya. He is an embodiment of the illuminating nature of Brahman. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Kāmāsura (lust). His mount is a peacock.
  7. Vighnaraja (Vighnarāja) ("king of obstacles"), corresponds to Visnu. He is an embodiment of the preserving nature of Brahman. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Mamāsura (possessiveness). His mount is the celestial serpent Śesa.
  8. Dhumravarna (Dhūmravarna) ("grey color") corresponds to Śiva. He is an embodiment of the destructive nature of Brahman. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Abhimanāsura (pride, attachment). His mount is a horse.

Reference:
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganesha_Purana
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudgala_Purana

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