Incarnations of Lord Ganesha

Vignaharta is the name by which he is called and is known across many religious societies. We know him by the name of Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva, with an elephant head and long ears from which he hears to the prayers of his followers.

According to the Mudgalpurana, there are 8 incarnations of Lord Ganesha who took birth on earth whenever mankind was in trouble , they are: Vakratunda, Ekdunta, Mahodara, Gajanana, Lambodara, Vikata, Vighnaraja, and Dhoomravarna. The thing that never changed in all of his eight incarnations was his trunk. The only thing that has been depicted in the book that he changed was that for once he was either riding a peacock just like his brother Kartikeya, and sometimes he traded his most famous ride, the mouse, with the noble lion. He seems to be slaying the demons in all of his forms.

The very interesting aspect that has been shown in all of his incarnations were that symbolically all the demons were related to somekind of a human weakness, over which Ganesha gained victory by destroying it. In his eight lifetimes or incarnations, the eight demons that were depicted are: jealousy, drunkenness, illusion, greed, anger, desire, egotism and self-infatuation.

Brief About his Incarnations:

In this Ganesha was celebrated with his first birth as the one with the curved trunk. In this life form Vakratunda defeats Matsarasura, and his vehicle is the lion. Matsarasura was a symbol of jealousy and hence Lord Ganesh is the destroyer of the power of jealousy.


In his second incarnation, Ganesha is seen riding his mouse. The literal meaning of ‘Ekdunta’ is “the one with only one tusk”. The story related to this incarnation is that Ganesha fought and destroyed Madasur, the demon of drunkenness.


In his third Incarnation phase Ganesha defeated Mohasur. It was effectively done that Mohasur later became a staunch supporter of Ganesha as the bad dictatorship fell.


The Gajanana means the one with an elephant face. Gajanana made the demon Lobhasur to submit and surrender before he was put to death. lobhasur was the demon of greed.


He was the lord with the Protuberant belly who had successfully conquered over the demon of anger. Ganesha who loved sweets has been emphasized as the obese deity.


Vikata subdued the demon of desire, the Kamasur. Interestingly in this very life form Ganesha traded in his mouse with peacock.


Even more awkward to find an elephant god riding a snake lord seems highly unlikely for all of us to imagine but that’s what happened in this stage of incarnation. Ganesha rode a sheshnaag or shasha. Ganesha had taken this birth to subdue the demon of ego, Mamasur.


In his final incarnation or rebirth, Ganesha defeated the demon called Ahamkarasur, the demon of self-infatuation. Aham is the demonic force which grips the human mind like a vice, with cruelty and deception, and never lets go until the very bitter end. Like a parasitic worm Aham is so entrenched in the psyche, the human host eventually thinks that this is all that s/he can identify with.

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