Shri Ganesh Chaturthi (19th September 2023)

Incarnations of Shri Ganapati as per the Eras

Each Deity is a Principle, which exists in all Eras. The Principle of a Deity takes sagun (Materialised) form as per the requirement of that particular Era; for example, the 9 Incarnations of Shri Vishnu for carrying out specific missions in particular Eras. Depending on the requirements of the Era, following are the Incarnations of Shri Ganapati.

1. Mahotkat Vinayak : Mahotkat Vinayak was born to Sage Kashyap and Aditi in the Satyayug. In this Incarnation, He protected Dharma (Righteousness) by slaying two demons – Devantak and Narantak and then completed His Incarnation.

2. Gunesh : In the Tretayug, Shri Ganapati was born to Uma on the day of Bhadrapad Shukla Chaturthi as Gunesh. In this Incarnation, He slew the demon Sindhu and married Siddhi and Buddhi, the daughters of Deity Brahma.

3. Gajanan : In Dwaparyug, once again, He was born to Devi (Goddess) Parvati as Gajanan. In this Incarnation, Shri Gajanan killed the demon Sindurasur and set free several kings and valorous men whom the demon had imprisoned. It is in this Incarnation that Shri Gajanan preached to the king named Varenya the eternal philosophy in the form of Ganeshgeeta, which enlightens about the paths to Moksha (Final Liberation), gives all supernatural powers, eliminates ignorance and elucidates the true goal of human life.

4. Dhumraketu : According to the Bhavishyapurana, the 4th Incarnation of Shri Ganapati by the name Dhumraketu or Dhumravarna will take birth in the Kaliyug (Era of Strife) and destroy the evildoers.

Meaning of some Names of Shri Ganesh

Sage Mudgal has written the Ganeshasahastranam which contains the thousand Names of Shri Ganesh. The Dwadashanam Shloka contains the following twelve Names of Shri Ganapati.

First Vakratunda, second Ekadanta, third Krushnapingaksha, fourth Gajavaktra, fifth Lambodar, sixth Vikata, seventh Vighnarajendra, eighth Dhumravarna, ninth Bhalachandra, tenth Vinayak, eleventh Ganapati, twelfth Gajanan.

1. Vakratunda : Generally, it is believed that Vakratunda is one with a curved, crooked mouth or trunk; however, this is incorrect. According to Sanskrut, Vakratunda is the One who punishes those who follow a crooked (meaning, unrighteous) path, and thus, brings them onto the straight (meaning, righteous) path. Vakratunda is He who straightens the tiryak and visphutit (Crooked Raja-Tama predominant) 360 waves through the medium of His trunk and makes them straight and sattvik (Sattva predominant) like the 108 waves.

2. Ekadanta or Ekashrunga : Shri Ganapati has this Name because He has only one unbroken danta (Tusk). Of the two tusks, the right one is whole, while the left one is broken.

A. The right side represents the Suryanadi (Sun channel). Since the Suryanadi is radiant, the tusk on this side can never be broken.

B. Ekadanta is symbolic of the one and only Brahman (God Principle).

C. The word ‘dantin’ (दंतीन) is derived from the root ‘dru-darshayati’ (दृ-दर्शयित) (meaning, to show). Thus Ekadanta also means – ‘The One who shows the direction that provides the spiritual experience of the one and only Brahma’.

D. Medha and shraddha (Faith) are the two tusks. ‘Medha’ means intellect, the ability to comprehend. Medha is the incomplete (broken) tusk and shraddha is the complete one.

3. Krushnapingaksha : This word is derived from Krushna (कृष्ण) + pinga (िपंग) + aksha (अक्ष). ‘Krushna’ means dark complexion, ‘pinga’ means smoky and ‘aksha’ means the eye. The dark complexion is in the context of Earth, while the word smoky refers to the clouds. Thus, Krushnapingaksha is One who has the Earth and the clouds as His eyes, meaning, One who can see everything within the Earth and the clouds.

4. Gajavaktra

A. ‘Gaja’ means cloud, and is considered to be the representative of the dyu (द्यु) region – the region of the Deities. ‘Vaktra’ means the mouth. Thus, One whose mouth is the dyu region is the Gajavaktra, meaning, is enormous. If ‘Om’ is placed vertically, we get the experience of Gajavadan (or Ganapati).

B. Mudgalpurana explains the meaning of the word ‘gaja’ as ga = the Principle wherein everything undergoes Dissolution and ja = the Principle from which everything originates. Hence, ‘Gaja’ means Brahman.

5. Lambodar : This is formed from ‘lamba’ (Large) and ‘udar’ (Belly).

A. Saint Eknath has explained the meaning in Shri Eknathi Bhagwat – ‘The entire animate and inanimate creation dwells within You. Hence, You are called Lambodar’.

B. According to the Ganapatitantra, Deity Shiva played the damaru. Shri Ganapati grasped the knowledge of the Vedas through the deep sound of the damaru. He learnt dancing by watching the Tandavnrutya (Cosmic dance) of Shiva everyday. He learnt music from the sound of the anklets of Parvati. He imbibed, meaning, digested such varied knowledge; hence, His belly became large.

6. Vikat : Vi (िव) + krut (कृत) + akat (अकत). ‘Vi’ means in a specific manner, ‘krut’ means done and ‘akat’ means Moksha (Final Liberation). Hence, ‘Vikat’ is One who generates waves in a specific manner and bestows Moksha.

7. Vighnesh : Vighna (िवघ्न) + Ish (ईश) = Vighnesh (िवघ्नेश). The word ‘vighna’ is derived from the Sanskrut term ‘Visheshen ghanati’ (especially the distress). The Ish (God) of obstacles and distress – the One who controls and destroys obstacles is Vighnesh. The obstacle in this context refers to getting surrounded by the 360 (Raja-Tama) and 108 (Sattva) waves. This is against a devotee’s aim of becoming trigunatit (Going beyond the 3 gunas).

Vighnaharta (Vanquisher of obstacles) is another Name of Shri Ganapati. Since Shri Ganapati gets rid of obstacles, He is worshipped before performing any auspicious religious ceremony.

8. Dhumravarna : ‘Dhumra’ means smoke and ‘varna’ means complexion. Smoke is the transitory state between the sagun (Materialised) and the nirgun (Non-materialised). One who possesses such a smoky complexion is known as Dhumravarna. According to the principle – ‘Where there is smoke, there is fire’ – Shri Ganapati certainly possesses the Fire Principle.

9. Bhalachandra : ‘Bhala’ means the forehead. The waves emanating from Prajapati, Brahma, Shiva, Shri Vishnu and Meenakshi intermingle, and from them many groups comprising thousands of waves are generated. Though Prajapati, Brahma, Shiva, Shri Vishnu and Meenakshi are all nirgun, their waves have components. The point of origin of three of these waves – affection, mercy and maternal love is called Chandra (Moon). One who adorns such a Chandra on the forehead is Bhalachandra. Actually this is the Name of Shankar (Deity Shiva). However, since Shri Ganapati is His son, He too acquired this Name !

10. Vinayak : According to Sanskrut, the word ‘Vinayak’ is derived from ‘Vishesharupen nayakaha’, which means – One who is endowed with all the features of a nayak (Leader).

It is universally accepted that there are six Vinayaks. The summary of information on Vinayakgana (Attendants of Vinayak) given in the Manavgruhyasutra and Boudhayangruhyasutra is that the Vinayakgana create obstacles and are troublesome and cruel. When they start harassing, people begin to behave as if insane. They get nightmares and are constantly under some fear. To overcome these obstacles posed by the Vinayakgana, the Scriptures have advocated various rituals known as Shantividhi.

Shri Ganapati is Vinayak, meaning, the Master of these Vinayakgana. Deity Shiva said to Shri Ganapati – ‘The Vinayakgana will be your servitors. You will be worshipped first in various rituals such as Yajnas (Sacrificial fires). If anyone fails to do so, they will face obstacles in their rituals’. From then on, Shri Ganapati’s worship at the beginning of an auspicious ceremony came into existence. The Vinayakgana were obstacles personified; but Vinayak became the eliminator of obstacles. He became Siddhivinayak, meaning, bestower of abhishta (Desired) siddhis (Spiritual powers).

11. Shri Ganapati : Gana (गण) + pati (पित) = Ganapati. As per Sanskrut, Gana means a ‘pavitrak’. A pavitrak is the subtlemost particle of Chaitanya (Divine consciousness). ‘Pati’ is the Master. Hence, ‘Ganapati’ is the Master of pavitraks.

12. Gajanan : ‘Gaja’ means an elephant and ‘anan’ means countenance or face. Thus, Gajanan is One whose countenance is like that of an elephant (and whose body constitutes the entire Universe).

(For detailed information on how to create faith in ourselves towards our Deities and guide us on the appropriate way of worshipping them so as to obtain their blessings, Please read Sanatan’s Texts and visit :

Vakratunda punishes those who follow a crooked (Unrighteous) path and brings them onto the straight (Righteous) path !