Lord Ganesh and His Forms


Lord Ganesh is worshipped for many reasons. Some pray to him for his role as the remover of obstacles, others as the granter of wisdom and opportunity. He is also considered as the patron of the arts, sciences and intellect. Ganesh has many forms. Here we present the significance of 32 different forms.

Bal Ganesh is the child-like form of the god. In his hands he holds a banana, a mango, sugar cane and a jackfruit, all of which represent the Earth’s abundance and fertility. His trunk holds his favourite sweet, the modak.

The eight-armed Tarun Ganesh holds a noose and goad (a traditional farming equipment), a modak, a wood apple (bael fruit), a rose apple, a sprig of paddy, a sugar cane stalk and his broken tusk in his hands. This Ganesh is always in a brilliant red colour, reflecting the blossoming of youth.

Shining like the full moon during the harvest season and garlanded with flowers, Bhakti Ganesh holds a banana, a mango, a coconut and a bowl of sweet payasam pudding. This grey-coloured Ganesh shines like the full moon, representing and reflecting the devotion of all his devotees and the way he responds to it.

The Vir Ganesh is always in a commanding pose. His 16 arms carry weapons and symbols of the mind and power like a goad, a discus, a bow and arrow, a sword, a shield, a spear, a mace (a weapon), a battleaxe and a trident. This form of Ganesh lends confidence to his devotees in any endeavour they indulge in.

Four-armed and seated with one of his Shaktis on his knee, Shakti Ganesh is always in an orange-red hue. He holds a garland, a noose and a goad and bestows blessings with the gesture of fearlessness. Shakti Ganesh guards the householder who worships him.

The four-headed Dvija Ganesh, also known as the Twice-Born, is moon-like in colour. He holds a noose, a goad, an ola leaf scripture, a staff, a water vessel and japa beads and reminds one and all of the urgency for disciplined striving. 

The golden-yellow Siddhi Ganesh, or the Accomplished One, is the epitome of achievement and self-mastery. He sits comfortably, holding a bouquet of flowers, an axe, a mango and sugar cane and in his trunk he holds a tasty sesame sweet. This form signifies accomplishment, achievement and selfmastery.

Ucchhishta Ganesh, also known as the Lord of Blessed Offerings, is the guardian of culture. This form of Ganesh is always blue in colour and has six arms. He sits with his Shakti, holding the veena, a pomegranate, a blue lotus flower, japa beads and a sprig of fresh paddy.

Vighna Ganesh or the Lord of Obstacles is coloured with a brilliant golden hue and is always bedecked in jewels. His eight arms hold a noose and goad, a tusk and modak, a conch and discus, a bouquet of flowers, sugar cane, a flower arrow and an axe. This form is looked upon as the remover of all obstacles.

The red-hued Kshipra Ganesh is the quick-acting giver of boons. He displays his broken tusk, a noose, a goad and a sprig of the kalpavriksha (wish-fulfilling) tree. In his uplifted trunk he holds a tiny pot of precious jewels. This form of Ganesh grants boons to his devotees and fulfils a confident devotee's sincere wishes as quickly as possible.

Five-faced and white in colour, Heramba Ganesh is also known as the Protector of the Weak. He rides a big lion and extends the gestures of protection and blessing while holding a noose, japa beads, an axe, a hammer, a tusk, a garland, fruit and a modak. This form extends the gestures of protection and blessings to those who believe in him.

Lakshmi Ganesh is known as the Pure White Giver of Success. He sits flanked by Riddhi (wisdom) and Siddhi
(achievement), his two wives. Sitting in the Varad Mudra (gesture of granting wishes), he holds a green parrot, a pomegranate, a sword, a goad, a noose, a sprig of kalpavriksha and a water vessel. He grants wisdom and material to his devotees, helping them to achieve success in their endeavours. 

Accompanied by one of his Shaktis, the great Maha Ganesh is redcomplexioned and three-eyed, all knowing and all-seeing. He holds his tusk, a pomegranate, a blue lily, a sugar cane bow, a discus, a noose, a lotus, a paddy sprig, a mace and a pot of gems. 

Four-armed with a red hue and riding his resourceful Mushika (mouse), Vijaya Ganesh is also known as the
Victorious One, who bestows success. His emblems are the broken tusk, an elephant goad, a noose and a luscious golden mango, which is his favourite fruit. He extends material help to help his devotees in their endeavours.

The Happy Dancer or the Nritya Ganesh is four-armed and golden, with rings on his fingers. He holds a tusk, a goad, a noose and a modak. He dances under the kalpavriksha tree, epitomising exuberant activity and joy. He blesses all his devotees with happiness, especially the artistes.

Seated with one of his Shaktis on his left knee, Urdhva Ganesh is the Elevated One or the Lord of Golden Hue. In his six hands he holds a sprig of paddy, a lotus, a sugar cane bow, an arrow, his ivory tusk and a blue water lily. He helps his devotees to be elevated in life.

Ekakshara is a three-eyed version of Lord Ganesh and has a red complexion and attire. With a crescent moon on his crown, this Ganesh sits in the lotus position upon Mushika in a boon-giving pose and holds a pomegranate, a noose and a goad. This form of the god grants spiritual knowledge to all his devotees, helping them come up in life.

Durga Ganesh or the Invincible One waves the flag of victory over darkness. This form is always dressed in deep gold and red hues and holds a bow and arrow, a noose and goad, prayer beads, a broken tusk and a rose apple.

Varada Ganesh or the Boon-Giver has a prominent third eye of wisdom. He holds a dish of honey, a noose and a goad and encloses a pot of jewels in his trunk. He always has Shakti on his side. He is the boon-giver and bestows valuable spiritual knowledge to those who need it.

Tryakshara Ganesh, or the Lord of Three Letters (A-U-M), is gold in colour and has fly whisks (tool used to disturb flies) in his big floppy ears. He carries the broken tusk, a goad, a noose and a mango and is often seen grasping a sweet modak in his trunk. He represents the primordial sound of 'om' and bestows spiritual knowledge and materials of enjoyment to all his followers.

Kshipra Prasada Ganesh or the Reward Giver sits on a kusha-grass throne. His big belly symbolises the manifest universe. He holds a noose, a goad, a tusk, a lotus, a pomegranate and a twig of the wish-fulfilling tree. He is full of boon-giving yogic energy and immediately grants anything that his devotees request.

Haridra Ganesh or the Golden One is dressed in bright yellow vestments and sits calmly on a posh, regal throne. Along with his tusk and a modak, he wields a noose to hold devotees close and a sharp goad to spur them onward. He gives his devotees magical knowledge and spiritual perfection.

Rinamochana Ganesh is a form that liberates humanity from guilt and bondage. This form is always dressed in
red silks. He bears a noose and a goad, his milk-white tusk and the rose apple.

Ekadanta Ganesh, also known as the Single-Tusked Ganesh, is distinguished by his blue colour and sizeable belly. The attributes of this form are an axe for cutting the bonds of ignorance, prayer beads for japa, a laddu and the broken right tusk.

Riding on his docile and friendly mouse, Srishti Ganesh is the Lord of Happy Manifestation. This form holds a noose, a goad, a perfect mango and his tusk and represents selfless sacrifice.

Uddanda Ganesh is also known as the Bold Enforcer of Dharma or the laws of being. His 10 hands hold a pot of gems, a blue lily, sugar cane, a mace, a lotus, a sprig of paddy, a pomegranate, a noose, a garland and his broken tusk.

The red-hued Dhundhi Ganesh is also known as the Sought-After One. He holds a strand of rudraksha beads, his broken tusk, an axe and a small pot of precious gems that represent the awakening.

Dvimukha Ganesh, called Janus by the Romans, has two divergent faces and sees in all directions. His blue-green form is always dressed in red silk. He wears a bejewelled crown and holds a noose, a goad, his tusk and a pot of gems.

Trimukha Ganesh, the contemplative Three-Faced Lord, is dressed in red. He sits on a golden lotus with his beads, holding a noose, a goad and a vessel of nectar. He gestures protection with the right hand and blessings with the left.

Sinha Ganesh is a form that is represented in white colour, riding a lion and displaying another lion in one hand. This form symbolises strength and fearlessness. He also holds a kalpavriksha sprig, the veena, a lotus blossom, a flower bouquet and a pot of jewels.

Yoga Ganesh is absorbed in mantra japa, his knees strapped in a meditative pose. His hands hold a yoga staff, a sugar cane stalk, a noose and prayer beads. His colour is like that of the morning Sun. Blue garments adorn his form.

Sankatahara Ganesh is also known as the Dispeller of Sorrow. He is dressed in colours of the Sun and blue and is seated on a red lotus flower. He holds a bowl of kheer, a goad and a noose. He is known as a boon-granter.