The much-awaited festival of Ganesh Chaturthi has finally arrived today, 10 September. The festival, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, or Vinayaka Chaviti, is celebrated with great fervour across various parts of the country.
Like the festival, even the deity Lord Ganesh is associated with multiple names. The word Ganesha is formed by combining two Sanskrit words, with ‘gana’ meaning a multitude of people and ‘isha’ meaning lord. The name Ganpati also means the same.
Here are some names of Lord Ganesh and their different meanings:
Gajanan: This name is used for Ganesha as he is the elephant (gaja) faced (anan) god. As per the Mudgala Purana, Gajanan is Ganpati’s eighth avatar and the one to who Lobhasura had surrendered.
Krishnapingaksha: The name combines the words Krishna (meaning dark complexion), pinga (smoky), and aksha (eyes). It refers to the ability of Lord Ganesh to see through the clouds and earth and deliver people from pain.
Lambodara: The name means the one with the huge belly. As per the Mudgala Purana, it was Ganesha in his Lambodara avatar who protected the gods from the troublesome Krodhasura.
Vinayaka: Another term for ‘Gaurisuta’ (Gauri’s son), the name means one who is the master at removing all problems.
Vighnaharta: Combined with the words ‘vighna,’ which means troubles and ‘harta,’ meaning one who removes, the name suggests the power of Ganpati to remove all obstacles in the lives of his devotees’.
Vakratunda: The first incarnation of Ganesha, it means curved trunk (vakra-tunda). The first incarnation of the Ganpati helped the gods regain their lost kingdom by defeating the demon Matsara.
Ekadanta: Myths says that Parashuram got angry with Ganesh when the latter prevented him from Shiva. He chipped one of Ganpati’s teeth, leaving one of his tusks half broken. This earned the single-tusked Ganesha the moniker of ‘eka’ (one) ‘danta’ (tooth).
Bhalchandra: The name derives from the child (Bala) avatar of Ganpati who carried the moon (Chandra) on his forehead. The Brahmanda Purana says that as a boy, Ganesha rescued the moon god Chandra from saint Darbhi’s curse and wore the moon as tilak on his forehead.
Many devotees will celebrate the ten-day festival with great vigour this year by following the rituals associated with it at their homes.