A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Ganapati – Harvest god

Ganapati by many is considered to be a Harvest god. His association with harvest might not be too prevalent to us today, but if we trace the origins of the faith, we can see the association of Ganapati with vegetation and harvest.

Some scholars feel that the familiar sight of a farmer carrying bundles of corn with the lower ears of corn swinging to and fro resembled a lot with the head of an elephant and its long snout hanging. This led to the idea of a bumper crop overriding the menace of the rats might have taken the expression of a god with the head of an elephant riding a rat, with the god being pot-bellied – resembling a barn, surrounded by a snake, which is again the destroyer of the rats.

Ganesha is also referred to as the ‘Surpakarna’ and ‘Ekdanta’. The meaning of ‘surpa’ or the ‘supa’ is actually the ‘winnowing basket’. Also some references of ‘Ekdanta’ are with that of the ploughshare. Both the references are with harvest, and thus the association with a harvest deity.

The other reference of being a harvest deity is that of the rat. The rat is a menace for the farmers and Ganesha is seen riding the rat, implying that propitiating the god can lead to a control of the rat menace, which is a major source of problems for the farmers. We will discuss the significance of the rat in a later article. However, it is pertinent to mention a ritual followed in certain parts of Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, India. There is a special day called the ‘Under Bi’, i.e. the second day of the rat. On this day, food is offered to an idol of a mouse which is worshipped along with Ganesha. The food offerings made to the idol on that day is the next day, thrown in the fields for the field mice to eat, and spare the standing crops.

Again the chief offerings the god is modak which is a sweet made out of sweet rice, sugar and coconut, again all things bearing a strong association with harvest.

The time of the celebrations and some of the rituals bear a very strong association with Harvest and thus Ganapati’s association with Harvest.


  1. Hi UP

    A request - we have seen various forms of Ganesh Idols ( leave apart the artistic ones ). At times 4 hands and more, and say different postures. Can you throw some light on various forms of Ganpati and its relevance, from the sculpture point of view


  2. Replies
    1. Hi Utkarsh
      Enjoyed your de-mystification of our puranic myths. About time that the true symblism of most of our 'stories' is known. Lovely they may be, but it is infinitely better to understand what they signify. Many thanks to you for setting the record straight, especially in a manner that will not ruffle any (choosing-to-remain-blind-believer!) feathers.