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.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ganapati – The Chief of the Ganas

The name Ganapati comprises of two words, ‘gana’ and ‘pati’. Amongst the numerous meanings of the word ‘gana’ the one that comes close to is that laid down by Wilson - "a flock, a multitude, a troop, a tribe or class, etc.” Subsequent authors like MacDonnell and others too accepted this definition. The word ‘pati’ means chief. Collectively Ganapati could imply a tribal chief or a chief of a tribe. To take this explanation, the same could go on to imply a tribal deity.

In the Rig Veda, the word ‘gana’ appears many a times in both its original form as well as derivatives. The word ‘gana’ has also been referred to Maruts. Maruts were the sons of the Vedic god Rudra and were the constant companions of the Vedic Indra. Maruts were handsome young spirits and ferocious warriors, who were integral to Indra’s army during his battle with Vrtra the demon. However, the word Ganapati in the Vedic times then refers to the chief of the ‘gana’s, which is Indra himself here. So was Ganapati another name of Indra in Rig Veda?

It is important to mention here that the Vedic Rudra was precursor to the later day Puranic Shiva and it is this relationship that continued to stick to the relationship of Ganesh (aka Gana, Marut) and Shiva.

The above is another example of evolution of gods in mythology. Some gods lose their followers and supporters and new gods take their place or lesser gods get prominence. An analysis will show that the Vedic gods in due course took a back-seat and the Puranic gods came to the fore-front.

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