God of success helps in overcoming obstacles by infusing wisdom, learning,
prudence, and power in us. Thus, his name is chanted before the start of
any important venture be it journey, marriage, religious rite, house
construction, the writing of a book or even a letter.
Each of the Puranas has a different story regarding the birth of Lord Ganesha. In some he is the manasika putra (mind-born son) of Lord Shiva. In others he is the creation of Parvati. In still others he is the son of Shiva and Parvati.
The most popular legend deals with the birth of Lord Ganesha to Parvati. Once while Parvati was going for her bath, she rubbed off the dust and oil from her body and out of it created the figure of a young boy. She infused life into the figure and told him he was her son and should guard the entrance when she went to bathe.
Soon after, Shiva came to see Parvati but the young boy blocked his way and would not let him in. Shiva, unaware that this lad was his son, became furious and in great anger fought with the boy whose head got severed from his body in the ensuing battle.
In order to make up for his mistake, Shiva promised Parvati that if she places the head of any person or thing which crosses her path early the next day, the child would come back to life. The first person or thing that passed by them was the mighty elephant. Shiva cut off its head and placed it on the torso of the beheaded child.
There are108 names of Lord Ganesha such as Vighnashvara, Ganpati, Lambodar, Vighanharta, etc. He has the head of an elephant and the body of a human being. He has large ears, a single tusk, a pot belly, four arms and rides a rat for a vehicle. Ganesha has two wives-Riddhi (prosperity) and Siddhi (success). Thus anyone who has His blessings will automatically get prosperity and success.
According to legends Ganesha is a great scribe and learned in religious lore and scriptures. Hence, Ganesha is often depicted with only one tusk, since it is believed that he broke off the other so that he could inscribe the Mahabharata, which was dictated by to him the seer Vyasa.
Ganesha, with his long ears, sift the good from the bad and grant us the required spiritual progress. Ganesha's trunk is normally represented as curved to the left and reaching up to the sweets held in one of his hands. He is the God of education, knowledge, wisdom, literature and fine arts. The protuberant belly of Ganesha signifies abundance and prosperity.