We know that Indra is a position attained by different persons. Present Indra is Purandara. This answer by explains how he attained the position of Indra. There are occasions where he lost the throne to Prahlada, Mandhata, Nahusha etc.,

But my question is whether Vinayaka (the head of the obstacles and the removal of the obstacles) also called as Ganesha (leader of the Ganas of Shiva) a position or an individual(separate entity).

If it is a position, then is there anyway mentioned in scriptures how to become the leader of Ganas?

  • 7
    Why so many downvotes? Are people not even willing to entertain valid queries now? This is getting out of hand. Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 5:45
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    @Rickross Where did you get the information that Ganesha is the most worshipped God?
    – Pinakin
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 10:38
  • @ChinmaySarupria That should be quite easy to comprehend. Think of Ganesha being the Prathama Pujya. Rest is just elementary arithmetic.
    – Rickross
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 12:42
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    @Rickross Haha. Elementary Arithmetic. Hahaha.
    – user9392
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 18:12
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    @Rickross Ganesha is indeed Prathama Pujya but nowadays, most of the people do not worship him. His name is present on every wedding card and he is worshipped on Diwali night but that's probably it. If we also talk about interest on internet about different gods, Shiva is the most popular followed by Krishna and then Ganesha. Have a look at this metric: imgur.com/a/3jb3R
    – Pinakin
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 8:41

2 Answers 2


Ganesha or Vinayaka is a position. The reign over the obstacles is like a position. There have been various rulers of the obsttacles till now and the way they take births are also different. The son born of Shiva and Parvati was declared as the leader of the obstacles many times in the previous Manvantaras and Kalpas. So, it is not the same person. Similarly, Padma Purana also gives the story of the birth of a Vinayaka made by Parvati with the unguents in the Srishti Khanda Chapter 43.

433b. Taking those unguents used for rubbing and cleaning the body, she prepared a human (shape) having an elephant's face.

  1. The respectable lady (i.e. Parvati) while playing, once threw that human (form) into the water of the auspicious friendly Ganges. Then that (form) turned into one having a big body (i.e. increased in size).

  2. With his very vast body he filled the world. The respectable lady ( i .e Parvati) addressed him 'O son'; and jahnavl (i.e. Ganga) also called him 'O son'.

  3. That form having the face of an elephant, was worshipped by the gods as Gangeya (i.e. the son of Ganga) ; and the grandsire, gave him supremacy as Vinayaka, over the attendants (of Siva).

So, it is clear that the position of the Ganesha (lord of the Shiva Ganas) is given to different elephant headed gods. There are multiple accounts on how they got the position.

Vamana Purana gives a story where a tiger was bestowed the leadership of Ganas by Brahma on the request of Parvati. Following is an excerpt from Vamana Purana Chapter 54.

  1. When Parvati was seated on the Penance, a tiger having sharp teeth and nails came there from an adjacent forest.

  2. He thought to pounce and eat flesh of Parvati when she will fall because she was stood on a single foot.

  3. That tiger stared on the face of Parvati with an imagination that soon or after, she will fall from mountain and he will satiate his hunger.

  4. Then the Goddess did penance as long as the period of hundred years. She was chanting Brahma mantra. Brahma, the master of the three worlds then appeared there.

  5. Brahma said to Goddess - O Sanatani! I am glad to see you. You are absolved of sins now. Ask whatever pleases you.

  6. Kali replied - O lotus born! Please grace on this tiger. It will really be the more cause of my pleasure.

  7. Brahma bestowed that tiger the leadership of Ganas, devotion to Shankara, religion abiding and unconquered.

How to attain the position of Vinayaka:

There are two ways prescribed in the Padma Purana Srishti Khanda.

  1. One should offer sesamum seeds to the manes on a new moon day through out the attains the position of Vinayaka.

    1. He, who offers sesamum to the manes on the new moon day throughout a year, obtains the position of Vinayaka, and is honoured by all gods. [Srishti Khanda Chapter 49]
  2. One who drinks the water from their parents feet becomes free from all the sins and gets the position of Vinayaka.

    14b-15a. The sins, earned (i.e. committed) during hundreds ofcrores of existences of that son who drinks (i.e. sips) the water of (i.e. flowing from) the lotus-like feet of his parents, perish.

    15b-16a. He is blessed in the human world, he is purified from all sins. (Such) a man obtains the status of Vinayaka in (i.e. after) one existence only. [Srishti Khanda Chapter 50]

So, by following above ways, one can become the leader of Ganas and the remover of the obstacles.

  • 9
    You have misunderstood the Padma purana verses. "Obtains the position of Vinaayaka" doesn't mean a Jiva becomes Vinayaka. It means he becomes united with Vinayaka like how one attains sayujya with Vishnu or Shiva. Vinayaka is not position. As per Ganesha Puranas, Supreme Ganesha takes different forms differently in various Kalpas.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 8:26
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    Yes @TheDestroyer is right. There are several such verses saying "If you do this" "You get Padam(usually translated ad status) of Vishnu", if you do this, "you become Rudra"- does not mean we actually become Vishnu or Shiva. Also, the first example given by you does not state anywhere that Vinayaka is a position. It us just an account on birth of Vinayaka. Even there are various stories which depict only a single incident- does not mean that each incident depict a uniquely different person.
    – user9392
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 9:01
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    @AnuragSingh So, Won't you believe what you read? So, these puranas are just glorification of a deity and nothing else? Puranas also talk about rituals where we can attain the status of God. Which first example are you talking about? It clearly says Brahma gave the supremacy over the Ganas. Lord of Ganas is like being a King of Devatas. If that is true, then why can't this be? It is a position due to previous Karmas. Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 6:08
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    @NogShine DeviPuraana Book 11, Chapter 18 - विष्णुत्वं लभते मर्त्यो यत्सुरेष्वपि दुर्लभम् । 27- "By doing that Vratam, a mortal attains Vishnutvam or position of Vishnu, which is rare even to Suras." And SkandaPuraana Part 1, ArunachalaMahatmya part 2, Chapter 2- मृतानां यत्र रुद्रत्वं काशीं विद्धि हि तां मुने ।। २१ ।।- "O Muni! Know Kashi to be the place where mortals attain Rudratvam or position of Rudra." ― So this means Vishnu and Shiva is also a position.
    – user9392
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 8:55
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    Yes, Ganesha or Vinayaka or Ganapati is a position. Ramcharitmanas says that Lord Shiva and Parvati worshipped Ganapati in their marriage.
    – YDS
    Commented Oct 29, 2017 at 16:05

Shiva Purana

Kings, Siddhas, Yakṣas and Gandharvas, Rākṣasas, Bhūtas and Pisacas, besides other acheived their respective positions by adoring Śiva. All the gods achieved god-hoods, with the same process. Brahma achieved Brahmattva, Visņu achieved the position of Vişņu, Rudra got Rudratva, and Indra got the position of Indra. Gaṇeśa was bestowed Gaṇeśahood with the same process. Bathing Siva-linga with the white sandal paste it should be adored with the white lotus flowers. The salutation should be offered thereafter.

I hope this clarifies all your queries. Prd..

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