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Kartikeya was mentioned in the Ramayana, but not Ganapati and his First Adoration in Pujas.

Kaartikeya as mentioned in Srimad Ramayana is the same character as mentioned in Srimad Bhagavad Gita.


While roaming in the Dandaka Aranya, Sri Rama, Lakshmana, and Seetha enter the hermitage of Sage Agastya. While going to meet the Sage, they saw the designated places for various Devatas.

स तत्र ब्रह्मणः स्थानम् अग्नेः स्थानम् तथैव च || विष्णोः स्थानम् महेन्द्रस्य स्थानम् चैव विवस्वतः | सोम स्थानम् भग स्थानम् स्थानम् कौबेरम् एव च || धातुर् विधातुः स्थानम् च वायोः स्थानम् तथैव च | स्थानम् च पाश हस्तस्य वारुणस्य महात्मनः || स्थानम् तथैव गायत्र्या वसूनाम् स्थानम् एव च | स्थानम् च नागराजस्य गरुड स्थानम् एव च || कार्तिकेयस्य च स्थानम् धर्म स्थानम् च पश्यति | (Aranya Kanda 12th Sarga 17 - 21 Slokas)

Sri Rama entered inside the hermitage and saw therein the sanctus of Brahma, Fire-god, Vishnu, Indra, Vivasvat - the Sun-god, Soma - the Moon-god, Bhaga - one among the twelve Suns, and the sanctusms of Kubera, [Wealth-Management-god, are seen and passed by the three of them, sanctums of Dhaata, Vidhaata - Vedic deities created by Brahma to help Svayambhuu Manu, santucm of Vaayu - the Air-god, and also like that the sanctum of great-soloed VaruNa - the Rain-god who also wields noose, and the sanctum of Gayatri - the presiding deity of gnosis, sanctum of Vasus - eight of them, and the sanctum of cobra's king - aadi sheSa, the divine Thousand-headed serpent that bears this globe on its head, and even the sanctum of GaruDa - the Divine Eagle , and the half brother of aadi sheSa, and the sanctum of Kaartikeya

  • chief of gods army, and the sanctum of Dharma - Dharmaraaja, presiding deity of Virtue-Vice-Time of living beings, in-charge of the hell.

Though it was mentioned in Mahabharata that Lord Ganesha himself wrote it when Sage Vyasa was dictating, he did not find place in Bhagavad Gita, as Chief of Ganas (Ganadhipatihi). Why?

Were Ganesh and Kartikeya mentioned in Vedas?

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    Ganesha has almost no mentions in the Vedas, Ramayana, or Mahabharata except for the brief mention of Vyasa dictating the Mahabharata to him and one or two other mentions. And authentic references to him in the Mahapuranas (as opposed to interpolations) are few and far between. That's because Ganesha only became more popular later on. As a result, there's a confusion over a lot of details about him, like whether he's older or younger than Kartikeya, whether he's unmarried or has two wives, whether his birthday is Ganesha Chaturthi or Ganesha Jayanti, etc. – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 10 '15 at 8:15
  • @KeshavSrinivasan: However, there was Mantra in Rig Veda - Gananam tva ganapatigam havaamahe.......... whom this Mantra referring to? – Srimannarayana K V Oct 10 '15 at 9:48
  • I have one doubt here. If this incident is at the time when Lord Rama was on exile of 14 years, then we have another incident where Devi Sati (wife of Lord Shiva) tested Lord Rama somewhere near the same time, so how can there be mention of Lord Kartikeya who is son of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati who must have born much later as Devi Parvati is the rebirth of Devi Sati. – Aby Oct 10 '15 at 10:03
  • @Aby: This story of Devi Sati testing Sri Rama does not find place in Srimad Ramayana. If it is found in any Purana (or) any preacher told in TV programme, my sincere advice is not to believe such stories. Further, Shiva was not mentioned in Vedic Pantheon, but Rudra was mentioned. Shiva with 3 eyes, trishula in hand, Serpant hanging over neck, etc, could not be found in Vedic Literature, as far as I know. – Srimannarayana K V Oct 10 '15 at 11:59
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    @srimannarayanakv Contrary to popular belief, the gananam verse is addressed to Brihaspati, not Ganesha; the word "ganapatim" is just being used in the literal sense of "leader of the group", not in the sense of "leader of Shiva's Ganas". See my answer here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/8581/36 – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 10 '15 at 13:46
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Yes, Ganesh and Kumara both are mentioned in Vedas. Here are the references.

रुद्रो रुद्रश्च दन्तिश्च नन्दिः षण्मुख एव च ।
गरुडो ब्रह्मा विष्णुश्च नारसिहंस्तथैव च ।।

rudro rudrascha dantischa nandi sanmukha eva cha |
garudo brahma vishnuscha narsimhastathaiva cha ||  [Yajurveda Taitteriya Aranyaka 10.1.15]

The names of God mentioned are:
Rudra, Danti, Nandi, Shanmukha, Garuda, Brahma, Vishnu, Narsimha

As you can see the whole first line mentions the name of Shiva family:
i.e,. Rudra, Danti, Nandi, Shanmukh

Shanmukh (six faced) is another name of Kumara.
Danti(tusked one) is another name of Ganesha. It is also evident from this Ganesha Gayatri mantra mentioned in Taittariya Aranyaka of YajurVeda.

तत्पुरुषाय विद्महे वक्रतुन्डाय धीमहि तन्नो दन्ति प्रचोदयात् ।
Om tatpurushaye vidmahe vakratundaye dhimahi tanno danti prachodayat | [YajurVeda Taittariya Aranyaka 10.1.5 ]

We meditate upon Him who has a curved trunk. May the tusked One guide us on the right path.

As you know Vakratunda is a name of Ganesh and it names also Danti (tusked one) at the same time.

Also Kumara Gayatri is mentioned below it in Yajurveda Taittariya Aranyaka 10.1.6

तत्पुरुषाय विद्महे महासेनाय धीमहि तन्नो षण्मुख प्रचोदयात् । tatpurushaye vidmahe mahasenaya dhimahi tanno shanmukha prachodayat.

We meditate upon Him who is great commander (of devas), may Shanmukha (sixfaced i.e., Kumara) guide us on right path.

Yajurveda Taittariye Samhita 4.5.4.1 contains this verse:

नमो गणेभ्यो गणपतिभ्येश्च भो नमो:
namo ganebhyo ganapatibhyescha bho namo |

It means:
Salutations to him who is in (Gana) host and who is in Ganapati (i.e., Lord of host)

Also in Rig Veda:

ॐ गणानां त्वा गणपतिं हवामहे कविं कवीनामुपमश्रवस्तमम् ।
ज्येष्ठराजं ब्रह्मणां ब्रह्मणस्पत आ नः षृण्वन्नूतिभिः सीदसादनम् ॥ [RigVeda 2.23.1]


We call thee, Lord and Leader of the heavenly hosts, the wise among the wise, the most famous of all, the King supreme of prayers, O Brahmaṇaspati: hear us with help; sit down in place of sacrifice.

Although the devata of this mantra is Brahmanaspati Veda scholars use this mantra to summon Ganesha as it satisfies all characters of Ganesh.

Some people also equate Brahmanaspati as Brihaspati. Some also say Brihaspati is aspect of Ganesh. But some debate Brihaspati is son of Angiras. Whatever it may be. We are not here for speculation.

But if we go by Jnana Kanda Marga, then Angiras, Brihaspati and Brahmanspati have special meaning. Here is how Brihadaranyaka Upanishad of Yajurveda describes it.

I-iii-19: It is called Ayasya Angirasa, for it is the essence of the members (of the body). The vital force is indeed the essence of the members. Of course it is their essence. (For instance), from whichever member the vital force departs, right there it withers. Therefore this is of course the essence of the members.

I-iii-20: This alone is also Brihaspati (lord of the Rik). Speech is indeed Brihati (Rik) and this is its lord. Therefore this is also Brihaspati.

I-iii-21: This alone is also Brahmanaspati (lord of the Yajus). Speech is indeed Brahman (yajus), and this is its lord. Therefore this is also Brahmanaspati.

Hence if we go by Jnana Kanda Marga:
 Angirasa= Anga + Rasa
  i.e., Vital fluid of body.

From Vital fluid of mouth(Angiras) comes the speech/Vak shakti (Brihaspati, Brahmanaspati). Hence by Jnana kanda we see them separately. Also Brihaspati is considered lord of Rik and Brahmanaspati considered lord of Yajus.

For the question why Ganesh isn't mentioned in Valmikiramayan. It is because Ganesh wasn't so much popular at that time. He was the chief leader of Gana of Shiva. Kumara/ Kartikeya is mentioned as he is commander of Vedic Gods like Indra. At that time dominance of Indra like God was more as evident from fight between Krishna and Indra when he stopped worship of Indra.

Furthermore if we go by Sabda Brahman Concept people who recite ValmikiRamayan also worship Ganesh. This verse is in Phala Shruti of Yuddha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana.

विनायकश्च शाम्यन्ति गृहे तिष्ठन्ति यस्य वै ।
विजयेत महीं राजा प्रवासि स्वस्तिमान् भवेत् ।।

Here is the word "विनायकश्च शाम्यन्ति" i.e., Vinayakascha Samyenti. i.e., Obstacles are removed. Although it is not calling Vinayaka. It is just used to denote obstacle. But by Sabda Brahman Concept one doesn't need to be aware of God also when it is chanted as evident from story of Valmiki (i.e., Mara Mara), also evident from story of Ajamila (i.e., Calling his son Narayana). Thus who is reciting Valmiki Ramayana if not aware of Lord Ganesh also then he still worships him. Same case applies in the other mantra where Gods name is used. This is the same reason how the seer of "Gananam tva Ganapatim...." of Rigveda i.e., Grutsduma became a great devotee of Ganesha later.


For the question why Ganesh isn't mentioned in Bhagvad Gita? You have to ask this question to Lord Krishna. Furthermore Bhagvad Gita is only popular in present time, It is just a very small portion of  Mahabharata. It became popular after Sankaracharya wrote commentary on Bhagvad Gita. Before that time Hinduism was dominated by Purva Mimamsha which doesn't go for Jnana marga.

For your question who is elder? As far as I know Vedas don't discuss who is elder. I don't want to cite Puranic stories as you don't believe in them.

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  • Do you have vedas with both Sanskrit and English translations? From where did you take those verses? – The Destroyer May 11 '16 at 8:55
  • @The Destroyer yes, I have some Vedas with both Sanskrit and English Translation.. I'm searching for Sanskrit of Taitteriya Samhita of Yajurveda but I haven't still found it.... – Tejaswee May 11 '16 at 8:56
  • not in moola samhita right ? and who is the devata for 4.5.4.1 of taitariya? – Rakesh Joshi Aug 27 '17 at 17:04
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As P. V. Kane explains in History of Dharmaśāstra, Vol II Part I, the Gaṇeśa most people today are familiar with cannot be found in the Vedas:

Gaṇapatipūjana

This consists in inviting the presence of the elephant-faced god Gaṇeśa on a betelnut placed in a handful of husked rice. The word Gaṇapati is used in the Ṛgveda as an attribute of Brahmaṇaspati (the lord of prayer or holy lore). The well-known mantra ('gaṇānāṃ tvā gaṇapatiṃ havāmahe' Ṛg. II.23.1) which is used to invoke Gaṇeśa is addressed to Brahmaṇaspati. Indra is addressed as Gaṇapati in Ṛg. X.112.9. In the Tai. S. IV.1.2.2 and Vāj. S., paśus (and the horse specially) are said to be the Gāṇapatya of Rudra. The Ait. Br. IV.4 expressly says that the mantra 'gaṇānām tvā' is addressed to Brahmaṇaspati. In the Vāj. S. 16.25 we have the plural ('Gaṇapatibhyaśca vo namo') and in 22.30 we have the singular 'Gaṇapataye svāhā'. The peculiar features of Gaṇeśa as described in the medieval works, viz. the head of an elephant, pot belly, mouse as vāhana (conveyance) are entirely wanting in the Vedic literature. In Vāj. S. III.57 the mouse is said to be the paśu (animal to be offered to) of Rudra. In the Tai. Ār. (X. 15) there is a verse 'We contemplate Vakratuṇḍa, therefore may the tusked (god) impel us'. In the Gṛhya and Dharma sūtras there is no reference to the worship of Gaṇeśa at the beginning of all auspicious rites. That is comparatively a later cult.

How do traditional Vedic commentators interpret the 'gaṇapati' verses of Ṛg and Yajur Vedas?

Quoting from Y. Krishan's The Origins of Gaṇeśa:

The Vedic bhāṣyakāras or commentators of the medieval period in no case find a reference to Gaṇeśa in the hymns cited above. Instead they interpret gaṇapati in a wide variety of ways:

  • as lord of the hosts of gods;
  • as lord of all creatures;
  • specifically as Indra;
  • as Rudra, lord of beasts, especially horses;
  • as the horse, lord of hosts;
  • as lord of the gathering of women.

These commentaries establish conclusively that the term gaṇapati in the Vedas was not identified with the elephant-headed and pot-bellied Gaṇeśa, and that the word gaṇas did not mean the mischief-making hosts of Śiva's attendants.

It is noteworthy that the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa, iv, 33, long after Gaṇeśa's identification as a Vedic god, makes the direct admission that ṛṣis, or sages, Brahmā, the Vedas, the Upaniṣads, and the six Śāstras do not know the true nature of Gaṇeśa.


Apparently, Skanda too is a post-Vedic god:

Gaṇeśa and Skanda

Skanda, eventually the younger brother of Gaṇeśa, is also absent from the authentic core of Vedic literature. He is named in the Atharvaveda, but in a supplement, pariśiṣṭa, of apocryphal character. He is called a piśāca, and thus a follower of Rudra. To worship him is considered worship of a crook, dhūrtayāga. In texts of the Kushan period he is described as the leader of evil spirits that afflict children, or is associated with the ambivalent Mother Goddesses. In the epic period, on the other hand, he has become the leader of the devas, and fights the champion Mahiṣa. No representation of Skanda in art is known prior to the first century A.D. There is apparently a close connection between the roles of Gaṇeśa and Skanda as one-time gods of evil, who in the end were taken into the Hindu pantheon at a high level.

Several other papers have also been written on this subject:

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  • Regarding Skanda - Can you give reference to your statement - He is named in the Atharvaveda, but in a supplement, pariśiṣṭa, of apocryphal character. He is called a piśāca, and thus a follower of Rudra. To worship him is considered worship of a crook, dhūrtayāga. In texts of the Kushan period he is described as the leader of evil spirits that afflict children, or is associated with the ambivalent Mother Goddesses? @sv. – Srimannarayana K V Aug 10 at 0:57
  • Check pg. 298 of the same paper. You can read more about Skanda in Evolution of Gaṇeśa, pg. 297. @srimannarayanakv – sv. Aug 10 at 4:45
  • There are some gaps in the answer. (1) Skanda or kaartikeya was mentioned in Ramayana, which was composed much earlier to Mahabharata, which is to be reconciled, (2) Can we relate the Skanda mentioned in the Atharvaveda as piśāca, with that of Kaartikeya mentioned in Ramayana? (3) By the time Ramayana was composed , Atharva Veda was not in existence, which was already mentioned by me in another answer, which you had already gone through. Please reconcile these issues. @sv. – Srimannarayana K V Aug 10 at 13:27
  • (1) Skanda/Kartikeya legend which follows the Ganga legend in Balakanda of Ramayana is clearly a late addition so no point in reconciling that story in VR with MBH. Besides, this wasn't part of your question. As for Ganesha-Vyasa conversation in MBH, it's clearly a late addition (see this post). (2) I don't think there's any need to reconcile AV with VR because, again, the Kartikeya story is found in Balakanda which is heavily interpolated. @srimannarayanakv – sv. Aug 10 at 17:49
  • (3). It would be erroneous to think every line/story in VR is older than AV when VR itself is heavily interpolated. AV hymns must have existed in a disorganized format long before VR. It's just that AV was accepted into the Vedic canon very late. Even in 9th century A.D. some people like Jayanta Bhatta of Nyaya school were fighting for AV to be accepted as a legitimate Veda. @srimannarayanakv – sv. Aug 10 at 17:54

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