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Mythology and Psychology - Lord Ganesa


Elephant headed God worshipped by nonvedic People was observed latter into Hindusim as Lord Ganesha, the son of Siva and Parvathi. Some say that oedipal Conflict and castration anxiety is the reason for Ganesan being a bachelor. The author tries to disprove the oedipaltheory by citing certain psychosocial factors like caste system.

Key words:

          Elephant Headed God / Lord Ganesha / Siva and Parvathi / oedipal theory / caste factors.

Lord Ganesha

Origin of Ganesha

Elephant headed god was worshipped by the non Vedic people as their harvest deity. He was worshipped by several sects in different parts of the country. With the rise in importance of the Ganesha cult, this deity was observed in to Hinduism as the son of Siva and Parvathi

Birth of Ganesha

            Parvathi   told Siva that she wanted a child. But shiva was not interested in a family. He turned away from her and went into the forest to perform tapas. Determined to be a mother, Parvathi decided to create a son for herself without the aid of her husband. She scrubbed her skin with sandal paste, scrapped off the dead skin, mixed with clay and molded out of it a beautiful doll into which she breathed life.

            She ordered her son, thus created, to keep watch over her cave and keep over all strangers. When Siva returned to kailash, Parvathi's son failed to recognize his mother's consort and prevented him from entering the cave.

            Irritated by the child's insolences, Siva raised his trident and cut off his head. When parvathi saw her son's headless body she wept and out of her tears came her fierce  handmaidens, the yoginis, who threaterned to destroy the entire world. To placate parvathi shiva resurrected the child by placing an elephant head on the severed head. Siva also accepted the lad as Ganesha, first of his sons.

“Ganesha stayed single”

            As believed in south, Ganesha could not find a perfect girl in the entire universe like that of his mother and  so he stayed single!

Psychology behind Lord Ganesha:

Ganesha's ever lasting desire to get a wife like that of his mother figure

-            Oedipal conflict.

Shiva beheaded him and later giving him an elephant head

-  Castration (anxiety)

(Elephant trunk – phallus symbol)

Some psychoanalytically oriented people tend to attribute the above said points as oedipal conflict and castration anxiety.

            Psychoanalysis without the knowledge of the  Local socioculteral factors may  lead to misinterpretations.

Psychosocial factors behind Lord Ganesha

Pilliyar       Vs     Yarr Pillai?

{Blessed child!   vs     whose child?}

            The idea behind whole story is to ensure female's chasity to make a male dominant society and to strengthen the caste system. If a female gets a child without the aid of her husband the child has be castrated! ie the message given to all females. The boy without the father's initial (elephant headed son- called  sandalan{Tamil} ; ( castration anxiety – inducing caste anxiety)    can not get married to the  Vedic braminical community,   thus ensuring avoidance of cross marriages among castes which will help to maintain (strengthen) the existing or evolving caste systems.

            No female will dare to marry this boy whose father is from a non Vedic community breaking the caste system. Naturally the boy has to be a life long bachelor.

            Although being Loved no female showed their willingness overtly to marry him he  is  by all mothers covertly as  all females love Lord  Krishna.

            “ gpbr;R itr;r gps;isahh ; ”

Decorated “ mOf;F gps;isahh; ;   is taken on a chariot for a procession across the streets  of the town just to drown in  him in the nearby river. In fact Parvathi herself drowned him in the river Ganga, amounting to (infanticide)  and the boy was saved and groomed by Ganga Devi. The boy is still waiting on the river side hoping to see his mother coming to bath. Although he could not find his own mother he is their  still on the river side  safeguarding  belongings of the bathing mothers (contrary to Lord krishna's behavior ) . For all  the mothers pillaiyar is their “chellapillai” while Krishna is their “chuttipillai”.


1.        Ganesha, Lord of Auspicious and Beginning by Paul & Courtight 1985 oxford

2.        Ganesha by Shakunthala Jeganathan and Nandhitha Krishna.

3.        Devi by Devdutt Pattnanaik.
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