Ganesha is the lord of success and destroyer of obstacles, worshiped as the god of education, wisdom and wealth. He is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride, the personification of the material universe in all its manifestations.
Ganesha's head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the supreme reality of human existence, while his body signifies Maya or mankind's earthly existence. The elephantine head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality.
In his upper right hand, Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha's upper left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties. The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata, one of Sanskrit's two major texts. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous.
The laddoo or sweet he holds represents the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he will always hear the prayers of the faithful. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. And he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse.
There's less popular story of Ganesha's origin, found in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana. In this version, Shiva asks Parvati to observe for one year the teachings of the Punyaka Vrata, a holy text. If she does, it will appease Shri Vishnu and he will grant her a son (which he does). When gods and goddesses assemble to rejoice in Ganesha's birth, the deity Shanti refuses to look at the infant. Perturbed at this behaviour, Parvati asks him the reason. Shanti replies that his looking at the baby would be fatal.
But Parvati insists, and when Shanti looks at the baby, the child's head is severed. Distressed, Shri Vishnu hurries to find a new head, returning with that of a young elephant. The head is attached to Ganesha's body and he is revived. ✨👁🕉🐘📿🎨✨