Ganesh Purana

The Ganesh Purana is a Hindu religious text dedicated to the Lord Ganesh. It is an upapurana that includes many stories and ritualistic elements relating to Ganesha. The Ganesh Purana and the Mudgala Purana are core scriptures for devotees of Lord Ganesh. These are the only two Purana that are exclusively dedicated to Ganesh.

The Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala Purana are the two late Puranas (c A.D. 1300-1600) produced by the Ganapatya sect. These two Puranas are considered authoritative by devotees of Ganesha and include material not found in earlier sources.

During the medieval period the followers of Ganesha, known the Ganapatyas, formed an independent religious movement dedicated to the worship of Ganesha as their preeminent deity. They considered Ganesha to be the qualified (saguna) form of the ultimate unqualified (nirguna) Brahman. The Ganesha Purana is pervaded with this concept and interprets well-known Puranic stories in new ways to emphasize the importance of Ganesha and to explain his relationships with other divinities.

The Purana specifies many methods of worship, key beliefs, and philosophical positions of the Ganapatya sect. The contents of the Ganesha Purana are difficult to summarize because they include a variety of stories and devotional material.

The Ganesa Purana is divided into two sections. The Upasanakhanda or “section on devotion” has 92 chapters, and the Kridakhanda or “section on the divine play (of Lord Ganesh)” has 155 chapters. The Kridakhanda is also called the Uttarakhanda in the colophons. Chapter 46 of the Upasanakhanda includes a stotra (hymn) that is the source text for one of the best-known versions of the Ganesha Sahasranama (hymn of praise listing 1,000 names of Ganesha). This stotra is recited in many temples today as a living part of Ganesha devotion.

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