Mudgala Purana

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

Like the Ganesha Purana, the Mudgala Purana considers Ganesha to represent the ultimate reality of being. As such, Ganesha’s manifestations are endless but eight of his incarnations (avatara) are of most importance. The text is organized into sections for each of these incarnations. These are not the same as the four incarnations of Ganesha that are described in the Ganesha Purana.

The incarnation described in the Mudgala Purana took place in different cosmic ages. The Mudgala Purana uses these incarnations to express complex philosophical concepts associated with the progressive creation of the world. Each incarnation represents a stage of the absolute as it unfolds into creation. Along with the philosophy, typical Puranic themes of battles with demons provide much of the story line. The incarnations appear in the following order:

  • Vakratunda (“twisting trunk”), first in the series, represents the absolute as the aggregate of all bodies, an embodiment of the form of Brahman. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Matsaryasura (envy, jealousy). His mount (vahana) is a lion.
  • Ekadanta (“single tusk”) represents the aggregate of all individual souls, an embodiment of the essential nature of Brahman. the purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Madasura (arrogance, conceit). His mount is a mouse.
  • Mahodara (“big belly”) is a synthesis of both Vakratunda and Ekadanta. It is the absolute as it enters into the creative process. It is an embodiment of the wisdom of Brahman. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Mohasura (delusion, confusion). His mount is a mouse.
  • Gajavaktra (or Gajanana) (“elephant face”) is a counterpart to Mahodara. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Lobhasura (greed). His mount is a mouse.
  • Lambodara (“pendulous belly”) is the first of four incarnations that correspond to the stage where the Puranic gods are created. Lambodara corresponds to Sakti, the pure power of Brahman. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Krodhasura (anger). His mount is a mouse.
  • Vikata (Vikana) (“unusual form”, “misshapen”) corresponds to Surya. He is an embodiment of the illuminating nature of Brahman. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Kamasura (lust). His mount is a peacock.
  • Vighnaraja (Vighnaraja) (“king of obstacles”),  He is an embodiment of the preserving nature of Brahman. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Mamasura (possessiveness). His mount is the celestial serpent Sesha.
  • Dhumravarna (Dhumravarna) (“grey color”) corresponds to Siva. He is an embodiment of the destructive nature of Brahman. The purpose of this incarnation is to overcome the demon Abhimanasura (pride, attachment). His mount is a horse.

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