Ganesha was the son of Shiva and Parvarti though, in another
legend, he was originally human featured and created by Parvarti to
be her protector. Ganesha, zealously guarding Parvarti’s quarters,
barred Shiva's way, and was decapitated for his trouble.
Shiva relented and gave Ganesha the head of the first animal to approach
him, an elephant.
An amiable and friendly deity, Ganesha is god of literature, learning,
and wisdom. In one story he broke off his tusk in a burst of enthusiasm
to write and used it as a pen. In another he hurls it at the moon who
was mocking him.
Ganesha is most popularly regarded as a god of luck, money and transactions
dealing with wealth. When an Indian bank becomes insolvent his effigy
is turned to face the wall.
Ganesha has an enormous appetite and eats whenever the opportunity and
His companion and steed is a rat, which was given to him by a demon
as a token of contempt.