Volkswagen

Volkswagen, [literally: "people's car"] (also known as VW) is an automobile manufacturer based in Wolfsburg, Germany.

It forms the core of Volkswagen AG (VWAG), one of the world's four largest car producers.

Origins in 1930s Germany

The Volkswagen main factory in Wolfsburg with its own power plant in the front.

Though the origins of the company date back to the 1930s, the design for the car that would become known as the Beetle / "Käfer" date back even further, as a pet project by car designer Ferdinand Porsche (1875–1951). Adolf Hitler's desire that almost anybody should be able to afford a car coincided with this design—although much of this design was inspired by the advanced Tatra cars of Hans Ledwinka.

Hitler's changes to the original design included better fuel efficiency (to make it more economical for the working man), reliability, ease of use, and economically efficient repairs and parts. The intention was that ordinary Germans would buy the car by means of a savings scheme ("Fünf Mark die Woche mußt Du sparen, willst Du im eigenen Wagen fahren" - "Save five Marks a week to drive in your own car"), which around 336,000 people eventually paid into. Volkswagen honored its savings agreements after World War II; Ford, which had a similar "coupon" savings system, reportedly did not. Prototypes of the car called the KdF-Wagen (German: Kraft durch Freude = "strength through joy"), appeared from 1936 onwards (the first cars had been produced in Stuttgart). The car already had its distinctive round shape and air-cooled, flat-four, rear-mounted engine, features similar to the Tatra. The VW car was just one of many KdF programs which included things such as tours and outings.

Erwin Komenda, the longstanding Porsche chief designer, developed the car body of the prototype, which was recognizably the Beetle we know today. It was one of the first to be designed with the aid of a wind tunnel; unlike the Chrysler Airflow, it would be a success.

The new factory in the new town of KdF-Stadt, now called Wolfsburg, purpose-built for the factory workers, only produced a handful of cars by the time war started in 1939. None were actually delivered to holders of the completed saving stamp books, though one Type 3 Cabriolet was presented to Hitler on his fiftieth birthday, in 1938.

War meant production turned to military vehicles, the Type 81 Kübelwagen utility vehicle (VW's most common wartime model) and the amphibious Schwimmwagen .

1945: British Army and Ivan Hirst, unclear future

The company owes its postwar existence largely to one man, British Army officer Major Ivan Hirst (1916–2000). In April 1945, KdF-Stadt and its heavily bombed factory were captured by the Americans, and handed to the British to administer. The factory was placed under the control of Oldham-born Hirst. At first, the plan was to use it for military vehicle maintenance. Since it had been used for military production, and had been a "political animal" (Hirst's words) rather than a commercial enterprise, the equipment was in time intended to be salvaged as war reparations. Hirst painted one of the factory's cars green and demonstrated it to British Army headquarters. Short of light transport, in September 1945 the British Army was persuaded to place a vital order for 20,000. The first few hundred cars went to personnel from the occupying forces, and to the German Post Office. By 1946 the factory was producing 1,000 cars a month, a remarkable feat considering the factory was still in disrepair: the damaged roof and windows meant rain stopped production; the steel to make the cars had to be bartered for new vehicles.

The car and its town changed their Second World War-era names to Volkswagen and Wolfsburg respectively, and production was increasing. It was still unclear what was to become of the factory. It was offered to representatives from the British, American and French motor industries. Famously, all rejected it. After an inspection of the plant, Sir William Rootes, head of the British Rootes Group, told Hirst the project would fail within two years, and that the car "is quite unattractive to the average motorcar buyer, is too ugly and too noisy ... If you think you're going to build cars in this place, you're a bloody fool, young man." (In a bizarre twist of fate, Volkswagen would manufacture a locally built version of Rootes' Hillman Avenger in Argentina in the 1980s, long after Rootes went bust at the hands of Chrysler in 1978—the Beetle outliving the Avenger by over 30 years)

Ford representatives were equally critical: the car was "not worth a damn". In France Citroën started the 2CV on a similar marketing concept. In Italy it was the Fiat 500.

1948–1974: Icon for German regeneration

An original and unmodified 1300 Deluxe dating from 1966

From 1948, Volkswagen became a very important element, symbolically and economically, of West German regeneration. Heinrich Nordhoff (1899–1968), a former senior manager at Opel who had overseen civilian and military vehicle production in the 1930s and 1940s, was recruited to run the factory in 1948. In 1949 Hirst left the company, now re-formed as a trust controlled by the West German government. Apart from the introduction of the Type 2 commercial vehicle (van, pickup and camper) and the Karmann Ghia sports car, Nordhoff pursued the one-model policy until shortly before his death in 1968.

On its entry to the U.S. market, the VW was briefly sold as a "Victory Wagon". Production of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle (German: 'Käfer', US: 'Bug', Mexican: 'Vocho', 'Vochito', French: 'Coccinelle', Portuguese: 'Carocha', Brazilian: 'Fusca', Danish: 'Boble, Folkevogn', Polish: 'Garbus') increased dramatically over the years, the total reaching one million in 1954. Despite the fact it was almost universally known as the Beetle, it was never officially known as such, instead referred to as the Type 1. Not until 1998 and the Golf-based New Beetle would the name be adopted by Wolfsburg.

During the 1960s and early 1970s, although the car was becoming outdated, American exports, innovative advertising and a growing reputation for reliability helped production figures to surpass the levels of the previous record holder, the Ford Model T. By 1973 total production was over 16 million.

VW expanded their product line in 1967 with the introduction of several Type 3 models, which were essentially body style variations (Fastback, Notchback, Squareback) based on Type 1 mechanical underpinnings, and again in 1969 with the relatively unpopular Type 4 (also known as the 411 and 412) models, which differed substantially from previous models with the notable introduction of unibody construction, a fully automatic transmission, electronic fuel injection, and a sturdier powerplant. In 1973, Volkswagen introduced the military-themed Thing (Type 181) in America, recalling the wartime Type 81. The military version was produced for the NATO-era German army (Bundeswehr) during the cold war years of 1970 to 1979. The US Thing version only lasted two years, 1973 and 1974, due at least in part to Ralph Nader's automobile safety campaigns.

1974: From Beetle to Golf

Volkswagen was in serious trouble by the end of the 1960s. The Type 3 and Type 4 models had been comparative flops, and the NSU-based K70 also failed to woo buyers. The company knew that Beetle production had to end one day, but the conundrum of replacing it had been a never ending nightmare. The key to the problem was the 1964 acquisition of Audi/Auto-Union. The Ingolstadt-based firm had the necessary expertise in front wheel drive and water-cooled engines that Volkswagen so desperately needed to produce a credible Beetle successor. Audi influences paved the way for this new generation of Volkswagens, known as the Polo, Golf and Passat.

Production of the Beetle at the Wolfsburg factory switched to the VW Golf in 1974, marketed in the United States as the Volkswagen Rabbit in the 1970s and as the Golf in the 1980s. This was a car unlike its predecessor in most significant ways, both mechanically as well as visually (its angular styling was designed by the Italian Giorgetto Giugiaro). Its design followed trends for small family cars set by the 1959 Mini and 1972 Renault 5—the Golf had a transversely mounted, water-cooled engine in the front, driving the front wheels, and had a hatchback, a format that has dominated the market segment ever since. Beetle production continued in smaller numbers at other German factories until 1978, but mainstream production shifted to Brazil and Mexico.

From 1970s to present

Volkswagen Polo 1990

While Volkswagen's range of cars soon became similar to that of other large European car-makers, the Golf has been the mainstay of the Volkswagen lineup since its introduction, and the mechanical basis for several other cars of the company. There have been five generations of the Volkswagen Golf, the first of which was produced from the summer of 1974 until the end of 1983, sold as the Rabbit in the United States. Its chassis also spawned the Scirocco coupe and Jetta sedan. The second generation Golf hatchback/Jetta sedan ran from late 1983 to late 1991. In 1991, Volkswagen launched the third-generation Golf and it was third time lucky when the Volkswagen Golf was voted European Car of the Year for 1992. The previous two versions had lost out to the Citroën CX in 1975 and the Fiat Uno in 1984. This time the sedan version of the Golf was badged Vento in Europe (but Jetta in the USA). The fourth incarnation of the Golf arrived in late 1997, its chassis spawned a host of other cars within the Volkswagen group—the Volkswagen Bora (the sedan, still called Jetta in the USA), Volkswagen New Beetle, Seat Toledo, Seat Leon, Audi A3, Audi TT and Skoda Octavia. However, it was beaten into third place for the 1998 European Car of the Year award by the winning Alfa Romeo 156 and runner-up Audi A6. The current Volkswagen Golf was launched in late 2003, came runner-up to the Fiat Panda in the 2004 European Car of the Year, and has so far spawned the new generation Seat Toledo, Skoda Octavia and Audi A3 hatchback ranges as well as a new mini-MPV, the Seat Altea. The fifth-generation Golf is now available in Europe, and the GTI boasts a 2.0 L Turbocharged direct injection engine. The fifth generation Jetta, and the performance version, the GLI, are currently available in the United States and Canada.

The other main models have been the Polo, a smaller car than the Golf, and the larger Passat for the segment above the Golf. As of 2005, there have been four incarnations of the Polo: Mk 1 (1976), Mk 2 (1981, facelifted 1990), Mk 3 (1994, facelifted 1999) and the current Mk 4 (2002). The Scirocco and Corrado were both Golf-based coupés.

Volkswagen Phaeton

In 1998, Volkswagen launched the J Mays-designed New Beetle, a "retro"-themed car with a resemblance to the original Beetle but based on the Golf. Its genesis was secret and in opposition to VW management, who felt it was too backward-looking. It has been popular in the USA, less so in Europe. In 2002, Volkswagen announced two models taking it into market segments new to the company: the Phaeton luxury car, and the Touareg ("tour regg") SUV. The Phaeton was critically acclaimed but not well received in the marketplace. In 2005 VW announced its discontinuance on the US market for fall 2006, mainly due to the disappointing sales there and the need for major investments in the cars line of engines (W12 and V8) to meet new emission requirements. Also, Volkswagen has faced harsh criticism that the Phaeton had used up money that was better invested in their smaller cars. Much of this criticism is due to the poor quality of the last generation Jetta/Golf and the preceived lack of performance in the new Jetta. Much of the criticism of the new Jetta was stated before the new GLI model came out.

Volkswagen currently offers a number of its vehicles with an advanced, light duty diesel engine known as the TDI. While extremely popular in the European market, light duty diesels do not yet enjoy the same wide acceptance in the American marketplace, despite increased fuel economy and performance comparable to gasoline engines due to turbocharging. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 4 of the 10 most fuel efficient vehicles available for sale in the U.S. in 2004 were powered by Volkswagen diesel engines. They were a three way tie for 8th (TDI Beetle, TDI Golf, TDI Jetta) and 9th, the TDI Jetta Wagon. Sales of light duty diesel engine technology are increasing as gasoline prices rise. Products such as the Toyota Prius might have highlighted the economy of non-gasoline engines, but in reality, a Volkswagen TDI engine is often found to be more efficient than the Prius on the highway (although not so when driving in the city). In addition, all VAG TDI diesel engines produced since 1996 can be driven on 100% biodiesel.

Cult status of the Beetle

Beetles used as restaurant taxis

Like its competitors, the Mini and the Citroën 2CV, the original-shape Beetle long outlasted predictions of its lifespan. More so than those cars, it maintains a very strong following worldwide, being regarded as something of a "cult" car, like the Delorean since its 1960s association with the hippie movement. Currently, there is a wide array of clubs that are concerned with the beetle. The fans are quite diverse. Looks include the resto-look, Cal Look, German-look, resto-Cal Look, buggies, Baja bugs, old school, ratlook, etc. Part of their cult status is attributed to being one of a few cars with an air-cooled, horizontally-opposed engine design and the consequent ease of repair and modification as opposed to the more conventional and technically complex watercooled engine design.

By 2002 there had been over 21 million Type 1's had been produced.

On July 21, 2003, the last Type 1 rolled off the production line in Puebla, Puebla, Mexico. It was car number 21,529,464, and was immediately shipped off to the company's museum in Wolfsburg, Germany. In true Mexican fashion, a mariachi band serenaded the last car in the 68-year-old history. The last car was nicknamed El Rey, which is Spanish for "The King". The last 3000 type 1's were called the "Ultima Edicion" or the last edition.

In the United States, most notably in California, Volkswagen enthusiasts frequent large Volkswagen-themed car shows, especially in the summer months. Many of these shows feature camping, a car show called a "show 'n' shine", drag racing, parts swap meet, raffles, and other events. Die-hard and loyal "VW-heads" attend these shows regularly, often travelling 500 miles or more to attend their favorite event.

In the winter, a group of drivers of the "split window" bus model (1951-1967 Microbusses, trucks, campers, and panel vans) drive from Guerneville, CA, to Mt. Shasta CA, entirely on unpaved jeep roads. This event is called the "Mt. Shasta Snow Trip Challenge" and is a good example of VW enthusiasts' trust in the durability of their often 40-year-old cars.

Relationship with Porsche

The company has had a close relationship with Porsche, the Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer founded in 1947 by Ferry Porsche, son of the original Volkswagen designer Ferdinand Porsche. The first Porsche cars, the 1948 Porsche 356, used many Volkswagen components including a tuned engine, gearbox and suspension. Later collaborations include the 1969/1970 VW-Porsche 914, the 1976 Porsche 924 (which used many Audi components and was built at an Audi factory), and the 2002 Porsche Cayenne (which shares engineering with the VW Touareg).

In September 2005, Porsche announced it was buying a 20% stake in Volkswagen at a cost of €3 billion, with the intention that the combined stakes of Porsche, Volkswagen and the government of Lower Saxony ensure that any hostile takeover by foreign investors would be impossible [1].

Corporate structure

Volkswagen is part of the Volkswagen group, along with:

  • Audi (the former post-WWII Auto Union/DKW)—bought from Daimler-Benz in 1964.
  • NSU—bought in 1969 by Volkswagen's Audi division, a brand not used since 1977
  • SEAT—majority owned since 1987
  • Škoda—bought in 1991
  • Bentley—bought in 1998 from Vickers along with Rolls-Royce -cannot produce cars using the Rolls-Royce marque because the trademarks went to BMW
  • Bugatti—name bought in 1998
  • Lamborghini —bought in 1998

From July 1998 until December 2002, Volkswagen's Bentley division also sold cars under the Rolls-Royce name under an agreement with BMW, which had bought the rights to that name. From 2003, only BMW may make cars called Rolls-Royce.


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From 2003, only BMW may make cars called Rolls-Royce. The Ganesha Mantram is sung melodiously several times during a traumatic event. From July 1998 until December 2002, Volkswagen's Bentley division also sold cars under the Rolls-Royce name under an agreement with BMW, which had bought the rights to that name. The movie Garden State begins with an invocation to Ganesha. Volkswagen is part of the Volkswagen group, along with:. In Monkeybone, Jumbo the Elephant God is somewhat based on Ganesha. In September 2005, Porsche announced it was buying a 20% stake in Volkswagen at a cost of €3 billion, with the intention that the combined stakes of Porsche, Volkswagen and the government of Lower Saxony ensure that any hostile takeover by foreign investors would be impossible [1]. Related: Janus, Elephant God.

Later collaborations include the 1969/1970 VW-Porsche 914, the 1976 Porsche 924 (which used many Audi components and was built at an Audi factory), and the 2002 Porsche Cayenne (which shares engineering with the VW Touareg). Another much-loved murti is that of Bala Gajanana or Bala Ganesha (literally, little Ganesha or baby Ganesha), in which a very young Ganesha with a small trunk and large eyes is portrayed in the arms of his Divine Parents, or while he is sweetly embracing the Lingam, the symbol of Shiva. The first Porsche cars, the 1948 Porsche 356, used many Volkswagen components including a tuned engine, gearbox and suspension. Some of Ganesha's other names are:. The company has had a close relationship with Porsche, the Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer founded in 1947 by Ferry Porsche, son of the original Volkswagen designer Ferdinand Porsche. Needless to say, almost all Hindu gods have one or two accepted versions of their own sahasranaam liturgy. Shasta Snow Trip Challenge" and is a good example of VW enthusiasts' trust in the durability of their often 40-year-old cars. Each is different and conveys a different meaning, representing a different aspect of the god in question.

This event is called the "Mt. Like other Hindu Murti (or gods and goddesses), Ganesh has many other titles of respect or symbolic names, and is often worshipped through the chanting of sahasranamam (pronounced saa-HUS-ruh-naamam), or a thousand names. Shasta CA, entirely on unpaved jeep roads. Ganesha, in astrology, is believed to help people know what can be achieved and what cannot be. In the winter, a group of drivers of the "split window" bus model (1951-1967 Microbusses, trucks, campers, and panel vans) drive from Guerneville, CA, to Mt. It is believed that he blesses those who meditate upon him. Die-hard and loyal "VW-heads" attend these shows regularly, often travelling 500 miles or more to attend their favorite event. Ganesha is worshipped as Vinayak (knowledgeable) and Vighneshwer (remover of obstacles).

Many of these shows feature camping, a car show called a "show 'n' shine", drag racing, parts swap meet, raffles, and other events. Whether it is diwali puja, a new house, a new vehicle, students praying before the exams, or people praying before job interviews, it is Ganesha they pray to, because it is believed that he will come to their aid and grant them success in their endeavor. In the United States, most notably in California, Volkswagen enthusiasts frequent large Volkswagen-themed car shows, especially in the summer months. This is why Ganesh is believed to be the harbinger of good fortune, and why he is invoked first at any ritual or cermony. The last 3000 type 1's were called the "Ultima Edicion" or the last edition. It is widely believed that "Wherever there is Ganesh, there is Success and Prosperity" and "Wherever there is Success and Prosperity there is Ganesh". The last car was nicknamed El Rey, which is Spanish for "The King". Ganesha has two Siddhis (symbolically represented as wives or consorts): Siddhi (success) and Riddhi (prosperity).

In true Mexican fashion, a mariachi band serenaded the last car in the 68-year-old history.
. It was car number 21,529,464, and was immediately shipped off to the company's museum in Wolfsburg, Germany. The book Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles by Manuela Dunn Mascetti is another of many resources that testify to the Hindu milk miracle. On July 21, 2003, the last Type 1 rolled off the production line in Puebla, Puebla, Mexico. [3]. By 2002 there had been over 21 million Type 1's had been produced. However it still remains a mystery of why such capillary action has not repeated itself.

Part of their cult status is attributed to being one of a few cars with an air-cooled, horizontally-opposed engine design and the consequent ease of repair and modification as opposed to the more conventional and technically complex watercooled engine design. Some scientific experiments conducted in that time frame suggested capillary action as an explanation for this phenomenon. Looks include the resto-look, Cal Look, German-look, resto-Cal Look, buggies, Baja bugs, old school, ratlook, etc. This was seen as a miracle by many although skeptics contend that this was another example of collective hysteria. The fans are quite diverse. The phenomena spread from New Delhi to New York, Canada, Mauritius, Kenya, Australia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Hong Kong, Trinidad, Grenada and Italy among other reported places. Currently, there is a wide array of clubs that are concerned with the beetle. On September 21 1995, according to Hinduism Today magazine (www.hinduismtoday.com), Ganesh statues in India began spontaneously drinking milk when a spoonful was placed near the mouth of statues honoring the elephant god.

More so than those cars, it maintains a very strong following worldwide, being regarded as something of a "cult" car, like the Delorean since its 1960s association with the hippie movement. Recently, there has been a resurgence of Ganesha worship and an increased interest in the "Western world" due to a spate of alleged miracles in September 1995. Like its competitors, the Mini and the Citroën 2CV, the original-shape Beetle long outlasted predictions of its lifespan. The worship of Ganesha in Japan has been traced back to 806. In addition, all VAG TDI diesel engines produced since 1996 can be driven on 100% biodiesel. For this reason, the immersion of the murtis of Ganesh in nearby holy rivers is undertaken since the murtis are acknowledged to be only temporal understandings of a higher being as opposed to being 'idols,' which have traditionally been seen as objects worshipped for their own sake as divine. Products such as the Toyota Prius might have highlighted the economy of non-gasoline engines, but in reality, a Volkswagen TDI engine is often found to be more efficient than the Prius on the highway (although not so when driving in the city). Thus, to refer to the murtis as idols betrays Western Judeo-Christian understandings of insubstantial object worship whereas in India, Hindu deities are seen to be accessed through points of symbolic focus known as murtis.

Sales of light duty diesel engine technology are increasing as gasoline prices rise. Ganesh is seen not as a physical entity but a higher spiritual being, and murtis, or statue-representations, act as signifiers of him as an ideal. They were a three way tie for 8th (TDI Beetle, TDI Golf, TDI Jetta) and 9th, the TDI Jetta Wagon. In India, the statues are impressions of symbolic significance and thus have never been claimed to be exact replications of a living figure. in 2004 were powered by Volkswagen diesel engines. Representations of Shri Ganesh are based on thousands of years of religious symbolism that resulted in the figure of an elephant-head god. Environmental Protection Agency, 4 of the 10 most fuel efficient vehicles available for sale in the U.S. For more details regarding Lalbaugcha Raja please log on the official site http://www.lalbaugcharaja.com/.

According to the U.S. Day by day the number of devotees for Lalbaugcha Raja has been increasing infinitely. While extremely popular in the European market, light duty diesels do not yet enjoy the same wide acceptance in the American marketplace, despite increased fuel economy and performance comparable to gasoline engines due to turbocharging. All devotees from every corner of the globe gather at Lalbaug for the festival. Volkswagen currently offers a number of its vehicles with an advanced, light duty diesel engine known as the TDI. It is widely believed that every wish one expresses to Lord Ganesha must come true. Much of the criticism of the new Jetta was stated before the new GLI model came out. The Ganesha festival starts on Ganesh Chaturthi (fourth day of Hindu calendar month Bhadrapada) and ends on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of Bhadrapada).

Much of this criticism is due to the poor quality of the last generation Jetta/Golf and the preceived lack of performance in the new Jetta. Particularly at Lalbaug where the divine idol of Lalbaugcha raja (The Lord Of Lalbaug, as Ganesha is fondly called) is set. Also, Volkswagen has faced harsh criticism that the Phaeton had used up money that was better invested in their smaller cars. One who really wants to taste the festival needs to come down to the city of Mumbai. In 2005 VW announced its discontinuance on the US market for fall 2006, mainly due to the disappointing sales there and the need for major investments in the cars line of engines (W12 and V8) to meet new emission requirements. In various North and East Indian cities, like Kolkata, they are immersed in the holy Ganga river. The Phaeton was critically acclaimed but not well received in the marketplace. In Mumbai (earlier known as Bombay), the murti is immersed in the Arabian Sea and in Pune the Mula-Mutha river.

In 2002, Volkswagen announced two models taking it into market segments new to the company: the Phaeton luxury car, and the Touareg ("tour regg") SUV. This festival is celebrated and it culminates on the day of Ananta Chaturdashi when the murti of Lord Ganesha is immersed into the most convenient body of water. It has been popular in the USA, less so in Europe. This was introduced by Balgangadhar Tilak as a means of promoting nationalist sentiment when India was ruled by the British. Its genesis was secret and in opposition to VW management, who felt it was too backward-looking. It is celebrated for ten days starting from Ganesh Chaturthi. In 1998, Volkswagen launched the J Mays-designed New Beetle, a "retro"-themed car with a resemblance to the original Beetle but based on the Golf. While it is most popular in the state of Maharashtra, it is performed all over India.

The Scirocco and Corrado were both Golf-based coupés. In India, there is an important festival honouring Lord Ganesha. As of 2005, there have been four incarnations of the Polo: Mk 1 (1976), Mk 2 (1981, facelifted 1990), Mk 3 (1994, facelifted 1999) and the current Mk 4 (2002). That's how he remained a brahmachari, a life-long celibate, following the strict rules of Brahmacharya. The other main models have been the Polo, a smaller car than the Golf, and the larger Passat for the segment above the Golf. He decided not to marry. The fifth generation Jetta, and the performance version, the GLI, are currently available in the United States and Canada. Ganesha realised that all women were veritable manifestations of his Mother.

The fifth-generation Golf is now available in Europe, and the GTI boasts a 2.0 L Turbocharged direct injection engine. When he wounded the cat she was hurt. The current Volkswagen Golf was launched in late 2003, came runner-up to the Fiat Panda in the 2004 European Car of the Year, and has so far spawned the new generation Seat Toledo, Skoda Octavia and Audi A3 hatchback ranges as well as a new mini-MPV, the Seat Altea. Parvati explained that She as Divine Power was immanent in all beings. However, it was beaten into third place for the 1998 European Car of the Year award by the winning Alfa Romeo 156 and runner-up Audi A6. Mother Parvati replied that this was caused by none other than Ganesha himself! Surprised Ganesha wanted to know when did he hurt her. The fourth incarnation of the Golf arrived in late 1997, its chassis spawned a host of other cars within the Volkswagen group—the Volkswagen Bora (the sedan, still called Jetta in the USA), Volkswagen New Beetle, Seat Toledo, Seat Leon, Audi A3, Audi TT and Skoda Octavia. He enquired how she got hurt.

This time the sedan version of the Golf was badged Vento in Europe (but Jetta in the USA). When he returned home he found a wound in his Mother's body. The previous two versions had lost out to the Citroën CX in 1975 and the Fiat Uno in 1984. While playing, once, Ganesha wounded a cat. In 1991, Volkswagen launched the third-generation Golf and it was third time lucky when the Volkswagen Golf was voted European Car of the Year for 1992. When asked why he did so, he answered that to him, his parents meant the three worlds and was given the fruit of knowledge. The second generation Golf hatchback/Jetta sedan ran from late 1983 to late 1991. Karthikeya went off on a journey to cover the three worlds while Ganesha simply circumambulated his parents.

Its chassis also spawned the Scirocco coupe and Jetta sedan. Once there was a competition between Ganesha and his brother Karthikeya as to who could circumambulate the three worlds faster and hence win the fruit of knowledge. There have been five generations of the Volkswagen Golf, the first of which was produced from the summer of 1974 until the end of 1983, sold as the Rabbit in the United States. With that, Ganesha was finally satisfied and calmed. While Volkswagen's range of cars soon became similar to that of other large European car-makers, the Golf has been the mainstay of the Volkswagen lineup since its introduction, and the mechanical basis for several other cars of the company. Ganesha had swallowed up almost the entire city when Kubera finally arrived and humbly gave him the rice. Beetle production continued in smaller numbers at other German factories until 1978, but mainstream production shifted to Brazil and Mexico. The Lord then gave him a handful of roasted rice, saying that only that would satiate Ganesha.

Its design followed trends for small family cars set by the 1959 Mini and 1972 Renault 5—the Golf had a transversely mounted, water-cooled engine in the front, driving the front wheels, and had a hatchback, a format that has dominated the market segment ever since. Desperate, Kubera rushed to mount Kailasa to ask Shiva to remedy the situation. This was a car unlike its predecessor in most significant ways, both mechanically as well as visually (its angular styling was designed by the Italian Giorgetto Giugiaro). If you don't give me something else to eat, I will eat you as well!", he said to Kubera. Production of the Beetle at the Wolfsburg factory switched to the VW Golf in 1974, marketed in the United States as the Volkswagen Rabbit in the 1970s and as the Golf in the 1980s. "I am hungry. Audi influences paved the way for this new generation of Volkswagens, known as the Polo, Golf and Passat. Terrified, Kubera prostrated himself in front of the little omnivorous one and supplicated him to spare him, at least, the rest of the palace.

The Ingolstadt-based firm had the necessary expertise in front wheel drive and water-cooled engines that Volkswagen so desperately needed to produce a credible Beetle successor. Having devoured everything which had been prepared, Ganesha began eating the decorations, the tableware, the furniture, the chandelier... The key to the problem was the 1964 acquisition of Audi/Auto-Union. There was not even time to substitute one plate with another because Ganesha had already devoured everything, and with gests of impatience, continued waiting for more food. The company knew that Beetle production had to end one day, but the conundrum of replacing it had been a never ending nightmare. His appetite did not decrease even after he had devoured the servings which were destined for the other guests. The Type 3 and Type 4 models had been comparative flops, and the NSU-based K70 also failed to woo buyers. While the servants of Kubera were working themselves to the bone in order to bring the portions, the little Ganesha just continued to eat and eat and eat...

Volkswagen was in serious trouble by the end of the 1960s. After these initial rites, the great banquet began. The US Thing version only lasted two years, 1973 and 1974, due at least in part to Ralph Nader's automobile safety campaigns. There, he offered him a ceremonial bath and dressed him in sumptuous clothing. The military version was produced for the NATO-era German army (Bundeswehr) during the cold war years of 1970 to 1979. He took the little son of Shiva with him into his great city. In 1973, Volkswagen introduced the military-themed Thing (Type 181) in America, recalling the wartime Type 81. But I warn you that he is a voracious eater." Unperturbed, Kubera felt confident that he could satisfy even the most insatiable appetite, like that of Ganesha, with his opulence.

VW expanded their product line in 1967 with the introduction of several Type 3 models, which were essentially body style variations (Fastback, Notchback, Squareback) based on Type 1 mechanical underpinnings, and again in 1969 with the relatively unpopular Type 4 (also known as the 411 and 412) models, which differed substantially from previous models with the notable introduction of unibody construction, a fully automatic transmission, electronic fuel injection, and a sturdier powerplant. Shiva smiled and said to him: "I cannot come, but you can invite my son Ganesha. By 1973 total production was over 16 million. Since he was extremely vain, he invited Shiva to a feast in his fabulous city, Alakapuri, so that he could show off to him all of his wealth. During the 1960s and early 1970s, although the car was becoming outdated, American exports, innovative advertising and a growing reputation for reliability helped production figures to surpass the levels of the previous record holder, the Ford Model T. One anecdote, taken from the Purana, narrates that the treasurer of Svarga (paradise) and god of wealth, Kubera, went one day to mount Kailasa in order to receive the darshan (vision) of Shiva. Not until 1998 and the Golf-based New Beetle would the name be adopted by Wolfsburg. Ganesha is also known as the destroyer of vanity, egoism and pride.

Despite the fact it was almost universally known as the Beetle, it was never officially known as such, instead referred to as the Type 1. Shiva, satisfied with this response, pronouned his son the winner and, from that moment on, he was acclaimed with the name of Ganapati (Conductor of the celestial armies) and Vinayaka (Lord of all beings). Production of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle (German: 'Käfer', US: 'Bug', Mexican: 'Vocho', 'Vochito', French: 'Coccinelle', Portuguese: 'Carocha', Brazilian: 'Fusca', Danish: 'Boble, Folkevogn', Polish: 'Garbus') increased dramatically over the years, the total reaching one million in 1954. Ganesha told him of his encounter with Narada and of the Brahmin's counsel. market, the VW was briefly sold as a "Victory Wagon". Ganesha returned to his father, who asked him how he was able to finish the race so quickly. On its entry to the U.S. Narada consoled him, exhorting him not to despair, and gave him a word of counsel:.

Apart from the introduction of the Type 2 commercial vehicle (van, pickup and camper) and the Karmann Ghia sports car, Nordhoff pursued the one-model policy until shortly before his death in 1968. The son of Shiva explained to him the motives for his sadness and his terrible desire to win. In 1949 Hirst left the company, now re-formed as a trust controlled by the West German government. Nonetheless, the great Brahmin succeeded in calming his fury. Heinrich Nordhoff (1899–1968), a former senior manager at Opel who had overseen civilian and military vehicle production in the 1930s and 1940s, was recruited to run the factory in 1948. Moreover, it wasn't considered a good sign to be asked where one was heading when one was already on the way to some destination; therefore, Ganesha felt doubly unfortunate. From 1948, Volkswagen became a very important element, symbolically and economically, of West German regeneration. Notwithstanding the fact that Narada was the greatest of Brahmins, son of Brahma himself, this was still a bad omen.

In Italy it was the Fiat 500. Ganesha was very annoyed and went into a rage because it was considered unlucky to encounter a solitary Brahmin just at the beginning of a voyage. In France Citroën started the 2CV on a similar marketing concept. He had not yet made much headway when there appeared before him the sage Narada (son of Brahma), who asked him where he was going. Ford representatives were equally critical: the car was "not worth a damn". The gods took off, each on his or her own vehicle, and even Ganesha participated with enthusiasm in the race; but he was extremely heavy and was riding on a mouse! Naturally, his pace was remarkably slow and this was a great disadvantage. If you think you're going to build cars in this place, you're a bloody fool, young man." (In a bizarre twist of fate, Volkswagen would manufacture a locally built version of Rootes' Hillman Avenger in Argentina in the 1980s, long after Rootes went bust at the hands of Chrysler in 1978—the Beetle outliving the Avenger by over 30 years). The competitors were required to circle the world as fast as possible and return to the Feet of Shiva.

After an inspection of the plant, Sir William Rootes, head of the British Rootes Group, told Hirst the project would fail within two years, and that the car "is quite unattractive to the average motorcar buyer, is too ugly and too noisy .. There once took place a great competition between the Devas to decide who among them should be the head of the Gana (the troops of semi-gods at the service of Shiva). Famously, all rejected it. This explains why, in certain moments, the light of the Moon goes off and then begins gradually to reappaer; but its face appears whole only for a brief period of time, since it is once again "broken" in half to the point of disappearing. It was offered to representatives from the British, American and French motor industries. Ganesha softened his curse such that the moon would wax and wane in intensity every fifteen days and anyone who looks at the moon during Ganesh Chaturthi would incur bad-luck. It was still unclear what was to become of the factory. Ganesha relented and since a curse cannot be revoked, only softened it.

The car and its town changed their Second World War-era names to Volkswagen and Wolfsburg respectively, and production was increasing. Hearing this, Chandradev realised his folly and asked for forgiveness from Ganesha. By 1946 the factory was producing 1,000 cars a month, a remarkable feat considering the factory was still in disrepair: the damaged roof and windows meant rain stopped production; the steel to make the cars had to be bartered for new vehicles. He then cursed it, decreeing that anyone who happens to see the moon will incur bad luck. The first few hundred cars went to personnel from the occupying forces, and to the German Post Office. Ganesha, being the short-tempered one, cursed Chandradev for his arrogance and breaking off one of his tusks, hurled it against the Moon, slashing its luminous face in two. Short of light transport, in September 1945 the British Army was persuaded to place a vital order for 20,000. Chandradev (Moon God) saw the whole scene and laughed.

Hirst painted one of the factory's cars green and demonstrated it to British Army headquarters. Satisfied by this solution, he remounted his mouse and continued his excursion. Since it had been used for military production, and had been a "political animal" (Hirst's words) rather than a commercial enterprise, the equipment was in time intended to be salvaged as war reparations. He took the serpent which had caused the accident and used it as a belt to keep his stomach closed and bandage the injury. At first, the plan was to use it for military vehicle maintenance. Nonetheless, he was too intelligent to get angry about this accident and, without wasting any time in useless lamentations, he tried to remedy the situation as best he could. The factory was placed under the control of Oldham-born Hirst. Ganesha's huge stomach smashed against the ground so forefully that it burst open and all of the sweets that he had eaten were scattered around him.

In April 1945, KdF-Stadt and its heavily bombed factory were captured by the Americans, and handed to the British to administer. Suddenly a snake appeared out of nowhere and nearly frightened the mouse to death, causing it to jump and Ganesha was thrown off his mount. The company owes its postwar existence largely to one man, British Army officer Major Ivan Hirst (1916–2000). It was a magnificent night and the moon was resplendent. War meant production turned to military vehicles, the Type 81 Kübelwagen utility vehicle (VW's most common wartime model) and the amphibious Schwimmwagen . He got on the mouse which he used as his vehicle and took off. None were actually delivered to holders of the completed saving stamp books, though one Type 3 Cabriolet was presented to Hitler on his fiftieth birthday, in 1938. It is said that one day Ganesha, after having received from many of his devotees an enormous amount of sweets (Modak), in order to better digest this incredible mass of food, decided to go for a ride.

The new factory in the new town of KdF-Stadt, now called Wolfsburg, purpose-built for the factory workers, only produced a handful of cars by the time war started in 1939. Parashurama hurled himself at Ganesha with his axe and Ganesha (knowing that this axe was given to him by Shiva) allowed himself to be struck and lost his tusk as a result. It was one of the first to be designed with the aid of a wind tunnel; unlike the Chrysler Airflow, it would be a success. One day Parashurama, an avatar of Vishnu, went to pay a visit to Shiva, but along the way he was blocked by Ganesha. Erwin Komenda, the longstanding Porsche chief designer, developed the car body of the prototype, which was recognizably the Beetle we know today. He broke off a tusk and used it as a pen so that the transcription could proceed without interruption, permitting him to keep his word.[2]. The VW car was just one of many KdF programs which included things such as tours and outings. The dictation began, but in the rush of writing Ganesha's pen broke.

The car already had its distinctive round shape and air-cooled, flat-four, rear-mounted engine, features similar to the Tatra. In this way, Vyasa might recuperate a bit from his continuous talking by simply reciting a difficult verse which Ganesha could not understand. Prototypes of the car called the KdF-Wagen (German: Kraft durch Freude = "strength through joy"), appeared from 1936 onwards (the first cars had been produced in Stuttgart). The sage, in his turn, posed the condition that Ganesha would not only have to write, but would have to understand everything that he heard before writing it down. Volkswagen honored its savings agreements after World War II; Ford, which had a similar "coupon" savings system, reportedly did not. Ganesha agreed, but only on the condition that Vyasa recite the poem uninterruptedly, without pausing. The intention was that ordinary Germans would buy the car by means of a savings scheme ("Fünf Mark die Woche mußt Du sparen, willst Du im eigenen Wagen fahren" - "Save five Marks a week to drive in your own car"), which around 336,000 people eventually paid into. In the first part of the epic poem Mahabharata, it is written that the sage Vyasa asked Ganesha to transcribe the poem as he dictated it to him.

Hitler's changes to the original design included better fuel efficiency (to make it more economical for the working man), reliability, ease of use, and economically efficient repairs and parts. There are various anecdotes which explain how Ganesha broke off one of his tusks. Adolf Hitler's desire that almost anybody should be able to afford a car coincided with this design—although much of this design was inspired by the advanced Tatra cars of Hans Ledwinka. The river goddess Ganga claimed him as her son, but Shiva declared him to be Parvati's son, reduced his five heads to one and enthroned him as the Controller of obstacles (Vigneshwara). Though the origins of the company date back to the 1930s, the design for the car that would become known as the Beetle / "Käfer" date back even further, as a pet project by car designer Ferdinand Porsche (1875–1951). Still another tale states that on one occasion, the used bath-water of Parvati was thrown into the Ganges and this water was drunk by the elephant-headed Goddess Malini, who gave birth to a baby with four arms and five elephant heads. . When this happened, the head of Indra's elephant was used to replace it.

It forms the core of Volkswagen AG (VWAG), one of the world's four largest car producers. Kashyap cursed Shiva and declared that Shiva's son would lose his head. Volkswagen, [literally: "people's car"] (also known as VW) is an automobile manufacturer based in Wolfsburg, Germany. Shiva however restored life to the dead boy, but this could not pacify the outraged sage Kashyapa, who was one of the seven great Rishis. Lamborghini —bought in 1998. Another tale of Ganesha's birth relates to an incident in which Shiva slew Aditya, the son of a sage. Bugatti—name bought in 1998. The infant was named Ganesha and all the Gods blessed Ganesha and wished Him power and prosperity.

Bentley—bought in 1998 from Vickers along with Rolls-Royce -cannot produce cars using the Rolls-Royce marque because the trademarks went to BMW. The head of the elephant was joined with the headless body of Parvati's son, thus reviving him. Škoda—bought in 1991. Seeing Shiva and Parvati grief stricken, Vishnu mounted on Garuda, his divine eagle, and rushed to the banks of the Pushpa-Bhadra river, from where he brought back the head of a young elephant. SEAT—majority owned since 1987. However Parvati insisted that he look at the baby, which Shani did, and immediately the infant's head fell off and flew to Goloka. NSU—bought in 1969 by Volkswagen's Audi division, a brand not used since 1977. However Shani, the son of Surya, hesitated to look at the baby since Shani's gaze is said to be harmful.

Audi (the former post-WWII Auto Union/DKW)—bought from Daimler-Benz in 1964. This event was celebrated with great enthusiasm and all the gods were invited to take a look at the baby. Accordingly, Krishna was born to Parvati as a charming infant. Lord Krishna, after the completion of the sacrifice, announced that he would incarnate himself as her son in every kalpa (eon). On the insistence of Shiva, Parvati fasted for a year (punyaka vrata) to propitiate Vishnu so that he would grant her a son.

A less well-known story from the Brahma Vaivarta Purana narrates a different version of Ganesha's birth. This is the result of the gift of Shiva to Gajasura. From then on, in India, the tradition is that any action, in order to prosper, must begin with the adoration of Ganesha. The musical Vishnua responded: "Can you give me that which I ask?" Gajasura replied: "Who do you take me for? I can immediately give you whatever you ask." The flautist then said: "If that's so, liberate Shiva from your stomach." Gajasura understood then that this must have been no other than Vishnu himself, the only one who could have known that secret and he threw himself at his feet and, having liberated Shiva, he asked him for one last gift: "I have been blessed by you with many gifts; my last request is that everyone remember me adoring my head when I am dead." Shiva then brought his own son there and substitued his head with that of Gajasura.

The enchanting performance of the bull sent the demon into ecstasies and he asked the flautist to tell him what he desired. He trasformed Nandi (the bull of Shiva) into a dancing bull and conducted him in front of Gajasura, assuming, at the same time, the apperance of a flautist. Then Vishnu, the omniscient director of the cosmic game, staged a small comedy. I will find out what has happened.".

He, who knows everything, reassured her: "Don't worry, dear sister, your husband is Bhola Shankara and promptly grants to his devotees whatever they ask of him, without regard for the consequences; for this reason, I think he has gotten himself into some trouble. As a last recourse, she went to her brother Vishnu, asking him to find her husband. It was for this reason that Parvati, his wife, sought him everywhere without results. In fact, Shiva is also known as Bhola Shankara because he is a deity easily propitiated; when he is satisfied with a devotee he grants him whatever he desires, and this, from time to time, generates particularly intricate situations.

Shiva granted even this request and he took up residence in the demon's stomach. The demon responded: "I desire that You inhabit my stomach.". Gajasura continued his penitence and Shiva, who appeared in front of him from time to time, asked him once again what he desired. The Lord granted him his request.

The demon wished that he could emanate fire continually from his own body so that no one could ever dare to approach him. Shiva, satisfied by this austerity, decided to grant him, as a reward, whatever gift he desired. Another story regarding the origins of Ganesha and his elephant head narrates that, once, there existed an Asura (demon) with all the characteristics of an elephant, called Gajasura, who was undergoing a penitence (or tapas). From then on, he was called Ganapathi, or head of the celestial armies and was to be worshipped by everyone before beginning any activity.

They found an elephant which slept in this manner and decapitated it, attaching the elephant's head to Ganesha's body and bringing him back to life. Shiva then sent his celestial armies (Gana) to find and and take the head of whatever creature they happened to find asleep with its head facing north. As a last resort, Shiva approached Brahma who suggested that he replace Ganesha's head with the first living being that came his way which lay with its head facing north, which happened to be an elephant. All attempts to find the head were in vain.

But, unfortunately, Shiva's Trishul was so powerful that it had hurled Ganesha's head very far off. She demanded that Shiva restore Ganesha's life at once. When Parvati came out and saw her son's lifeless body she was very angry and sad. At last he severed Ganesha's head with his Trishul (trident).

Shiva lost his patience and had a fierce battle with Ganesha. But Ganesha would not hear any other person's word other than his dear mother's. He told Ganesha that he was Parvati's husband and he demanded Ganesha to let him go in. Shiva was infuriated at this strange little boy who dared to challenge him.

After a while Shiva returned from outside and as he tried to enter the house, Ganesha stopped him. Parvati ordered Ganesha not to allow anyone to enter the house and Ganesha obediently followed his mother's orders. Hence she created a boy's idol out of turmeric paste which she prepared to cleanse her body (Turmeric was used for its anti-septic and cooling properties) and infused life into it, and thus Ganesha was born. Once, while his mother Parvati wanted to bathe, there were no attendants around to guard her and stop anyone from accidentally entering the house.

The most well-known story is probably the one taken from the Shiva Purana. And many of the these same stories reveal the origins of the enormous popularity of his cult. The highly articulated mythology of Hinduism presents many stories which explain the manner in which Ganesha obtained his elephant head; often the origin of this particular attribute is to be found in the same anecdotes which tell about his birth. In other depictions, his consorts are Sarasvati (goddess of culture and art) and Lakshmi (goddess of luck and prosperity), symbolizing that these qualities always accompany he who has discovered his own internal divinity.

In the north of India, on the other hand, Ganesha is often portrayed as married to the two daughters of Brahma: Buddhi (intellect) and Siddhi (spiritual power). It is said that Ganesha, believing his mother to be the most beautiful and perfect woman in the universe, exclaimed: "Bring me a woman as beautiful as she and I will marry her.". This devotion is the reason that the traditions of southern India represent him as celibate (see the anecdote Devotion to his mother). Consequently, the relationship of Ganesha and his mother is unique and special.

So Ganesha was born out of the exclusively female desire of Parvati to procreate. Shiva, in fact, being eternal (Sadashiva), did not feel any need to have children. It is interesting to note how, according to tradition, Ganesha was generated by his mother Parvati without the intervention of her husband Shiva. This represents the mind which has been completely subordinated to the superior faculty of the intellect, the mind under strict supervision, which fixes Ganesha and does not approach the food unless it has permission.

Moreover, the mouse (extremely voracious by nature) is often depicted next to a plate of sweets with his eyes turned toward Ganesha while he tightly holds on to a morsel of food between his paws, as if expecting an order from Ganesha. Ganesha, riding atop the mouse, becomes the master (and not the slave) of these tendencies, indicating the power that the intellect and the discriminative faculties have over the mind. Yet another interpretation says that the mouse (Mushika or Akhu) represents the ego, the mind with all of its desires, and the pride of the individual. However, it was once traditional in Maharashtrian art to depict Mooshak as a very large mouse, and for Ganesha to be mounted on him like a horse.

The Mooshak is usually depicted as very small in relation to Ganesha, in contrast to the depictions of vehicles of other deities. Both Ganesha and the Mooshak love modaka, which is traditionally offered to them both during worship ceremonies. As the vehicle of Lord Ganesha, a mouse teaches us to remain always on alert and illuminate our inner-self with the light of knowledge. Thus it is also a symbol of ignorance that is dominant in darkness and fears light and knowledge.

A mouse leads a clandestine life below the ground. It symbolizes minute investigation of a cryptic subject.
According to one interpretation, Ganesha's divine vehicle, the mouse or mooshikam represents wisdom, talent and intelligence. There are various anecdotes which explain the origins of this particular attribute (see section How did Ganesha's tusk break off?).

However, there are many other meanings that have been associated with this symbol. The broken tusk of Ganesha, as described above, stands primarily for his ability to overcome or "break through" the illusions of duality. Moreover, in the Tamil language, the sacred syllable is indicated precisely by a character which recalls the shape of the elephant's head of Ganesha. For this reason, Ganesha is considered the bodily incarnation of the entire Cosmos, He who is at the base of all of the phenomenal world (Vishvadhara, Jagadoddhara).

In fact, the shape of his body is a copy of the outline of the Sanskrit letter which indicates the celebrated Bija Mantra. Ganesha is also defined as Omkara or Aumkara, that is "having the form of Om (or Aum) (see the section The names of Ganesha). Every element of the body of Ganesha has its own value and its own significance:. Moreover, Ganesha is associated with the first chakra (wheel), which represents the instinct of conservation and survival, of procreation and material well-being.

Throughout India and the Hindu culture, Lord Ganesha is the first idol placed into any new home or abode. It is also for this reason that, traditionally, all sessions of bhajan (devotional chanting) begin with an invocation of Ganesha, Lord of the "good beginnings" of chants. traveling, taking an examination, conducting a business affair, a job interview, performing a ceremony,) with such incantations as Aum Shri Ganeshaya Namah (hail the name of Ganesha), or similar. It is for this reason that his grace is invoked before the undertaking of any task (e.g.

In general terms, Ganesha is a much beloved and frequently invoked divinity, since he is the Lord of Good Fortune who provides prosperity and fortune and also the Destroyer of Obstacles of a material or spiritual order. All of them individually and collectively have deep symbolic significance. Four animals, man, elephant, the serpent and the mouse have contributed to the makeup of his figure. The image of Ganesha is a composite one.

Some figures may be seen with six, some with eight, some with ten, some with twelve and some with fourteen hands, each hand carrying a symbol which differs from the symbols in other hands, there being about fifty-seven symbols in all, according to some scholars. Hence, Ganesha figures are most commonly seen with four hands which signify their divinity. According to the strict rules of Hindu iconography, Ganesha figures with only two hands are taboo. In the Vedas one can also find one of the most important and commonly chanted prayers to Ganesha, in the part which constitutes the beginning of the Ganapati Prarthana:.

[1] This Vedic Hymn also contains one of the most famous mantras associated with this divinity: Om Gam Ganapataye Namah (literally, I surrender myself to You, Lord of the hosts).. A description of all of the characteristics and attributes of Ganesha can be found in the Ganapati Upanishad (an Upanishad dedicated to Ganesha) of the rishi Atharva, in which Ganesha is identified with Brahman and Atman. He also symbolizes the discriminative capacities which provide the ability to perceive distinctions between truth and illusion, the real and the unreal. He represents the perfect equilibrium between male and female energies (Shiva and Shakti), between force and kindness and between power and beauty.

Ganesha, in fact, is the symbol of he who has discovered the Divinity within himself. As is the case with every other external form with which Hinduism represents god, in the sense of the personal appearance of Brahman (also referred to as Ishvara, the Lord), the figure of Ganesha too is an archetype loaded with multiple meanings and symbolism which expresses a state of perfection as well as the the means of obtaining it. . His devotees are called Ganapatya.

The cult of Ganesha is widely diffused, even outside of India. Typically, his name is prefixed with the Hindu title of respect, 'Shree'. He is frequently represented sitting down, with one leg raised in the air and bent over the other. He is depicted as a big-bellied yellow or red god with four arms and the head of a one-tusked elephant, riding on, or attended to by, a mouse.

Ganesha is thus considered the master of intellect and wisdom. 'Ga' symbolizes Buddhi (intellect) and 'Na' symbolizes Vijnana (wisdom). Vinayagar (in Tamil) and Vinayakudu in Telugu. He is also called Vinayaka in Marathi, Malayalam and Kannada.

He is the first born son of Shiva and Parvati, and the husband of Bharati, Riddhi and Siddhi. In Hinduism, Ganesha (Sanskrit: गणेश or श्रीगणेश (when used to distinguish lordly status) (or "lord of the hosts," also spelled as Ganesa and Ganesh, sometimes also referred to as Ganapati) is one of the most well-known and venerated representations of god. the god Tyr in Nordic mythology). the other Indoeuropean traditions in which a mutilation is the consequence of keeping one's word (e.g.

^ Cfr. ^  Contrary to popular opinion, early Vedic Hinduism was neither polytheist nor monotheist, but is more properly identified as a henotheist religion: the different manifestations and forms of god (among which are the Avatars and the Devas) are considered to be infinite emanations of Brahman (the impersonal and founding principle of all reality from which all worlds and beings derive) created in order to render Brahman itself accessible to man. the fourth hand holds a lotus flower (padma), and it symbolizes the highest goal of human evolution, the sweetness of the realised inner self. The third hand, turned towards the devotee, is in a pose of blessing, refuge and protection (abhaya);.

The whip conveys that worldly attachments and desires should be rid of;. The second hand holds a whip, symbol of the force that ties the devout person to the eternal beatitude of God. The axe is also to prod man to the path of righteousness and truth;. With this axe Ganesha can both strike and repel obstacles.

The hand waving an axe, is a symbol of the retrenchment of all desires, bearers of pain and suffering. Lord Ganesha represents the pure consciousness - the Atman - which enables these four attributes to function in us;

    . The four arms of Ganesha represent the four inner attributes of the subtle body, that is: mind (Manas), intellect (Buddhi), ego (Ahamkara), and conditioned conscience (Chitta). the position of his legs (one resting on the ground and one raised) indicate the importance of living and participating in the material world as well as in the spiritual world, the ability to live in the world without being of the world.

    It signifies the bounty of nature and equanimity, the ability of Ganesha to swallow the sorrows of the Universe and protect the world;. Ganesha’s pot belly contains infinite universes. on the forehead, the Trishul (weapon of Shiva, similar to Trident) is depicted, symbolising time (past, present and future) and Ganesha's mastery over it;. the curved trunk indicates the intellectual potentialities which manifest themselves in the faculty of discrimination between real and unreal;.

    The large ears indicate that when God is known, all knowledge is known;. Ears are used to gain knowledge. They signify the importance of listening in order to assimilate ideas. The wide ears denote wisdom, ability to listen to people who seek help and to reflect on spiritual truths.

    The fact that he has a single tusk (the other being broken off) indicates Ganesha’s ability to overcome all forms of dualism;. The elephant head indicates fidelity, intelligence and discriminative power;.

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