Art Above By Salah Warin Jaijuntuck
Gajanani – Ganeshani – Vainayaki – Ganeshari – Vigneshvari
Perhaps the most famous Ganesha temple in India is the Uchi Pillaiyar Koyil at Trichy. Uchi means “at the top”. This large temple (also known as the Rock Fort Temple) is built on a hilltop and commands a breathtaking view of the city and of the river Kaveri. Another large Ganesha temple is the Pillaiyarpatti Temple near Karaikudi in Ramanathapuram District, also in Tamil Nadu. In New Delhi there is the Siddhi Buddhi Vinayagar temple situated in Vinayanagar. The Mukkuruni Pillaiyar inside the huge Meenakshi Temple complex in Madurai, India, is also quite famous. This murti is ten to twelve feet tall. Mukkuruni refers to a large measure of rice (about forty pounds). Here the priests cook a huge modaka ball for Ganesha using this measure. Hence the name Mukkuruni Pillaiyar.
Also in Madurai, Lord Ganesha is worshiped as Vyaghrapada Ganeshani, in female form with tiger feet. Some say that this form belongs to the Rudra Ganas. We also see the description of the female form of Ganapati in the Mantra Shastras. This form is called as Vallabha Ganeshaani. This form has not gained much popularity. The Ganeshaani murti in sukhasana pose resides at Suchindram. There are two other temples in India with the female Ganesha form. One is at a tenth-century temple dedicated to sixty-four yoginis in Bheraghat, a village near Jabalpur. The other is the Tanumalaya Swami Temple in Suchindrum, Kerala. In Tibet She is worshiped as Gajanani.
Vainayaki or Ganesani, the Sakti of Vanayaka or Ganesa, is a comparatively less known goddess in Indian iconography. Even as the female energy of Vinayaka, one of the five major gods of the Hindu pantheon, her worship was not much popular in ancient India. It was probably due to the rise of the Ganapatya cult, Yogini worship and Tantricism that Vainayaki also came to be regarded as an important female deity during the early mediaeval period. Some Puranas and other scriptures mention Vainayaki in the list of the Yoginis and other goddesses. Several Jaina and Buddhist literary works also enumerate interesting details about the goddess.
The well-known Chaunsatha-Yogini temples at Rikhian, Bheraghat, Hirapur and Ranipur-Jhariyal enshrine the images of Vainayaki along with other Yoginis. A few sculptures and bronzes discovered in various parts of India prove beyond doubt that she was also worshipped as a cult divinity by her devotees. Besides these, Vainayaki as a Buddhist Tantric goddess Ganapatihrdya has also been found represented in the Tantric paintings from Nepal.
The Dream Of A Female Ganesh:
After having a dream of Sathya Sai Baba, I had another dream whose imagery was unusually bright, detailed and clear. In the distance I saw an old temple that lay in ruins. Only one wall to the temple was left standing and beside the wall was a knarled tree that evoked a profound sense of the ancient and sacred. A strange power drew me closer to the ruined temple and in the wall that was left standing, a small altar was revealed that contained a deity that initially appeared to be that of Sri Ganesha.
As I gazed upon the deity, its form filled my entire range of vision and I beheld a bronze goddess with bare breasts, four hands and an elephant head whose trunk curved to the left. Never having seen such a goddess before, I was filled with wonder, fear and surprise. The ancient tree began to buzz with the crescendoing sound of swarming bees. The goddess had a magnetic effect on me that pulled me closer and closer. I awoke.
The Revelation Of Ganeshani:
“Who was this peculiar goddess?”, I thought. After doing an image search for “female Ganesha”, I was absolutely stunned to find images of the very deity I dreamed about: Ganeshani. In my 20-year fascination with Hindu art, mythology and symbolism, I never come across any information about her. The dream was an amazing, intimate and personal revelation.
Om Ganeshani Namah.
– Goddess Vinayaki – The Female Ganesa
– The 64 Yoginis of Orissa
– Ganeshani Art Exhibition
– Ganeshani Art On YouTube
– Loving Ganesh, Chapter 13 (About Ganeshani)
– Ganeshani In Thailand (Partially In English With Pictures)
– Mahen Chanmugam’s Art Of Ganeshani
– Ganeshini – Ganesha In Feminine Form
Filed under: Chaunsatha Yogini, Female Ganesha, Ganapati, Ganapatihrdya, Iconography, Mantra Shastras, Rudra Siva, Sakti, Shiva, Tantric Goddess | Tagged: Gajanani, Ganesa, Ganesh, Ganesha, Ganeshaani, Ganeshani, Ganeshari, Hindu Goddess, Rudra Ganas, Vainayaki, Vallabha Ganeshaani, Vigneshvari, Vyaghrapada Ganeshani, Yogini |