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Symbolism in Ankush or Goad in Hinduism – The Axe like Object in the Hand of Ganesha

Lord Ganesha is depicted with an Ankush, or goad, in one of his hands. Sometimes people confuse it to be an axe. Traditionally goad is used to control elephants in India. Symbolically, Ankush is used by Lord Ganesh to drive mankind forward on the path of self realization.

Ankush symbolizes the need for the control of the elephant size desires which runs amok and ruins the life of a human being. When desires are not controlled it is like an elephant running amok – destroying everything on the path to fulfill the desire.

Ankush is also seen as a symbol which reminds a person for the need to keep the mind in control. The unwanted thoughts that arise in the mind should be controlled by a person just like an Ankush controlling the elephant.

In some images, Ankush is depicted along with an axe-like portion. This axe like portion of Ankush cuts the person away from the false identification with the body and helps in realizing that all animate and inanimate is nothing but the Supreme Being.