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Ganas – Attendants of Shiva

The term Ganas in Hinduism is associated with God Shiva. ‘Ganas’ means a class or group. The term is generally used to refer to the attendants of Shiva. Ganapati (Ganesha) is the leader of the Ganas. They are described in various Hindu Scriptures – majority of them are strange and weird looking. Some evoke fear. Some have normal looks. Some Ganas are associated with Muruga or Kartik and they are known as Parishadas. They have faces of animals and birds.

When Shiva in all his fury attacked the Daksha Yajna, after the death of Goddess Sati, it was Ganas who caused the maximum damage. They had accompanied Shiva in his marriage with Goddess Parvati. It is said that seeing the marriage party, mother of Goddess Parvati fell unconscious and demanded Shiva appear in a better form. To satisfy the false ego of humans, Shiva then took the form of Kalyanasundara murti and the ganas too appeared as handsome beings.

A detail description of Ganas can be found in the ‘Ramacharitamanas’ of Tulsidas.

Some had lean and thin bodies, while others were very stout; some looke pure, and some impure. They wore frightful ornaments, carried skulls in their hands, and were all smeared with fresh blood. Their faces looked like those of donkeys and dogs, swine and jackal. Their various forms, which included spirits, ghosts, yoginis were beyond description. (source Hinduism – Alphabetical guide – Roshen Dalal).



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