Vinayaki: The other side of Bappa

Mumbai: In what is arguably one of the most unique depictions of Ganesh, a mandal at Santacruz (W) has highlighted 'Vinayaki', the feminine element of Ganpati Bappa (Vinayak), raising a lot of eyebrows. This is possibly the first time that the feminine avatar of the elephant-headed deity has been featured during Ganeshotsav.

At the Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav Mandal at Gauthan Lane in Santacruz (W), Vinayaki is draped in a dazzling red saree and is six-handed, unlike the four-handed Bappa.

The Chausath Yogini Mandir at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh is the only known Vinayaki temple in India.The president of this Ganesh Utsav Mandal, Atul Saraf, has been displaying various innovative themes for the festival for the last 37 years. Saraf said, his main aim is to socially unify people of all castes and creeds.

"Of the many forgotten female powers and goddesses, 'Vinayaki' is one such. We have hardly heard of this avatar of Ganesh and so decided to depict her," added Saraf.

According to the Matsya Purana and Vishnu-Dharmottara Purana, the demon Andhaka, wanted to marry goddess Parvati. He tried to grab her by force and she called out to her husband, Shiva, for help. Shiva immediately raised his trident (trishul) and smote the asura.

But the asura had a magical power; every drop of his blood that touched the ground turned into another Andhaka. The only way to kill him was to ensure that not a single drop of his blood touched the ground, as he lay impaled on Shiva's trishul.

Since every divine being is a mixture of male and female forms, the male form representing mental potential and the female form representing material resources (Shakti), Parvati summoned all the Shaktis.

Acceding to her request, every divine being released their female energy, who would drink Andhaka's blood before it touched the ground, enabling the destruction of asura.

While Indra’s shakti emerged as 'Indrani', Vishnu’s shakti emerged as 'Vaishnavi', Brahma’s shakti emerged as 'Brahmani' and Ganpati’s shakti emerged as 'Vinayaki'.

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