Ganesha’s Trunk

In art, when Shiva is half a woman(ardhnareeshwar), the Goddess makes up the left half of his form while he retains the right half.




On the left is the heart, of intuition, of feeling. The right side, the opposite side, is the side of the head, of the thinking, of intellect and of the soul.
When Ganesha’s trunk points to his heart, he is closer to his mother, the sensual Goddess, who embraces material reality. But when it points to the right, he is closer to his father, the intellectual mendicant who wants to shut his eyes to the world.

Ganesha’s image with trunk pointing to his heart is popular in households because it shows a Ganesha comfortable with the world of matter, senses and emotions. Ganesha with his trunk curled to his right, is more ascetic in nature, hence not kept inside homes, and preferably enshrined in temples; the most famous of these is Mumbai’s Siddhi Vinayak.

Excerpts | D. Pattnaik