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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Gāṇapatyas literally means ‘those who follow Gaṇapati’.

Gaṇapati has been one of the most popular and important deities. The Gāṇapatyas were members of a powerful sect that considered Gaṇapati as the Supreme God. The sect might have originated during the seventh century A. D. It became powerful around the tenth century and declined later.

Followers of this sect envisage the worship of five kinds of Gaṇapati along with their Śaktis or spouses. They are:

  1. Ucchiṣṭa-Gaṇapati
  2. Mahā-Gaṇapati
  3. Urdhva-Gaṇapati
  4. Piṅgala-Gaṇapati
  5. Lakṣmī-Gaṇapati

Out of these, worship of the Ucchiṣṭa-Gaṇapati aspect clearly belongs to the Vāmācāra sects. Later on, the Gāṇāpatyas got divided into six separate sects.

The Ganeśapurāna and the Ganeśagitā are the primary texts.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore