Lord Ganesha, also known as Vighanharta or Vighnesvara (Controller of all Obstacles), is the elephant-headed Hindu god of wisdom, literature and worldly success. He is thought to derive from an animistic deity, possibly a Dravidian (aboriginal) sun god. Lord Ganesha is a propitious god, promising success, prosperity, and peace and is invoked before any sort of enterprise. It is his responsibility to decide between success and failure, to remove obstacles or create them as necessary. His pot-belly symbolizes a pitcher full of prosperity, a sort of abdominal cornucopia. Lord Ganesha has many names. The main ones are Ganapati (Lord of the tribe or attendants), Vinayak (The prominent leader), Gajanana (elephant-faced), Gajadhipati (Lord of elephants), Lambkarn (long-eared), Lambodar (pendant-bellied) and Ekadant (having one tusk).
Lord Ganesha is said to have been the son of Parvati and Shiva. His task in life was to guard his mother and once while doing so he foolishly failed to recognize Shiva himself who had come seeking his consort. Trying to defend his mother's bath, Lord Ganesha was beheaded by Shiva who later was persuaded by Parvati to revive him. He promised Lord Ganesha that he should have the head of the first creature who happened along. An elephant, the wisest of animals, appeared and became the involuntary donor in the first successful head transplant in history.