1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ganesa
GANESA, or Ganesh, in Hindu mythology, the god of wisdom and prudence, always represented with an elephant’s head possibly to indicate his sagacity. He is the son of Siva and Parvati. He is among the most popular of Indian deities, and almost every act, religious or social, in a Hindu’s life begins with an invocation to him, as do most books. He typifies not the wisdom of knowledge but that worldly wisdom which results in financial success, and thus he is particularly the god of the Hindu shopkeeper. In his divine aspect Ganesa is ruler over the hosts of heaven, the spirits which come and go to do Indra’s will.