By Jit Majumdar
Ekadanta literally means ‘One who has only one tusk’.
- single toothed; single tusked
- a name for Ganeśa, one of whose tusks is broken and held in one of his hands.
Significance of Ekadanta
Gaṇeśa or Gaṇapati, one of the most popular and widely worshiped deity, has an elephant’s head and a human body. Out of his two tusks, one is full whereas the other is broken. It is because of this that he is known as ‘Ekadanta’. The story goes that he lost his tusk in his fight with Paraśurāma. Symbolically, the broken tusk stands for this impermanent, imperfect world where as the full tusk stands for the perfect.
In iconographical works, Ekadanta Gaṇapati is shown as a special aspect of Gaṇapati, blue-black in color and with four arms. In them he carries:
- Kuṭhāra - hammer
- Akṣamālā - rosary
- Laḍḍu - sweet preparation
- Danta - his own broken tusk
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore