From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Vināyaka literally means ‘one who has no master’.

This word is sometimes used to indicate Buddha and Garuḍa also. In the Mānavagṛhyasutras[1] four Vināyakas have been mentioned. They are:

  1. Śālakaṭaṅkaṭa
  2. Kuṣmāṇḍarājaputra
  3. Usmita
  4. Devayajana

These Vināyakas are the evil spirits causing such obstacles in life as maidens not getting good husbands, married ladies not blessed with children, princes not becoming kings though eligible, men losing one’s children or crops and so on. Propitiatory rites like Vināyakaśānti or Gaṇapatipujā have to be done to offset these evil spirits.


  1. Mānavagṛhyasutras 2.14
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore