Vinâyakî is a feminine form of Lord Ganesh; she has an elephant head and the body of a female.

She is commonly believed to represent the Shakti of Ganesh/Vinâyaka, or the creativeness of the god. According to J. Herbert (1930), the Ganesh Shakti is diversely represented. Sometimes, she is a twin figure, one is Buddhi (supra mental power of unerstanding), the other is Siddhi (higher cleverness and superhuman power both) or Riddhi (perfection); these goddesses are represented with normal human bodies, but in esoteric situations, the Shakti is named Vinayaki/Ganeshânî, and is represented with an elephant head and a woman body. This female form is also believed to symbolise the duality of nature.

References to Vinayaki are commonly mentioned in the Puranas. The Matsya Purana mentions Vinayaki as one of the two hundred celestial mothers created by Lord Shiva to kill a very dangerous demon called Andhaka. Linga Purana mentions Vinayaki as a demonness deity with an elephant head. (often considered as the very first Vinayaki), which was found amidst the restored sculptures of the Causath-Yogini temple in Jabalpur.

The Vinâyakî iconography is similar to that of Ganesh; for instance, she is represented with two or four arms, standing or seated, sometimes she is dancing. More complicated forms are unknown. Emblems are the same as Ganesh emblems; however Vinâyakî can bear a vînâ. Her hands can show the abhaya or the varada mudra .

The earliest evidence of a female Ganesh or Vinayaki is a weathered terracotta plaque from Rairh in Rajhasthan, which dates back to the first century. Thses feminine Ganesh forms have been discovered in 64 Yoginî enclosures or temples. Eighteen such Yoginî temples have been indexed in India with one, supposedly, in Sri Lanka.



Goddess Vinayaki, the female Ganesa (Dr. P.K. Agrawala, 1978)

A comprehensive study by the reknowned authority on the female form of Lord ganesh. P.K.Agrawala’s Vinayaki, the female Ganesa, is a well researched and painstakingly documented publication with a wealth of information.