1. It is said that before the head or head of Lord Ganesha was beheaded, his name was Vinayak. But when his head was cut off and then the head of an elephant was put on him, everyone started calling him Gajanan. Then when he was made the head of the Ganas, he started calling him Ganapati and Ganesha.
2. According to the legends, it is said that when Mata Parvati originated him, he was named Vinayak. Vinayaka means the hero of heroes, a special hero.
3. According to a legend, due to the sight of Shani, the head of baby Ganesha was burnt to ashes. On this, Brahma said to the sad Parvati (not Sati) - 'Whoever gets his head first, put it on the head of Ganesha.' The first head was found only of a baby elephant. Thus Ganesha became 'Gajanan'.
4. According to the second story, Parvatiji started taking bath after placing Ganesha at the door. Then Shiva came and started entering Parvati's house. When Ganeshji stopped him, angry Shiva cut off his head. These Ganesha were originated by Parvatiji from the mixture of sandalwood. When Parvati saw that her son had been beheaded, she was furious. To pacify his anger, Lord Shiva put the head of an elephant baby on Ganesha's head and he rose to life. - Skanda Purana
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