In Meat and Livestock Australia criticised for advert of vegetarian Hindu God Ganesha, it's claimed that the Hindu deity Ganesha is regarded as vegetarian:

Indian Society of Western Australia spokesman Nitin Vashisht said the ad was insensitive.

"[He is a] vegetarian teetotaller, and that's really God for us and most of the Indian community.

However, Meat is right, for these Ganesha worshippers features some individuals making meat offerings to Ganesha, and does not explicitly say that this is unusual or that Ganesha is vegetarian.

Is Ganesha considered vegetarian by Hindus?

  • 17
    This question seems far better suited to Hinduism.
    – jwodder
    Sep 7, 2017 at 0:02
  • 3
    @AndrewGrimm: Wait, where do you want nonsensical content?
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 7, 2017 at 8:32
  • 9
    I doubt this is answerable within the scope of the site. There is no such thing as one Hindu dogma, just like there isn't one for Islam, Christianity etc. Wouldn't the fact that this caused a controversy be proof that at least some Hindus consider him a vegetarian?
    – Jordy
    Sep 7, 2017 at 10:47
  • 4
    @Oddthinking by "nonsense", I mean things that no knowledgeable expert would say, like "jet fuel can't melt steel beams".
    – Golden Cuy
    Sep 7, 2017 at 12:19
  • 5
    @jamesqf, it's a little more complicated than that. Most traditions hold that he had a human head which was later replaced by an elephant's head. But from a strict biological sense, I'd concede that it would be hard for him to chew meat.
    – Jordy
    Sep 8, 2017 at 6:56

1 Answer 1


The specific Australian ad involved lamb and there is a tradition of offering a lamb's head to Ganesha.

According to Fact and Theory in Social Science (1964) at pages 213-214:

Still later in the winter comes Magh Cauth. ... A figure of a lamb , made of sugar , is brought to the sanctified place . When the moon is rising , the younger brother of the father of the boy , or a Brahman , sacrifices the lamb by decapitating it with a knife and offers the head to Ganesh.

This same text is repeated in Anthropology in the Development Process (1977).

Similarly, Culture and Mental Health Cross-cultural Studies · Volume 10 (1959) at page 285 says:

Magh Cauth or “ Magh fourth , ” as the name suggests , is observed on the fourth day of the dark half of the month of Magh. ... When the moon is rising , the lamb is " sacrificed ” by decapitation with a knife . Some families ask a Brahman to do this , but the more usual thing is to have the father ' s younger brother act in this capacity . The head is lifted up and offered to Ganesh...

According to Nepal, Land of Gods, Goddesses, and Demons (1985):

Unlike in India , where Ganesh is a scrupulously vegetarian god , in Nepal , he is considered blood - thirsty , living near burning ghats and the abodes of evil spirits . So animal sacrifices are made to him regularly .

The book A South Indian Subcaste: Social Organization and Religion of the Pramalai Kallar (alternative link) lists Ganesh in the table on page 396 under both "vegetarian" gods and "meat eater" gods, vegetarian based upon what should be offered to Ganesh in principle, but meat-eater based upon what is offered to Ganesh in fact.

Overall, there is no consensus on whether or not Ganesh is vegetarian.

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