Shiva and Parvati giving a bath to Ganesha. Kangra miniature, 18th century. Allahabad Museum, New Delhi.
Though Ganesha is popularly held to be the son of Shiva and Parvati, the Puranic myths give different versions about his birth.In some he was created by Parvati, in another he was created by Shiva and Parvati, in another he appeared mysteriously and was discovered by Shiva and Parvati or he was born from the elephant headed goddess Malini after she drank Parvati's bath water that had been thrown in the river.
The family includes his brother, the god of war, Kartikeya, who is also called Skanda and Murugan.lMurugan. differences dictate the order of their births. In northern India, Skanda is generally said to be the elder, while in the south, Ganesha is considered the firstborn. In northern India, Skanda was an important martial deity from about 500 BCE to about 600 CE, after which worship of him declined significantly. As Skanda fell, Ganesha rose. Several stories tell of sibling rivalry between the brothers and may reflect sectarian tensions.
Ganesha's marital status, the subject of considerable scholarly review, varies widely in mythological stories.One pattern of myths identifies Ganesha as an unmarried brahmachari.This view is common in southern India and parts of northern India. Another pattern associates him with the concepts of Buddhi (intellect), Siddhi (spiritual power), and Riddhi (prosperity); these qualities are sometimes personified as goddesses, said to be Ganesha's wives.He also may be shown with a single consort or a nameless servant (Sanskrit: daşi). Another pattern connects Ganesha with the goddess of culture and the arts, Sarasvati or Śarda (particularly in Maharashtra).He is also associated with the goddess of luck and prosperity, Lakshmi. Another pattern, mainly prevalent in the Bengal region, links Ganesha with the banana tree, Kala Bo.
The Shiva Purana says that Ganesha had begotten two sons: Kşema (prosperity) and Lābha (profit). In northern Indian variants of this story, the sons are often said to be Śubha (auspiciouness) and Lābha.The 1975 Hindi film Jai Santoshi Maa shows Ganesha married to Riddhi and Siddhi and having a daughter named Santoshi Ma, the goddess of satisfaction. This story has no Puranic basis, but Anita Raina Thapan and Lawrence Cohen cite Santoshi Ma's cult as evidence of Ganesha's continuing evolution as a popular deity.