Gananayaka is another name for Ganesha. Gananayaka means the lord of Ganas or the one who defeats the Gana. There’s a fable which tells us how Lord Ganesha defeated the king Gana. This is how it goes:
There was a very reputed King called as Abhijit. A beautiful boy was born to the King Abhijit and his queen Gunavati. They named him Gana. Gana was an ideal son, very bright and strong! He was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva.
His devotion pleased Lord Shiva and he granted him great boons. But after gaining boons, Gana possessed Ego and also fell into bad company.
The very proud Gana once visited sage Kapila’s ashram. It was a popular belief that Sage Kapila had a Kapila had a wish-fulfilling gem called Chintamani. When Gana saw the gem, he wanted it. Kapila was very hesitant to give it to him. But fierce and mighty Gana took it away.
Helpless Kapila sought Ganesha’s help. Lord Ganesha decided to teach Gana a lesson. Lord Ganesha appeared in Gana’s dream and cut off his head. Ganesha thought that this would frighten Gana and bring him back on the right track. But this counteracted! Instead of realizing his mistake, Gana on waking up became ferocious. He took his army to kill Kapila.
King Abhijit, pleaded with Gana to return the Gem back to Kapila but Gana did not heed the advice. When Gana reached Kapila’s ashram, Lord Ganesha was already present there with his army to protect Sage Kapila.
A fierce fight was instigated at that moment in which Lord Ganesha killed Gana. The gem, Chintamani was given back to the Sage Kapila. However, the sage Kapila was so upset with the incident that he returned the Gem to Ganesha saying that saying that even a small gem like this could cause ill effects on the society as wealth brings greed with it. Kapila requested Ganesha to stay back and since then, the place where everything happened is called ‘Chintamani Vinayaka’.
That is sacred place near Pune, Hence the name, Ganayaka, and Vinayaka to Lord Ganesha.