Lord Ganesh - The Re­mover of Ob­sta­cles

Business Sphere - - LORD GANESH - By G. R. Khat­tar, Ed­i­tor-in-Chief

The chubby, gen­tle, wise, ele­phant-headed Ganesh, or Gane­sha, is one of Hin­dus’ most pop­u­lar deities. Ganesh is the re­mover of ob­sta­cles, the de­ity whom wor­shipers first ac­knowl­edge when they visit a tem­ple. Stat­ues of Ganesh can be found in most In­dian towns. His im­age is placed where new houses are to be built; he is hon­ored at the start of a jour­ney or busi­ness ven­ture, and po­ets tra­di­tion­ally in­voke him when start writ­ing a new book. Ganesh is also pa­tron of let­ters and of learn­ing; he is the leg­endary scribe who, us­ing his com­monly held bro­ken tusk, wrote down parts of the Ma­hab­harata Epic. Ganesh is usu­ally de­picted col­ored red; he is pot bel­lied, has one tusk bro­ken, and has four arms that may hold a noose called a pas­sim, an ele­phant god, and a pot of rice, or his fa­vorite sweets, lad­dus. His ap­petite for these sweets is leg­endary and of­fer­ings of them are of­ten left at his shrine. A pas­sim or noose is a triple twine weapon. Each of the three twines rep­re­sent: 1. Ar­ro­gance and con­ceit, 2. Maya - the il­lu­sory na­ture of the real world, and 3. Ig­no­rance. Goads (or ele­phant prods) are typ­i­cally used to di­rect ele­phants. Goads are sym­bolic of how one should steer the soul away from the ig­no­rance and il­lu­sions of this earthly world just as a ma­hout would steer an ele­phant away from any treach­er­ous path. In Hindu ide­ol­ogy, weapons are a viewed as sym­bolic tools to de­stroy the ego rather than to cause any type of blood­shed. Ganesh's char­ac­ter­is­tic pot belly is usu­ally bound around with a co­bra. The co­bra is an an­i­mal usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with Lord Shiva, a re­minder that Ganesh is his son. "Ganesh af­firms life by cel­e­brat­ing in it's plea­sures and beauty." Ganesh is usu­ally shown in sculp­ture ac­com­pa­nied by or rid­ing a rat. Since rats are seen as be­ing ca­pa­ble of gnaw­ing their way through most things, the rat sym­bol­izes Ganesh's abil­ity to de­stroy ev­ery ob­sta­cle. Ganesh's name lit­er­ally means "Lord of Gana." Ganesh was en­trusted by Shiva with the lead­er­ship of the Ganas, Shiva's dwarfish, rowdy ret­inue, in com­pen­sa­tion for the loss of his hu­man head. In sculp­ture the po­si­tion of Lord Ganesh's trunk has a sym­bolic mean­ing. If the trunk turns to the Ganesh's left, that is the di­rec­tion of suc­cess in the world. It is a po­si­tion as­so­ci­ated with ‘gra­hastis’ , or householders. To his right, the trunk rep­re­sents mok­sha, good for re­nounc­ing the world. When one chooses a Ganesh sculp­ture that is proper for one’s own spiritual path, the trunk po­si­tion is one thing that is good to keep in mind. Ganesh is of­ten dis­played play­ing a mu­si­cal in­stru­ment. Much like Kr­ishna, Ganesh af­firms life by cel­e­brat­ing in its plea­sures and beauty. How Ganesh came to have the head of an ele­phant is ex­plained in var­i­ous sto­ries. One ac­count of his birth is that Mother Par­vati formed him from the rub­bings of her body so that he might stand guard at the door while she bathed. When Shiva ap­proached him, , un­aware that this was his son, he was en­raged at be­ing kept away from his wife and lopped off his head. To ease Par­vati's grief, Shiva promised to cut off the head of the first liv­ing be­ing he saw and at­tach it to his body. That crea­ture was an ele­phant. Ganesh was thus re­stored to life and re­warded for his courage by be­ing made Lord of new be­gin­nings and guardian of en­trances. A prayer to Ganesh is in­vari­ably ac­com­pa­nied by smash­ing a co­conut, sym­bolic of smash­ing the un­de­sir­able forces in­her­ent in one­self.

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