Today is very special for India and Hindus world wide - the birthday of Ganesha,
the elephant-headed god, born to Lord Shiva and the goddess, Parvati. Children
have a school holiday ( it seems Indian children frequently have a day off as
schools are always closed for the major holidays of all religions! )..
celebrations of all religions!
According to Hindu belief, Lord Ganesha was created by his mother, Parvati,
the consort of Lord Shiva. She used sandalwood paste and gave him the
breath of life. Ganesha was then put to stand guard while his mother bathed.
When Lord Shiva returned, Ganesha denied him entrance. Lord Shiva, in a
fury, severed Ganesha's head. Parvati was inconsolable. Shiva sent out
his soldiers to bring him a head from a sleeping being. That being was an
elephant. The elephant head was placed on Ganesha's body and Lord Shiva
restored him to life. He was appointed the head of Shiva's troops and Shiva
declared that Ganesha would be worshipped and, for success with any business
venture, his name would be invoked.
For more knowledge of this favorite of Hindu gods, check out some of the
attached links. There are explanations for his broken tusk and his choice of
a mouse as his steed.
As Ganesha is often invoked at the start of any travel, my small gold Ganesha,
given to me by my good friends, Shiju and Manju Sugunan, resides in my passport
wallet. I am not Hindu but I have no problem with asking Ganesha to keep me
safe on my journeys, near and far. I invoke all the gods with that request!
Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated, with much fan fare, from one to eleven days in
the Hindu world. Nearly every home and business has a statue of Ganesha.
Traditionally, on the last day of the Ganesha festival, statues of Ganesha, which
originally were made from clay, are returned to the earth by being submerged into
the sea, a lake, or a body of water. In recent times, this has posed an environmental
hazard as more modern Ganeshas are not made of clay and their paints may
contain harmful components such as mercury.
Song and dance and special sweets ( ladoo ) are also part of most Ganesha
On this Ganesh Charturthi, I wish the best for everyone - regardless of your
faith. May you be wise, prosperous and have good fortune, overcome all
obstacles and travel in joy and good health.
Thanks to Bing images, domain free, for the Ganesha images.
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