Lord Ganesha

All rituals (samskaras), begin with the worship of Ganesha. His image invokes the universe, his head signifies wisdom and his body is globular, Vishwaroopa. Ganesha represents the majesty of the animal kingdom with his head and his vehicle the mouse shows subjugation of pestilent rats. .

His trunk is twisted into an embodiment of ‘Om’, the syllable that created the world. To combat evil, he carries weapons the discus, trident, sword and shield. A broken tusk is a reminder of his battle with a demon, and the fight with the forces of evil. Yet, the same tusk is used by him in the writing of the epic, the Mahabharata. When Vyasa wanted to compose the Mahabharata, Brahama suggested Ganesha be his scribe. Vyasa agreed and Ganesha brought his broken tusk to writing quill. Vyasa dictated the entire epic in verse. Ganesha recorded every word for Gods and men alike.

He carries a modak (sweet dumpling) in one hand, for his appetite is insatiable, and conscious of his role the other hand shows in the ‘abhaya mudra’(do not fear, I am here to protect). Ganesha straddles the divide between the believers of Shiva and Vishnu. Ganesh idols are worshipped both by Shaivites and Vaishnavites. Ganesha temples are seen in almost every village in India. Chubby and gleeful and elephant headed, Ganesha easily finds his place in the hearts of Gods and people.