Thursday, October 29, 2009

My first Ganesh...

“Shuklaambara Dharam Vishnum, Shashi Varnam Chatur Bhujam,
Prasanna Vadanam Dhyaayet, Sarva Vighna Upashaanthaye…”

("Lord Ganesha, who wears a white garment, who is all-pervading, who has a bright complexion, who has four arms, who has an ever smiling face, upon that God, I meditate for removal of all obstacles…")

Ganesh (or Ganesha) is one of the most worshipped gods in Hindu religion (and they have quite a bit of them!). Easily recognizable for his elephant’s head, Ganesh is considered the ‘eradicator of obstacles’ and the ‘god of beginnings’. He is the first god to be addressed in prayers and rituals, but also at the beginning of ventures, such as before buying a vehicle or starting a business, as he supposedly grants success and protection against adversities.

Having noticed that every home, every shop, every desk in offices has an image or a statue of Ganesh (and having learnt why), I could not therefore get out of entering my new home without having a Ganesh. During Diwali I therefore went around markets in search of him, my Ganesh, until I found it. And now at the entrance of our apartment, on the best piece of furniture of the whole house, there he sits, my first Ganesh.

“Lord Ganesh … I meditate on you who can remove all obstacles…”


  1. Lordy! Matteo, how did you know and dig up that verse! (I am continually amazed how you have gotten into the depths of the cultural/religious nature of the country! I have an assignment for you, which is perfect for you, given your lovely writing style, keen observervation, patience and understanding of all that is different and above all, curiousity - write a travelogue with your inimitable sketches to illustrate it.

    Your Ganesh is very beautiful and may he indeed remove any obstacles in your year ahead.

  2. I'd love to... one day I'll take a sabbatical year and I'll do exactly what you suggest...


  3. sei entrato in tutti i negozi di ganesh chiedendo il prezzo di ciascuno prima di acquistarlo?

  4. That is indeed a beautiful Ganesh. The way I heard the story (and perhaps you can verify it) is that Ganesha's father, Shiva (?), went out hunting while his son was a baby at the time. Many years passed before he returned (with a great elephant head) and when he approached the cave where his wife and son lived, a young boy he did not recognize would not let him enter his own home. This infuriated him and he cut off the childs head only to have his wife heartbrakingly declare he had cut off his own sons head who was guarding the cave from intruders. He then used the elephants head to replace it so that his son could live! Viola! Let me know if thats correct. Kisses! xx