This week's featured divinity is Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati. I recounted the story of how Ganesha got his elephant head in an earlier post.
Ganesha is supposed to restore lost objects to you. He is also the god of auspicious beginnings and the remover of obstacles. Ethan lost something yesterday, so we did a little chant to Ganesha today as we walked through the Village on our way to see the fabulous Altman film The Last Goodbye. We'll see if this worked. I figure it can't hurt -- I once lost my house keys and chanted to Ganesha then found them immediately. Jai Ganesha!
Ganesha has a pot belly that is full of wise thoughts and one broken tusk, which he broke in order to write down the Mahabharata. For this reason, he is also a patron of writers. He is often shown attended by a mouse, which can represent Ganesha's ability to overcome all barriers -- what the elephant cannot crush the mouse can crawl beneath.
This is from the beginning of the sage Jnaneshwar's version of the Bhagavad Gita (tr. Kripananda):
Pure discrimination is his straight trunk, in which supreme bliss dwells.
Impartial discussion is his pure white tusk. Ganesh is the small-eyed elephant god, the remover of obstacles, who represents the subtle eye of wisdom.
Action and knowledge are his two ears, and the bees hovering over his temples are sages who taste the nectar of these teachings.
Duality and nonduality are like corals on his temples.
The ten principal Upanishads, containing the honey of knowledge, are the fragrant flowers adorning the crown of his head.
The A of AUM is his legs, the U is his big belly, and the M is his great circular head.