Ganesh is surely the most popular deity in Hinduism! He is probably one of the few Hindu deities who has defied the barriers of religions and who is equally adored in Jain and Buddhist traditions all over Asia.
Why is Ganesh so popular? Is it because he appears so lovable and cute, his appearance wise, friendly and charming. (Not always though, because some of his forms are chillingly wrathful in some Tantric traditions of Nepal). Is it because his head is symbolically an elephant, one of the most popular of animals? Or is it his association with removing obstacles that face us, or his role as the “wealth deity?”
Ganesh prefers “sweet treats” and “sweet smells” and “sweet flowers.” Why? Because Ganesh is just plain “sweet”.
Cherished by all, he has been given several names by his devotees like Ganapati (the commander in chief), Lambodar (Potbellied), Ekadanta (Single tusked ), Heramba (Mother’s Favourite Son), Gajavadana ( elephant headed), Vinayak ( Lord/ Hero of all), Vakratunda (curved trunk) and the list goes on!
In all traditions he is the first deity to be honoured. Why? Because he is known as the “remover of obstacles.” It is symbolically important to remove obstacles before everything we do. It is for this reason, too, that Ganesha is often at the door of every temple or monastery or a stupa in Nepal! He removes obstacles and is, by this definition, a guardian.
One may ask, why he has an elephant head… Well, that’s a whole another blog post, which might come in future… 😉 For now, we are wishing our Ganesh-ji a very happy birthday.🥳🕉