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5.9.16

will the real ganesh please stand up?

It's Ganesh Chaturthi today. And despite being an atheist, musing over Hindu Gods has become somewhat of a personal tradition. Perhaps it's the ingrained brahmanic samskars, or perhaps an innate inclination for seeking deeper meanings in mythology and in general, all stories.
Consider Ganesh. Don’t you think he is more than he is really letting on? His face- that of a cherubic elephant. His form- soft and ridiculously rotund. And his ride- a mouse. All this adds up to an overall comical effect. It is easy to imagine Ganesh as a portly uncle whom you could bother without fearing a backslap. Or even an over-friendly, albeit intelligent, pet. Almost no one thinks of Ganesh as fearsome or threatening.

However, if you really think about it, the appearance must be just that- an appearance. It is in stark contrast with his true capabilities. Gods forbid, if it ever came to a showdown among the Gods, Ganesh could literally be the last God levitating. Isn't he the personification of the cold fearsome power of intellect, one of the deadliest forces in nature, a razor that can slice through an obstacle or opponent with equal ease.

Then again, he is not merely intellect, he is also wisdom personified. Now wisdom is intellect overseen by kindness, a choice to be constructive and not destructive. In a way, his appearance is actually the most crucial piece of the legend. and not just a clever camouflage. I think he chooses to appear overtly affable and unassuming to counteract the threat he may otherwise exude. He chooses to make intellect, rationality, logic and wisdom appear benign and constructive. He chooses to fool us into thinking he is harmless. At least that is what I think. 

What do you think?


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