Gaṇeśa: unravelling an enigma Hinduism and Its Sources Series

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Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Jan 1, 1999 - Gaṇeśa (Buddhist deity) - 235 pages
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Ganesa commands universal respect among the indigenous religious schools and sects of the Hindus, Jainas and Buddhists. He is a god who is unique in many ways--his peculiar physiognomy, his double character, as a vighnakarta (creator of obstacles) and as a vighnaharta (remover of obstacles). He is worshipped first to ensure success of all religious and secular functions and enterprieses. GAnesa is also the god of dance and music. The cult of Ganesa spread to various countries of Asia.

The rise of Ganesa to pre-eminence in the orthodox Hindu pantheon, as one of the panca devatas, is truly remarkable. it is an ancient version of mundane legend: from Log Cabin to White House.

There have been many studies of this god in recent years; this one is the most comprehensive, fully documented in original sources, textual and artistic, and profusely illustrated. It traces the origin and development of pauranika Ganesa, from pre-pauranika Vinayaka, a vighnakarta, into pauranika Ganesa, a vighnaharta analyses his distinctive features and studies his representation in art both in India and in the other countries of Asia. It seeks to unravel the enigma of a non-Vedic, non-epic and a non-Aryan god coming to occupy a place of honour in Hindu pantheon. The techniques adopted by the followers of Ganesa to promote his cult and status and the enduring results achieved make a fascinating study in 'PR' work.

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