Part animal and part intellectual, an image found in virtually every Indian home, Ganesa--the elephant-headed god--is one of the most important and popular gods throughout India and Hindu Southeast Asia. In this, the first comprehensive, full-length study of Ganesa, Courtright covers not merely the mythology but also the ritual, the political uses, and the modern as well as the Vedic manifestations of the god. The book begins with a consideration of the various myths of Ganesa, stories of his birth, his beheading by his father Siva, and his subsequent restoration as the lord who gives, or withholds, success in undertakings. In the end, the author turns to the role Ganesa has played in recent Indian history as the patron deity of some formulations of neotraditionalist values and ideology. Throughout Courtright portrays both the complexity of the deity's many roles and stories and the integrated manner in which they come together.
Excerpt from the Preface by Wendy O'Flaherty:
"Ganesa has everything that is fascinating to anyone who is interested in religion or India or both: charm, mystery, popularity, sexual problems, moral ambivalence, political importance, the works. One can start from Ganesa and work from there in an unbroken line to almost any aspect of Indian culture."
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The Making of a Deity
The Mythology of Ganesa
Ritual Psychological and Religious Themes in
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Airavata appears ascetic asceticism auspicious bath became become birth body Bombay Brahmin British caste child Cincvad context cosmos creates Ganesa creation curse defeated deity demon desire devotees divine doorway elephant elephant head elephant-headed erotic father Gajasura Ganapati Ganapatya ganas Ganesa Ganesa festival Ganesa's beheading Ganesa's origins give goddess gods guardian Hindu honor image of Ganesa Indian Indra king Kirtimukha Krsna lihga Lord of Obstacles Mahabharata Maharashtra male mantra Marathi modaka moon Moragaon Moraya mother mutilation mythology myths of Ganesa Nandin non-Brahmin O'Flaherty offerings Parasurama Parvati patron performed Peshwa political priest puja Pune Purana Purusa Rahu recites religious restoration rite ritual river role sacred sacrifice sage Sani Sanskrit sexual shrine Siva Siva and Parvati Siva's Skanda social songs story symbol temple theme threshold Tilak tion tradition tusk upanayana variant Veda Vedic village Vinayaka Visnu Vyasa worship Ganesa