When I start something new, I often turn to Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity that is known as the remover of obstacles and the god of new beginnings. I’ve been charmed by Ganesha for years, and remember well the time I got a bamboo carving of him in India from a shopkeeper as a gift. Ganesha is said to bring abundance, and to remove obstacles, though traditionally he’s also known to put in the obstacles, as well as remove them. I love that his “vehicle” is a mouse, and that he has one broken tusk that he used as a pen to transcribe scriptures. He also has a sweet tooth, not only for sweet foods, but for the sweetness in life.
Two friends, in a great-minds-think-alike moment, gave my husband and me Ganeshas at our farewell as we were moving from Los Angeles to Tucson, Arizona to figure out what we were going to do after a job lay-off and an apartment lease ending. One Ganesha was tiny and metal, about the size of half of my pinky and the other was about the size of my hand and made of resin. They both went to Arizona and eventually to China where we lived for a couple of years. When I unpacked the resin Ganesha in China, I was slightly shaken because one of his hands had broken and I was afraid that it was a bad “sign”. My husband glued it back together and just like that, our lives became perfect in China. Ha, not really. But certainly, nothing horrible happened – we had a full and sweet experience living there. The two Ganeshas came with us to Japan, back to China, back to Japan again, and eventually here to Dallas. Sometime within all of that packing and unpacking, the same resin Ganesha broke again, and was once again repaired by my husband. The resin and metal Ganeshas have now joined the little bamboo one from India that had been in storage in Arizona for five years holding down the fort. I rotate them on my little altar where I place special objects.
As someone who has moved a lot, I’ve had quite a few new beginnings, and working at the Crow Collection of Asian Art in The Lotus Shop is one of them. I enjoy displaying the merchandise we sell in the “right” place, and helping to match up the “right” item with the “right” customer. The other day, a customer was looking for a Ganesha and I showed her the ones we had. She ended up picking a large wooden painted one that spoke to her (I guess), and I wonder now what kind of obstacles he will remove for her….or challenge her with?
My three Ganeshas happen to have been gifts, and yes, we have an assortment for sale in The Lotus Shop, but you don’t really need a physical, material-world Ganesha to experience his power. I’m pretty sure he can be manifested by anyone, anywhere. I sometimes use the mantra, Om Gam Ganapatayeh Namaha, which I’ll simply translate as, “Salutations, the power of Lord Ganesha, calling you” – but there are many other Ganesha mantras out there, and if you set an intention, one might just show up for you somehow without even trying.
Wikipedia says that “he is also invoked as patron of letters and learning during writing sessions”, so I’m open to seeing what he brings in regard to this new blog. Om Gam Ganapatayeh Namaha.