I am a Ganesha fan. I admit it. No, I am not going Hindu on you. I am just a Ganesha fan. It all started back during my one trip to Bangalore to train some folks on the software for which I was the guru at the time. In the car, my Indian colleagues tried to explain their mythology to me. It was fascinating because for them it was really alive – as opposed to our mythology (primarily Greek and Roman) which are dead except in some D&D scenarios and such. The great thing too is that every region and even down to every family has there own twist on the various stories. Here’s the version of the story of Ganesha they told me. I’ll try to paraphrase:
Ganesha was born to the goddess Parvati but in an accident had his head cut off by Shiva. Parvati was really pissed and Shiva said, “Don’t worry, I’ll send him off now and he will be victorious against first animal he runs across and after the battle he will wear its head”. The headless Ganesha wandered off and crossed an elephant. In the ensuing fight, Ganesha broke of one of the elephant’s tusks (that’s what one of his four hands is always holding) and then put on the elephant’s head once he had won. On arriving back home, Parvati flipped out again, “He looks ridiculous!”. Shiva: “Chill out! He is going to be the most popular god in all of India”. And so it was, Ganesha is far and away the most popular god in India. He is the god of prosperity and luck and prayed to by students all across India for help in exams. He has his own festival (which I was lucky enough to be there during) where each village makes a mud Ganesha, feasts on yummy curries and such, and then everyone descends on the river and the mud Ganesha is washed away with the current. A wonderful ashes-to-ashes kind of ending I found.
So why am I talking about this today? I received a Ganesha statue from my happy colleagues upon leaving India which my son has become fascinated with the past couple of days. I explained the myth to him and he wanted to know if Ganesha could sing. Well, actually Ganesha is single and as such is a killer dancer and singer. I bought a “Divine Songs of Ganesha” CD upon leaving the country and spun it up for the family. It was kind of like a low-budget Indian version of Enya. Yeah, that bad but hey the kids both loved it and danced to it – yes even my 15-month old daughter danced to it as well.
Talking of Enya, I remember this crazy teacher at a corporate motivation course once who said, and I quote “Yeah, I like lots of different kinds of music. Man, I even listen to Enya” Needless to say, he didn’t last another 6 months at that company…guess he should have been praying to Ganesha!