Saturday, November 1, 2014

The real story of Ganesha(correcting PM Modi's misinformation)

I could not help but cringe when our Prime Minister Narendra Modi publicly exposed his ignorance on Hindu philosopy and the Puranas which deal with the birth of Ganesha.
Just for the record Ganesha is a diety ie a philosophical concept not an actual mortal entity be he animal or human.
I will let a very perceptive and knowledgable Indian American software consultant Kunal Singh speak eloquently on this issue (from the archives of Google groups)
Ganesh was a deity produced by the Shakti cult represented by Parvati,
thus Parvati creates him from his own body without Shiva's help.  The
Shakti cult also undergoes several reincarnations, Sati being the
precursor to Parvati, Durga being another form of Parvati.  A cult can
give birth to a new deity in Hinduism.
Ganesh has an elephant head because he is renowed for buddhi which
relies on memory represented by the elephant.  His legend is
associated with the union of Shiva and Parvati which occurs due to
buddhi consciously interpreting Prakrti.  Ganesh had initially
insisted that buddhi was an entirely non-conscious process, his mother
Parvati looking on quite proudly, but he was eventually defeated.
Taken in the ordinary context, a wife producing a child without a
husband and then quitely watching her son battle her husband without
interfering is indeed a strange concept and it should strike you as
strange.  The strangeness should make you realize that you are not
interpreting the legend in the appropriate context.
 Karttikeya was considered
to be the son of Parvati despite his being born from Shiva's semen,
Ganesa being a direct response of Shakti (Parvati) to Karttikeya being
taken away from them unfairly.
The relationship between Shiva and Parvati was still quite unequal.
   Parvati felt that most of Shiva's "ganas" sang his glories and
   decided to create her own "gana."  Ganesha was created by Parvati
   from her own body.  And Ganesha would raise the issue of buddhi.  For
   only is Prakrti necessary to maintain material cycles, it is the
   basic foundation of buddhi (knowledge).  For most of what man
   perceives, he perceives in nature and his reasoning is verily based
   on entities which he identifies in Prakrti.  Ganesha seems to argue
   for completely excluding consciousness from the functioning of buddhi
   (refuses to allow Shiva to meet Parvati).  He fights a tremendous
   battle which challenges even Shiva.  Shiva wins in the end,
   beheading the deity of Ganesha only to restore it upon later
   thought as the deity of buddhi or knowledge by attaching the head
   of an elephant (memory ?) to Ganesha's body.
    Taking into context that dieties were representations of various schools of thought which was the case in ancient India, this interpretation makes the most sense.
So I would request curious readers to leave PM Modi's nonsensical ideas in Hinduism in the trash bin even if you respect him as a leader.