A dear friend gave me this small statue recently of Ganesha, the Lord of Success. She had her sister bring him all the way from India for me. Maybe she knew that I would appreciate his help. Manali and I met for lunch and she told me all him and his importance. As a non-Hindu, I found his story fascinating and intriguing. As a storyteller, I found his significance mesmerizing and compelling.
The story of how he got his elephant head goes something like this:
Once goddess Parvati, while bathing, created a boy out of the dirt of her body and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access, and struck off the boy's head in rage. Parvati broke down in utter grief and to soothe her, Shiva sent out his squad (gana) to fetch the head of any sleeping being who was facing the north. The company found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its life and made him the leader (pati) of his troops. Hence his name 'Ganapati'.
Now you may wonder what's next? I have read that Ganesha is not only the destroyer of evils and obstacles, some write that Ganesha is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. It is said that he may also put obstacles in your way, to prevent you from going down the wrong path. I like that and hope that is true.
If you decide to get your own Ganesha statue, two tips I got were to be sure and not put him near any shoes or the bathroom. Those were big no-no's.
I'll tell you this little statue already is sitting in my office, gazing at me while I write this. Hopefully he is busy helping behind the scenes of my life already as I undertake this venture of writing for a living. Also I hope he helps my dream of going to India to visit my friend Manali and her family a reality in the near future.