Sept.13th, 2018 is upon us. The Day of Ganesh Chathurthi when Lord Ganesha again returns to stay with us for as long as we wish, but conditions apply. The maximum period that he can be with us is again as usual – 13 days, he prefers to come in clay but we keep requesting that we be given a little more time to change and of course he wants us to welcome him with joy and gaiety which we wholeheartedly are more than willing to comply with.
Vighnahartha or Remover of Obstacles, the friend who never fails us in need, the hope, the solace and what not that we address him by. He comes and brings with him the rain that washes away our troubles that we have accumulated for his attention. One look at him and we know that our prayers shall be answered.
So what else need be said for the one that we each year are eagerly waiting to arrive? Well we decided to see what the images have looked like in the last several decades through some interesting samples from here and there.
A stone sculpture of Lord Ganesha at Halebid, Karnataka taken in 1954
A devoted lady painting the clay image of Lord Ganesha in 1960
A simple procession of vintage times? Simply put, a faith that has carried across over time
The Khele folk dance of the Konkan region, that shows Lord Ganesha with his guards. A traditional ritual that has survived since long!
The Shivalinga Ganapathi?
The Kalinga serpent ? So the Vishnu avatar of Lord Ganesha?
It was around this time that the economic liberalization began in India. Is this to show our gratitude through the sudden increase in image size?
Lord Ganesha – a multi-headed avatar representing most of the popular deities
The size of the idol is easily guessed by the people standing near its base.
The latest in the Ganpathi avatar – Khairatabad, Hyderabad – 2018
A few things are observed in the journey.
- Sculpture in temples and stand-alone were huge since they were permanently fixed. The temporary idols of Lord Ganesha have increased over the years from the small clay ones to the supernatural types seen today.
- It was the devotion that pulled Lord Ganesha to us irrespective of size. Today it is the fanfare that has replaced the Bhakti of yesterday.
- People celebrated with small versions at home and the slightly large ones were at prominent public places for all to benefit. Today the pandal versions have increased tremendously due to easy money, political clout and public frenzy.
- Clay was what was started with and getting the idol to dissolve was never a problem. Today because of the increase in size that serves no practical purpose, but merely due to some whim of certain prominent individuals, it is metal and plaster of paris that do not dissolve that are used. Each year during the immersion of such idols, there is a lot of debris and waste strewn about in the water bodies that have to be cleared at enormous cost. Lord Ganesha sought Bhakti from us, we are only increasing his image size to show it.
- Lord Ganesha was the only start in the pandal. Over time it is getting crowded with the images of other deities too. The images of Ganesha have changed from being the simple lustrous Ganesha that we were so accustomed to pray to, by avatars of many heads of different deities. So, how can Lord Ganesha give his undivided attention to us?
Anyway since our favourite Lord is already here let us welcome him with our prayers and take the maximum benefit we can of the thirteen days of his stay with us. 🙂