The Importance of Ganesh Chaturthi and the Elephant God

Ganesh Chaturthi is the highest of all the festivals of the year. People in Mumbai celebrate the days in a particularly splendid way. Countless small or giant Ganesh statues of clay gets placed on altars in houses and streets. For a few days, people worship the divine in these depictions with music and dancing. On the last day, the idols are then taken to the sea in cheerful processions to submerged in the waters.

Ganesha is one of the most popular forms of the divine in India. Other common names include Ganapati, Vinayaka, Vighnesha, Vigneshwara, Vighnantaka, Varada, Siddhita, and Ekadanta. Under the name Vinayaka, he is also revered in Tantra. Here he is a gifted dancer and a lover who can make several women happy at the same time. He is the son of Shiva and the Parvati. He is the overseer of Shiva's entourage and the mediator to his father and messenger of the gods. Ganesha is one of the gods with the greatest presence and popularity outside India. He is also worshiped in Buddhism and Jainism.

Every morning many people begin the day with a prayer to Ganesha. The god of fortune gets invoked in opening rituals of Indian dance and drama genres. Ganesha is also invoked at the beginning of a new venture, a trip, or wedding. As also during construction of house building, and examinations. He represents every new beginning and embodies wisdom and intelligence. Most merchants consider him their patron and almost every shop has a Ganesha statue. For many devout Indians, the first thing that comes to a new house is a statue of Ganesha. He can be also found on almost every wedding invitation card.

Ganesha is usually portrayed as a short, obese man, or as a child with a large, thick elephant's head. His ears are oversized, his eyes are small and his eyes piercing. His ball-shaped, fat belly stands for wealth and the ability to absorb all experiences. With him is always his mount, a mouse or rat. According to legend, he lost his second tusk in the fight against Parashurama. Usually, a bowl of Laddus stands before him. It also represents Ganesha's love and weakness for eating. He is often portrayed with a snake that binds to his stomach.

Ganesha's hybrid of human and elephant appears puzzling. He is also known as the conqueror of Ravana. There is no consensus on the question of Ganesha's marital status in India. In northern India, people consider him married. In the south of India, people consider him an eternal bachelor, living in celibacy.

Ganesha absorbs various forms of other gods, especially natural deities. His spherical belly and his figure develop from the Yakshas, ancient fertility deities. Many of the attributes he wears are also reminiscent of agricultural implements. Ganesha does not appear in the Vedas. He is tangible and worked out only in the Puranas.



Thoth is in the Egyptian mythology the ibis-headed or baboon protean god of the moon. He also got represented for magic, science, writer, wisdom, and calendar. Together with the dog-headed Anubis, he served as a clerk in the death court.

Thot got depicted as a human with the head of an ibis. Other figures also show the deity as a female person with baboon head. The worship of Thoth is one of the oldest divine cults of Ancient Egypt and the cult place was Hermopolis. Its meaning is well documented by inscriptions in buildings and papyrus records. He is also considered the messenger of the gods and the inventor of hieroglyphics. As a messenger of the gods, he announces the decisions of Zeus. He leads the souls of the deceased into Hades underworld.

He was a scribe and vizier of Osiris. Thot was the successor of Horus and ruled over Egypt. He represents the uniform order of the world, he is the inherent spirit of order and lawfulness. Thus he becomes the representative of the spirit in general, and in particular the patron god of all laws.

Thoth got equated in Greek mythology with Hermes. Hermes is in Greek mythology the patron god of travelers, merchants, and shepherds. The Roman equal to Hermes is the god Mercurius, whose name refers to the trade. Hermes is the son of Zeus and the Pleiade Maia. Already as a toddler, Hermes gets portrayed as devious and crafty. Mercurius was a god in Roman religion. His origin and other qualities got transferred to him. Early medieval chroniclers equaled the Germanic god Odin with Mercury.

Hermes was the bearer of dreams and lucky charms, and bringer of wealth. Hermes is one of the gods whose cult can get traced furthest away. Like other ancient gods, Hermes was also a shepherd god.

For the Greeks, Hermes was youthful and beardless, with a wide-brimmed hat. With this Hermes can put to sleep and cause dreams; the staff is one of its attributes. He gets surrounded by two snakes looking at each other.

He is also sometimes depicted with a turtle or with a ram. In the Celtic and Germanic provinces, the worship of Mercury was stronger than in Rome itself. Hermes was the author of the hermetic writings named after him. He was the author of a series of philosophical, magical and alchemical writings

In part, it has been even argued that the myth of the talking skull got borrowed from Celtic mythology. They preserve a legendary motive in which a skull rises from a spring.

Mimir is a creature of Norse mythology that guards one of the sources under the World Tree Yggdrasil.