Wednesday, May 22, 2024
HomeReportsGlobal Ganesh

Global Ganesh

Also Read

Last year when parts of North Karnataka were hit with floods. I traveled to Gokak to be with my mom and brother. Gokak lies at confluence of two rivers Ghataprabha and Markhandeyya, this makes the city easily susceptible to floods. During floods, the connecting bridges to city gets cut off. The farming communities at the river banks are disrupted the most. The supply network of groceries and essentials gets paralyzed. My mom and brother were narrating how hotels and tea kiosks were selling just black tea due to abrupt halt of milk supply. All in all, it wasn’t a perfect time. And then came Ganesh Chaturthi.

I saw the area Ganapathy being setup with usual enthusiasm. There was no effect on the availability of groceries for prasada (food offered to god later distributed to devotees and reverently consumed). The organizers were able to pool paraphernalia for the pooja (worship ritual in Hinduism ). Due, to influence of Lingayats, the concept of Dasoha (unattached charity) is practiced in our city no matter what community is celebrating which festival. The prasada here is open invitation, one just walks into the venue gets in line and eats it with utmost devotion. Though this ritual isn’t any new what surprised me was even with such natural disaster, the festivity continued without any let and hindrance, as if nothing ever happened and somehow the festivities brought people a ray of hope. Organizing an event like this made us forget all that had happened and hope for a better tomorrow. Amazing how festival helped us to come together and realize the special unsaid bond.

It isn’t surprising that many Ganesh mandalies (referred to group of people, like board members of a company) can pull off such feat. These mandalies have a history of their own. Bal Gangadhar Tilak is a colossal figure in Indian freedom struggle. It was he who sensed that setting up public gathering pf people for Ganesh festival will get them more organized, make people mingle and create a bond among all Indians. These mandalies can then be molded into an organization for Indian freedom movement. Ganesh is worshiped par India. Let me put this in perspective, according to Hinduism, it is said that before performing any pooja, one should perform a Ganesh pooja first only then it is deemed fulfilled. This makes every sect of Hindus connect to a common god, whose rituals, likes, and legends are known to everyone. The very thought of Tilakji to choose Ganesh Chaturthi was indeed deeply thought. Though, many of know about the how celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi became a public event, what is rarely known is the worship of Ganesh worldwide. By this I don’t mean about NRI folks celebrating it at their respective countries. I mean how Ganesh is part of many countries, his temples and his worship and how it has connected countries to a common culture.

First let’s talk about Indonesia. On Mount Bromo, you will find a Ganesh idol, placed ages before by unknown saint. It is believed by people living around the mountain that Ganeshji is protector of the villages and he keeps the dangers of a live volcano at bay. There are around 3 Lakh Hindus from the surrounding 48 villages who worship lord Ganesh. The rituals of Yadnaya Kasada is an example of how rich and deep this culture is rooted in modern Indonesia.

Image for post
Ganesha on Mount Bromo, Indonesia. Image Credit : arhnue

In Thailand, Fine arts department logo is adorned by Ganesh. This department is under the Ministry of culture and Heritage indicating the deep connection the country has with Hinduism. Hence, it won’t be surprising to mention that Chachoengso city also known as “City of Ganesha” has 3 huge statues ranging from 19 to 43 meters. In Vietnam, Cham communities have been worshiping Ganesh as remover of obstacle. There is a temple dedicated to him in Po Nagar, Stele dating back to 781 indicated deep cultural ties with Hinduism.

Image for post
Hozanji Ganesh Temple. Image credit : Bryan Baier

The most fascinating one will be that of Japan. In the Asakusa area of Tokyo in Japan, are a series of temples dedicated to Japanese Buddhism. Among them is the Matsuchiyama Shoden temple. This temple of the Tendai Sect of Buddhism was established in 601 according to legend (some sources even state 595). There by making it older than the Senso-ji temple, which was established in 645. There more than 250 temples of Ganesh in Japan referred as ‘Kangiten’ also by other names such as ‘Shoten’ ‘Ganabachi’ or ‘Binayakaten’. The most actively visited Ganesh temple is the Hozanji temple, on eastern slope of Mount Ilkoma, just outside Osaka. It is said to be established by 17th century monk Tankai , who is also known as Hozan.

It is said, Hozan wanted to attain ‘Siddhi’, but he always faced a lot of obstacles and wasn’t able to achieve it. Hozan’s master then introduced him to Ganesh and asked to worship him. Hozan promised to make the idol of Ganesh and make him the guardian of Mount Ilkoma. It is said that after this Hozan, got a boon from Ganesh and attained Siddhi. Later in 1680 followers of Hozanji established the present temple complex. The merchants of Osaka began worshiping in the temple and huge donations made it as one of the richest temples in Japan. The number of devotees visiting this temple made it to be have one of the first cable car in Japan to be built here in 1918. The very fact that a Hindu gods temple making such impact on lives of people in Japan is profound. This influence of culture in land as far as Japan, without India being a colonial power, suggests that Indians did conquer people but by heart. Though most of this is knowledge in public domain the influence of Ganesh in Japan is not know to many Indians. I will be humbled if you gained some insight reading this article.

I pray that Ganesh keeps us safe in this global pandemic and keep us all connected.

  Support Us  

OpIndia is not rich like the mainstream media. Even a small contribution by you will help us keep running. Consider making a voluntary payment.

Trending now

- Advertisement -

Latest News

Recently Popular