Dhanvantari Ayurveda Center Michael Dick, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Leesburg, Florida e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ganesha -- God of Protection
The concept of God in the Vedic tradition includes myth, mysticism, and conceptualism. The above diagram of Ganesha is one writer's (unknown) characterization of some of the symbolism associated with this deity. According to lore he is the son of Shiva and Parvati. Unknown to Shiva, his son was ordered to stand at the bedroom door of Parvati while she bathed. Shiva wanted to enter and was deterred by Ganesha. A struggle ensued and Shiva cut off Ganesha's head. When Parvati told him that this was their son, Shiva cut off the head of a passing elephant and placed it on the trunk of his decapitated son. Ganesha is part elephant and part humanoid. He is widely honored and prayed to for protection. The protection prayer invoked at the beginning of any activity is thought to protect the entire activity.
One thing is important to remember about the concept of God--God is only one but has many representation and forms. The tradition holds that while one may pray to one deity for blessings in the form of the role of the deity in the pantheon, this fact does not mean that this tradition is polytheistic. Typically, each function or attribute of creation has a representative name or deity. The devout pray to one God, having many names and forms. There are many prayers--one popular one is called the Ganesha Gayatri.
Om ekadantaya vidmahe
Tanno danti pracodayat
By your single tooth we know Thee
We meditate upon that curved trunk
May that toothed one awaken supreme Consciousness in our minds
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