99 Thoughts on Ganesha: Stories, Symbols and Rituals of India’s Beloved Elephant-headed Deity

99 Thoughts on Ganesha: Stories, Symbols and Rituals of India’s Beloved Elephant-headed Deity

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Item Code: NAC473
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788184951523
Pages: 239 (Illustrated Throughout In B/W)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 Inch X 5.5 Inch
Weight 310 gm
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Back of the Book

In the game of cricket, having scored 99 runs, when a bats- man stands poised on the threshold of that much coveted century, he experiences the moment that is best associated with Ganesha.

Fear and uncertainty envelope him; between him and his achievement stand hurdles, both real and imaginary: a possible spin from the bowler can overwhelm him, his own anxiety can paralyze him, cheering fans can distract him. He needs divine intervention then. He needs to focus, get rid of all hurdles, perform, get the final run, and achieve what he so longs for. In other words, he needs to think of Ganapati.

This book brings together 99 meditations to better understand the stories, symbols and rituals of that adorable elephant-headed Hindu god who removes hurdles and brings prosperity and peace. Known variously as Ganapati, Gajanana, Vinayaka or Pillayar, he can help all of us score a century in the game called life.

Devdutt Pattanaik is a bestselling author whose works focus on myth and mythology and their relevance in modern times. He is currently the Chief Belief Officer at Future Group, and writes regularly in The Times of India and The Economic Times. To know more, do visit www.dcvdutt.com

Author’s Note

Ganesha is an organic god, transforming over space and time, geography and history. In Vedic times, all we had was his name. Later, the name came to be associated with malevolent spirits who had to be appeased. Then he came to acquire a form, one that connected him with feared forest beings, the Yakshas, and wild animals, the elephant and rats and serpents. Eventually he became a benevolent spirit, associated with vegetation, with betel leaves, areca nuts, turmeric, hibiscus and grass, whose name is invoked at the start of every ceremony. He was welcomed into the mainstream pantheon as the son of Shiva and Shakti and his fame spread as the patron deity of the medieval Maratha warlords during whose reign scriptures were written to his glory. During the freedom struggle, his worship became the rallying point of communities. And in modern times, he has become the god who understands modernity and the youth and their yearning to break free from the shackles of tradition. Of all the gods in the Hindu pantheon, he alone allows his form to be re-shaped and re-imagined and recreated as devotees will it.

Thus, he reminds us constantly that:

Within infinite myths lies eternal truth
Who sees it all?
Varuna has but a thousand eyes
Indra, a hundred
You and I, only two


Author’s Note xi
Part I Creation 1
Part II Family 21
Part III Representations 45
Part IV Stories 55
Part V Symbols 85
Part VI Temples 113
Part VII Festivals 121
Part VIII Rituals 131
Part IX Literature 153
Part X History 163
Part XI Spread 189
Part XII Wisdom 203
Acknowledgements 225
Bibliography 227
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