In India the Hindu deity Ganesha, representing good will, hope, and healthy self-indulgence, is everywhere: on village walls, in cafes, on handbags, in ancient sculpture and neon lights. His delightful physical form-an elephant-headed, big-bellied man's body with multiple arms, girdled by a serpent, riding a mouse- enchants the faithful and transcends cultural barriers. Now, in the first popular book on the subject, bestselling author Gita Mehta explores the rich religious and cultural meanings of the beloved figure. Her entertaining text, paired with dazzling photographs, will appeal to all who are touched by his generous spirit.
The Ganesha Chaturthi, an annual holiday celebrating the birth of the deity, takes place Aug. 28-Sep. 3, 2006, at Ganesha temples all over the world.