Ganesa: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings / Edition 1 available in Paperback
- Pub. Date:
- Oxford University Press, USA
The book opens with a consideration of the various myths of Ganesa, stories of his birth, his beheading by his father Siva, and his subsequent restoration as the lord who gives, or withholds, success in undertakings. These mythic themes are then analyzed in relation to ritual, psychological, and religious aspects of Hindu culture. Later chapters discuss the historical and ethnographic context of the cult of Ganesa in the Marathi-speaking region of India where his worship is most prevalent. The author also examines the role that Ganesa has played in recent Indian history as the patron deity of some formulations of neotraditionalist values and ideology. A concluding chapter portrays Ganesa as a "protean" deity, one having the ability to assume many identities yet remain distinctly and recognizably himself throughout, thereby displaying the power to bring his devotees into a sustaining and intense relationship with him. Throughout the book, Courtright illustrates both the complexity of the deity's many roles and stories and the integrated manner in which they come together.