There are several origin myths explaining why Shiva and Uma’s firstborn son has the head of an elephant, and this is the most well-known;
Shiva was often away from home for extended periods, leaving Uma at home alone. She often wished she had someone to share her loneliness, and while thinking about this while cleaning her body with herbal paste one day, she moulded the discarded pulp into the figure of a child. She wished the paste-child had life, and in an instant, it transformed into a living child. Uma, of course, was delighted; at this point, he was physically like any other infant boy. That was until Shiva returned home to find a boy guarding his wife’s bath chamber. The child refused to let this stranger pass, and in a rage, Shiva beheaded him. Uma was distraught and threatened to destroy the universe if her son was not brought back to life. A chastened Shiva sent messengers to get him the head of the first newborn they encountered. When they return with an elephant calf’s head, and with no other option, Shiva attaches the pachyderm’s head to the child’s headless torso and resurrects him. Shiva so admired the boy’s courage in defying him he proclaimed the boy would command all elements that form the cosmos (ganas) and is therefore known forever as Ganesha.
Here Ganesha rests on a double lotus (padmasana) in the pose of royal ease (lalitasana). At his feet in adoration sits his rat vahana, or mount, Mushika, who symbolizes the idea of craft and cunning as a way to overcome obstacles if charging right at it like an elephant doesn’t do the job. In Ganesha’s right forward hand, he holds his broken tusk-pen (Ekadanta) symbol of his knowledge and wisdom, while the left cradles a sweet rice ball (modaka), symbolic of the rewards of a life lived wisely. His left rear hand holds a noose (pasa), representing the obstacles we face on our spiritual path (Dharma). In contrast, his right back hand grabs the elephant goad (ankusha), symbolizing the motivation required to stay true to our Dharma.
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11 in / 28 cm
21.72 lb / 9.85 kg