Ganesha - Create and release
I am creating a festive mood today. I woke up early with memories of home in India involving rituals, gatherings and offerings. I am not very religious who think God is my savior but I would like to think I am a spiritual person who believe that if I listen enough ,be curious enough and pay enough attention, I will learn from nature. But there is one thing which gets me excited about Indian festivals - the rituals of cleansing, decorating and offering. Ganesha is one of the most popular deities in Indian culture. To give you a pretext , there are about 3 million deities we embrace and worship. Indian culture has always created deities for what they are seeking. The concept of Ganesha is to will remove all the obstacle in your way.
( more on that in tomorrows post)
I have been cleaning the house in preparation of this festival which celebrates the arrival of Ganesha or Ganapati .I have cleaned my alter, decorated my front porch with drawings and flowers. Then I have created a special place in the family room to place the idol of Ganesha. I, then plan to sit with family to create a space of offering, chanting and observing. Soon my house will be filled with the smells of flowers, sandalwood, incense and camphor , followed by smells of cooking with coconut, cardamon jaggery and saffron. My kids will try and chant the mantras with their American accent and I will curb my urge to correct them. I would have loved to have filled my home with people to share this joy but that has wait for next year.
We create Ganesha with clay, which I bought mine at Micheal's but my grandfather,I guess would have got it from his farm or by the river and make it pliable enough to give some shape. My process starts with kneading the clay.I am not a sculpture and have no desire to be one either. I search for few images, some videos and make a shape. Then with my hands, I begin to add details of limbs, ear, eyes and such. It takes few hours to shape and reshape until I feel he is MY Ganesha. It takes love, patience and effort to form this sculpture. We keep them at home , worship, chant , pray and offer the best of the dishes we can make. The celebrations will last for days and then after a few days he will be released into a water body as he dissolves and go back to the earth.
Why these rituals , why create this sculpture with your hands when you he has to go back to being clay again? Its like asking why paint and offer it to someone, why cook and feed it someone .Why give birth to a child, take care of them ,love them, nurture them and send them away to live there lives. There is a lesson here about creation and attachments. If we practice creating Ganesha and releasing every year, may be one day we will learn to let go of what we think we OWN.