Well, I’ve come a little bit further with my Colors of India postcards… it’s all moving so slowly. I’ve still been under the weather, though I’m finally on an upswing… must be that Z-pak the doctor prescribed this weekend. Hopefully we’ll all be germ-free shortly and feeling spritely again.
The upper left corner has an image of Ganesh, the Hindu elephant god. The following are quotes from Wikipedia:
Ganesha is worshipped as the lord of beginnings, the lord of obstacles, patron of arts and sciences, and the god of intellect and wisdom. He is honoured with affection at the start of any ritual or ceremony and invoked as the “Patron of Letters” at the beginning of any writing.
He is the Lord of Obstacles both of a material and spiritual order. He can place obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked, and can remove blockages just as easily. The Sanskrit terms vighnakartā (“obstacle-creator”) and vighnahartā (“obstacle-destroyer”) summarize the dual functions. Both functions are vital to his character, as Robert Brown explains: Even after the Purāṇic Gaṇeśa is well-defined, in art Gaṇeśa remained predominantly important for his dual role as creator and remover of obstacles, thus having both a negative and a positive aspect.
Paul Courtright says that:
Gaṇeśa is also called Vighneśvara or Vighnarāja, the Lord of Obstacles. His task in the divine scheme of things, his dharma, is to place and remove obstacles. It is his particular territory, the reason for his creation.
I find it interesting that many Hindu gods (in fact, the whole pantheon of gods in general) have this duality in their nature. Is it so surprising that we mere mortals are “afflicted” with the same attribute? So much time and effort is expended into quashing our shadow sides instead of honoring them as an integral part of who we are… the push and pull that moves us forward… toward completion of a cycle. Each has a purpose, and each can be harnessed to move us forward. I believe that transcendence begins with acceptance.