This is Ganesha. He is one of the most well-known and most worshiped deities in the collection of Hindu gods. Though I have never been to India, Sri Lanka or Nepal, I understand I’d see see him all over in that part of the world. In addition to the many sects in Hinduism, Jains and Buddhists also groove on Genesha.
Other than being embodied in an elephant (one of the most recognizable animals on the planet and the near ubiquitous placeholder in the English language for “the letter ‘E'”), Ganesha represents many laudable qualities.
Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the god of intellect and wisdom. As the god of beginnings, he is honored at the start of rituals and ceremonies. Ganesha is also invoked as patron of letters and learning during writing sessions.
There are many iconic images which are a part of and surround Ganesha, all of them have meaning.
Big head = to think expansive and large thoughts
Large ears = to listen more
Small mouth = to speak less
Narrowed eyes = to concentrate better
One whole tusk/one broken tusk = to recognize merit in sacrificing a part of self and retaining the ability to move forward
Ax in right upper hand = to remove unhealthy obstacles
Rope in left upper hand = to pull one up to the next highest level of mindfulness
Om displayed by right lower hand = to bless those who choose a path of compassion
Bowl of fruit in left lower hand = to reward the cultivation of a mindful life
Large belly = to digest all that is good in life
And then there’s the mouse down near Ganesha’s feet.
What’s that doing there?
That mouse’s name is Kroncha, and he is the vehicle for Ganesha. He is, literally, the thing that transports Ganesha from Point A to Point B.
You might ask why Ganesha needs to go anyplace. He looks perfectly content right on his throne. Well, apparently, he does travel.
On the mouse.
Kroncha is symbolic of selfish desires and destructive distractions. Ganesha, who could be taken off of his path toward enlightenment by Kroncha, has instead subjugated Kroncha and when tempted will physically ride the mouse to control his own desires and distractions.
This holiday season, I hope to be able to see Kroncha when he appears to me, on a cheese plate with Gruyere, Manchego, Fontina, and Roquefort.
(Ironic side note: maybe that’s why mice are said to be such cheese-lovers.)
When I eat cheese, I regret it. Every single time. It makes me unwell: during and after — for days. I have resolved time and time again to control myself and not indulge. Yet, I have failed.
Dozens of times.
This holiday season, I’m going to narrow my Ganesha eyes and concentrate on grabbing onto the upper-left-hand rope to pull myself up and away from my Kroncha.
I wish you all a healthful and happy holiday free of Kronchas.