GANESH, GANESA, GANAPATI
Ganesh, the elephant headed god of strength and knowledge, is the most popular member of the Hindu pantheon. His father is Shiva, the god of transformation and his mother is Parvati, beautiful maternal goddess. As a child, Ganesh was rather naughty snatching moochi sweet cakes, but he grew to be loyal, wise and intelligent. He is credited with transcribing the ancient scriptures with one of his tusks. He is the patron of students and universities. He brings prosperity. Ganesh is the guardian of portals and therefore is especially helpful to people in transition. Although Ganesh originated in India, he is revered in Thailand, Java, Bali, even in the West, and can be found in various forms of temple art: wood carvings, bronze alterpieces, illuminated manuscripts, murals and stone statuary. Sometimes Ganesh is pictured with a skull in his crown which refers to his ability to overcome the obstacle of death. Surprising, as it may seem, his mount is a rat.