Lord Ganesh statues have become a popular fixture in many homes. Did you know that purchasing one of these statues involves a lot more thought than you might think? There are many things you need to know before bringing one of these statues into your home. Who is Ganesh? What types of statues can you buy? Where should you put them in your home? All of these questions will be answered in this piece.
We will start things off right at the beginning by looking at the history of Ganesh. This should help you understand who it is, and why people feel the need to buy these statues.
Who Is Ganesh?
Those of you unfamiliar with religion may not know that Ganesh is one of the main Hindu Gods. With an elephant-headed appearance, it’s a very unique looking God. Regardless of their branch of Hinduism, most worshippers will have a Ganesh symbol or some type in their home.
Ganesh is mainly known as the remover of obstacles. Hindus pray to him before they start something new, and are looking for a safe path forwards. It’s common to see Ganesh statues at the front of a temple too. He’s often prayed to before any other form of worship takes place.
He’s also a legendary scribe responsible for writing parts of iconic Indian scripture. As such, he’s got many ties to learning and education. A lot of worshipers turn to him when they’re taking exams or want guidance through education. Furthermore, Ganesh is also a protector of homes and cars. Hence, you see many statues of him in homes and on the dashboard of cars.
Are Ganesh Statues Only For Hindus?
Primarily, yes, Ganesh is a Hindu God – as stated above. However, it’s not uncommon for non-Hindus to have statues of him in their home. The things he represents and stands for are things a lot of people can relate to. Many people like to have statues of him in their home to protect it and remind them that he removes obstacles.
There are also plenty of links between Hinduism and Yoga. It’s a spiritual and physical practice that originated in ancient India. Yoga teachers will often call upon Sanskrit words and phrases from Hinduism. Consequently, there are some crossovers between it and the religion. People that practice Yoga will often go out and buy Hindu deities, like Ganesh, for their home.
You will find no rules that say you have to be Hindu to purchase a Lord Ganesh statue. If you like what he stands for, then it’s up to you whether or not you get a statue. It’s all to do with symbolism and where you are in your life. Many people enjoy having the symbolic figure of Ganesh in their house when they’re going through a tough time. The main difference is that Hindus will pray to their Hopefully,. People that aren’t Hindus will use it as more of a symbol than a religious statue that they pray to.
What Does Ganesh Look Like?
As alluded to earlier, Ganesh has a very unique appearance. His main feature is the elephant head on top of a human looking body. But, did you know that this head is representative of something? It’s meant to symbolize intellect, while the trunk shows his ability to discriminate between things. In Hindu scriptures, Ganesh uses his trunk to help him carry out a variety of tasks too.
Along with this iconic elephant head, there are numerous symbols within his appearance. Ganesh has a trident tattooed to his forehead, it’s used to symbolize the past, present, and future. It is also a nod to his father, Shiva, who is represented by this trident symbol. He also has a rope that represents the ability to pull worshipers to their highest goals. Ganesh is often depicted with a bowl of sweets in his hand too. This is a symbol of the sweetness of life and represents self-enjoyment.
Many Ganesh statues will also show him wielding a small axe. This relates back to him being the breaker of obstacles. The axe is used to break down anything that stands in the way of succeeding in life. Ganesh is also known to have one broken tusk on his elephant head. Symbolically, this shows his ability to keep what’s good and throw away what’s bad. Another key feature of Ganesh is his large belly. Some people are confused when they see a Ganesh statue/depiction as they think he looks like a fat elephant. But, this belly is big for a reason. It’s a symbol, his belly is used to digest all of the good and bad things in this world.
These are a few of the key features you will see in the depiction of Lord Ganesh. Some people prefer to purchase statues with as many of these symbols as possible. It’s thought that the more symbols you see, the more protection you get from this God. However, you will also get loads of statues with only one or two features on them.
What Types Of Lord Ganesh Statues Are There?
Lord Ganesh statues come in a wide variety. You get ones that are quite simple and ones that are more complex and in-depth. It’s common for Hindus to purchase Ganesh statues that are more detailed and have lots of symbolic messages. Plain and simple ones are more popular for people looking to decorate their home.
However, the different features aren’t the only variety of statue out there. You will also find some that differ because of the posture of Ganesh. Below, I’ve listed a few different types of Ganesh statue that you’re likely to see:
Perhaps the most common type of statue is one depicting Ganesh sitting down. It’s highly likely this is what you will find in people’s homes. While seated, Ganesh is thought to be meditating, this represents calmness. He is sat down and keeping watch over you and your family, ensuring everyone is well protected. Now, you can see why these statues appear in homes quite frequently.
Even within this statue-type, you will see a variety. Some sitting Ganesh’s are depicted with cross legs while others have one leg on the ground. The change in leg position isn’t a random thing, it holds meaning. Cross-legged will obviously symbolize meditation, as mentioned above. But, when one leg is on the ground, it shows he is concerned. It represents Ganesh being concerned for the lives of those that are worshipping him.
The second most common type of statue is one where Ganesh is standing up. Again, this is another statue that people will have in their home. A standing Ganesh statue is very different to a sitting one – both in appearance and symbolism. You get a true sense of his size when he is standing up, and can see the large belly more clearly. When he is stood up, it symbolizes his power and attitude.
Unsurprisingly, there are different types of standing Ganesh too. Some statues show him with more bends in his body than others. Plus, there are some with both legs on the ground, and others where one foot is resting on a mouse. This mouse is known as his ‘vehicle’ or ‘mount.’ Its purpose is to show Ganesh has the ability to chew through any problems that present themselves to him.
A dancing Ganesh can often get confused with a standing one. While they are both upright, there are many differences between the two. It’s not common for Hindus to purchase these statues for worship. This is because when Ganesh dances it is known as the Dance of Destruction. They are, however, often used as gifts for people that don’t use the statues for worship.
It’s common for Ganesh to be stood on his mouse when dancing. This signifies how strong the mouse is, and that no weight can crush it. Through the blessing and power of Ganesh, this mouse can achieve anything and be much stronger. So, these statutes do still have some symbolic meaning to them. But, they’re to be avoided if you want a Ganesh statue for worship.
A reclining Ganesh statue is used to signify luxury and comfort. They’re often used by people to decorate rooms in their house. In this depiction, Ganesh is often seen as royalty and dressed in very posh clothes.
Again, this is not seen as a statue that people should use for worship. They’re fine for home decor, but not for praying. This is because it’s another creative depiction of Lord Ganesh. Much like dancing, he’s seen doing something creative to add an element of fun to the statue.
What Do You Need To Know When Selecting A Statue?
Choosing the right statue can be much harder than you might think. Firstly, you have to think about all of the information that was just presented to you. What posture do you want your Ganesh statue to be in? If you’re using it for worshipping purposes, then you must choose either sitting or standing. But, if you’re buying one as decoration, then you can choose out of all four.
There is also one key thing to look at when picking your statue; the trunk. The placement of his trunk is very important as it has symbolic meaning. If you intend to keep your statue at home, it’s advised you buy one with the trunk on the left-hand side. This is thought to signify calmness and happiness, making it ideal for your home.
Statues with trunks on the right-hand side are more often found in temples rather than homes. This is down to the significance of this direction. It’s meant to symbolize rituals that must be completed daily. So, having one in your home and not completing these rituals can anger Ganesh. That’s why you find them in temples where the rituals can be carried out properly.
As well as these two options you will also find trunks that face forwards. Some consider this to have the most symbolism out of all three options. They are very difficult to find as they are so special in significance. A statue with a forward facing trunk shows that Ganesh has reached the peak of his powers. It’s a symbolic feature to show enlightenment. You will often see these statues with the trunk up in the air as well. These make the perfect gift, and can be put in your home or office space.
Where Should You Put Ganesh Statues In The Home?
There are a few rules you should follow when placing a Ganesh statue in your home. Firstly, you should never keep one on the floor. It should always be kept at an elevated level so Ganesh can watch over you and your family.
One of the best places to keep a Ganesh statue is by the front entrance of your home. By doing this, many believe he will help protect your home from evil and bring you good luck. Many people create a place above their front door to place the statue, making him the guardian of their home.
It’s perfectly fine to keep these statues in a cabinet or case with other ornaments and statues too. But, if you do this, you can’t have them touching other items. There should be a gap of around one inch between your Ganesh and anything else.
A popular place to put a Ganesh statue is in your bookcase at home. This relates back to the point of him being associated with books and education. Of course, if you have a dancing or reclining statue then you can place it wherever you want. These aren’t used for religious purposes, and there are no rules you must follow.
Hopefully, this article has been informative for everyone reading it. You now know a lot more about Lord Ganesh statues and how to use them in your home. Keeping a small statue in your home is a must for all practicing Hindus. But, they also make great gifts and pieces of home decor for non-religious people too.
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