Maargita Ganesha.


My friends Geeta and Koushik who introduced me to Dakshina Dwaraka sent an invitation separately and another through the group’s bulk mailing system to attend a program called Maargita Ganesha yesterday. As my readers know we are just about to conclude our annual Ganesha festival and this program was arranged as part of the festivities by the relatively new group featured above. I attended the program and came away from it with great admiration for the two artists featured in the program.


Sushruti Santhanam, with who my readers are familiar through my earlier blog post started the program off with an introduction about Maargita Ganesha. I paraphrase her in this blog post as it was a great learning experience for me too. I learnt some very new things about Ganesha, the path and the links to music and worship.

Maarga in Sanskrit means the path. Many of my readers exposed to Buddhism will connect the word with its Pali equivalent Magga. In this context, the path refers to the path to moksha / liberation. The focus of the event yesterday was on how Indian art uses the path to liberation from form by creating form. Sushruti explained how Ganesha becomes the liberating force and how the created form – music and sculpture become the path. In the music part of the program which I was able to attend fully Sushruti talked about capturing the form and spirit of Ganesha through the exquisite compositions of Muthuswami Dikshitar who takes complex metaphysical and mythological ideas and sculpts them deftly with the chisel of language and music grammar to produce aesthetically evocative compositions. Such creativity is what the Maargitha tradition of music represents.

That introduction was follwed by some mindblowing renderings of Dikshitar’s compositions by Sushruti accompanied with great panache by Ms. Sowmya Jayabharadwaj; Shri H. Venkatraman on the mridangam, and Ms. Mahati Venkatraman on the tambura.

Guruji with lamps

The recital was followed by a lecture by Guru Ravindra Sharma, a sculptor, artist and a thinker who shares a very deep connection with the ethos and spirit of the creative communities of India. His talk centered around the aesthetic journey of sculpture, its rules, materiality and metaphysics. He explained how this form of intense creative engagement in connecting physical material to supra-rational significance and the creation of form, Ganesha in this instance, becomes the Maarga in sculpture.

To me, it was a learning experience and I hope to get to know more about the subject from both these remarkable people.


My niece in law Ranjani has made me an offer that I could not refuse to accept.

She has agreed to use the walls of her lovely home/s in Chennai to hang some of the wooden carvings that have adorned our home for the past many decades and which now need to find new homes in the process of my simplifying my life.

Many decorative frame wooden pieces have already been given away by my son Ranjan to another enthusiastic antique collector and only these five pieces were left to be given away.


The large frame in the background is a panel depicting Dashavatara, the two rather tall lean carvings are tribal art form from the jungles of Central India, the carving of a bird image is of Hamsa and the last piece to the front right corner is one of Ganesha.

These five pieces will leave our home later this evening to be packed and despatched by road transport to Chennai.

I hope to see them livening up Ranjani’s home when I visit later this month.


Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Padmum and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get nine different flavours of the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by gaelikaa.

I choose to address the topic for today from this definition of the word ‘conflict’:
“Mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands.”

I suspect that this is what gaelikaa has in mind too!

I have no conflicts as defined above, other than one. What is the only conflict that assails me?

The need to be free of all responsibilities, to enjoy my retirement, the way I had imagined it would be.

I had planned to retire at the age of 50, but was unable to till 52. At 52, our son had finished his studies and had started to work towards making a career in his chosen field of Multi Media. I suggested to my late wife that it was time that we implemented our retirement plan and start out traveling. She balked and suggested that we postpone till our son ‘settled down’. As ever, being the obedient husband, I deferred to her suggestion. But, I was bored and grabbed an opportunity for re-employment and did not look back till I was 57. At that respectable age, retirement got postponed indefinitely as my wife took ill and I had to look after her. When I was 66, my father finally retired and had no place to go to, and I invited him to come and stay with us. My wife decided that she had had enough, and decided to leave us, leaving me holding my father’s hands. He has not mentioned it, but I don’t think that this was his idea of retirement either!

As I write this, I am still holding his hands, and am no where near implementing the plans that I had so elaborately drawn up when I was in my forties.

My undertaking towers over me like a great big monolith.

It is too huge to reflect on. So, I think that I will simply go and surf the internet.

Any conflict seeks resolution. How do I reconcile this conflict. Enter Nietzsche and his wonderful Amor Fati.

I have left the resolution of my solitary conflict in Ganesha’s capable hands and have reconciled to achieving my retirement when He chooses.

The Goddess Of Garbage.

I request my readers to bear with me a while before I come to the main subject matter. Firstly, this post on Faith has to be read followed by another one on Ganesha.

The main thrust on both the posts was that for a Hindu, there is ONLY GOD and s/he makes a God out of anything so that his approach to life reflects the respect s/he extends to any activity where divine influence is called for.

With that background, I take my readers to another piece of information about a part of India where a Goddess has been created for Garbage with some spectacular results.

I also give some great quotes from native American Chiefs.

1. “The Great Spirit is in all things: he is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the earth is our mother. She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us.”

– Big Thunder (Bedagi) Wabanaki Algonquin

2. “We live, we die, and like the grass and trees, renew ourselves from the soft clods of the grave. Stones crumble and decay, faiths grow old and they are forgotten but new beliefs are born. The faith of the villages is dust now…but it will grow again….like the trees. May serenity circle on silent wings and catch the whisper of the winds.”

– Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce

Now how about that for the Greens and the Recyclers?

P.S. After this post went live this morning, I read an interesting article in the Washington Post which too perhaps needs some attention.



This post is a direct result of landing myself in trouble at Grannymar’s post, Shapely Legs.

One commentator there said something about elephants with which I disagreed and Grannymar had to put out the fires that developed after that. Please do visit her post and read all the comments. Totally fascinating.

In the process of putting out the fire, Grannymar has suggested that I write about Ganesha.

I am not an expert on Ganesha. I shall leave experts to tell my readers all about Ganesha in a nut shell. (What a paradox!)

I am a Hindu. What that makes me is an anarchist as far as religion goes. I can do anything I want, or not do anything, believe or not believe, pray or not pray, visit temples or not, perform sacrifices or not and so on so forth. There is no one sitting over my head and telling me that I will either go to heaven to enjoy the company of virgins or pomegranates, or to hell and roast at very high temperatures. Some Hindus go to elaborate lengths with rituals and ceremonies and many like me, do not. We live and let live. God is strictly personal and we do not like to be told how to approach him. So, you have a colourful kaleidoscope of deities, festivals, ceremonies, rituals etc and all dovetail nicely into a hotchpotch called Hinduism.

In this chaos, Ganesha plays a very important role. It is not because he is a funny figure but because of what he represents. The link would have given you some background about that. For Hindus, the attitude is the most important aspect of worship and prayer, and it has been rightly observed by many that Indians worship milestones too. Yes, they do. If the milestone remotely resembles some fancied deity, some Indian will anoint it with sandalwood paste and red coloured powder called kumkum and start a worship. He will however first invoke Ganesha to remove all obstacles in the process of anointing and then only proceed. How does he do this? He takes bit of sandalwood or turmeric powder, add water and make a dough to form a cone shaped figure. He then summons Ganesha to come and sit in that shape and bless the proceedings. After they whole affair is over, he will dissolve the shape in a plate of water, throw it out and bid Ganesha farewell after profusely thanking him for being symbolically present and preventing any mishaps.

This is not because he is stupid. For a Hindu, it is simply a form to focus his attention on. For a Hindu, there is not many Gods, or one God, but there is ONLY GOD. He therefore does not find it odd to worship a milestone. He will worship anything that takes his fancy because he cannot picture anything without it representing God.

My very first blog post on this site, made last June, is an invocation to Ganesha to bless this blog. You can read it here.

Maria, I hope that you are reading this. You and Grannymar expressed the desire to learn something about our religion and culture. This is an attempt to briefly give you the role Ganesha plays in it. To talk in detail about the whole subject, I will need to write a tome. I am however willing to answer any questions that you may have on what I have written and elaborate where necessary to explain.