Ganesa Beyond The Indian Frontiers

Introduction of Ganesa Beyond The Indian Frontiers
Introduction of Religio-Cultural Emissaries From India

Introduction of Ganesa Beyond The Indian Frontiers


It is difficult to state with precision anything regarding the exact date of the introduction of Ganesa in Nepal. According to one legend, Carumati, a daughter of Ashoka, built a temple of Ganesa in Nepal. This, however, is the legendary origin and there is no evidence to show that the worship of Ganesa was in vogue in Nepal at such an early date. The sculptural evidence demonstrates that his worship began sometime in the 8th century and became considerably popular by the 10th century. In Nepal he was worshipped by the Hindus, including the Buddhists. His adoration was taken over by Buddhism because he was the Siddhidata the 'Bestower of success'. According to a Nepalese tradition, a mystic mantra in praise of Ganesa, called the Ganapati-hrdaya, was disclosed to Ananda by Buddha at Rajagrha.

[casting of herbs to the ocean of milk]
Bronze statue of Ganesa(Nepal)

A large number of Ganesa images have been found in Nepal. Among these, mention should be made of two images at Kathmandu. They are rather unusual and are of considerable inconographical interest. They both show a rat under each foot of the god. Both have one head, but one has four hands while the other has sixteen and both embrace the Sakti. An interesting bronze depicts an eight armed Ganesa standing with a rat under each foot. Over his head is a five-hooded naga which reminds one of the Ganesa statues in the 64 Yogini temple at Bheraghat (M.P.). This appears to have been borrowed from one of the dancing forms of Siva as Nataraja and shows Ganesa's. connection with Siva. It may be mentioned that beyond the frontiers of India we find that Ganesa is very often shown carrying the symbols of Siva. Thus he has a naga in Nepal while in Tibet and Mongolia he sometimes carried a trident (trisula) whereas in Java (Indonesia) he is shown with skull ornaments (kapala-mala) of Siva as destroyer. From this Getty has rightly observed that, "In fact, in all countries where he has been worshipped, images of Ganesa have been found in which he is identified with his father Siva".5

Heramba was the most popular form of Ganesa in Nepal. In this form he is usually shown with his vahana lion, has five heads, ten hands 'and on his lap is his Sakti. However, an unusual image of Heramba Ganesa was found at Bhatgaon which is dated 1695. It has a rat instead of lion as vahana. Yet one more interesting statue of bronze in the Museum fur Volkerkunde in Munich shows a rat under one foot and a lion under the other.