Ganesha Outside Hinduism

By Indsamachar bureau, 22 September : Jainism

Ganesha is worshipped by only some Jainas, for whom he appears to have taken over certain functions of Kubera. Jain connections with the trading community support the idea that Jainism took up the worship of Ganesha as a result of commercial connections

The Jaina canonical literature does not mention the cult of Ganesha. The earliest literary reference to Ganesha in Jainism is in Abhidhānacitāmani of Hemachandra (c.a. third quarter of twelfth century). It refers to several appellations of Ganesha such as Heramba, Ganavigneṣa and Vinayaka and visualizes him as elephant headed, pot-bellied, bearing an axe and riding a mouse
According to the Swetambara Jaina work, Ācāradinakara of Vardhamānasūri (AD 1412), Ganapati is propitiated even by the gods to get desirable things. The popularity is however not met with in Digambara texts. Excepting two medieval figures carved at Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves, Orissa and an early figure at Mathura, his representations are not found in any Digambara sites.

Ganesha also appears in Buddhism. His image may be found on Buddhist sculptures of the late Gupta period. As the Buddhist god Vināyaka, he is often shown dancing, a form called Nṛtta Ganapati that was popular in North India and adopted in Nepal and then into Tibet. A dancing Ganesha is evident in the Malay archiology in the temple of Candi Sukuh.

Attached: Ganesha in Jain caves at Udaigiri

Dancing Ganesha from Candy Sukuv Java Indonesia


Compiled by Dr Sandeep Sadanand Chaugule

You can follow the author on Twitter @sandipchaugulle




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