The Reverend Ganesha season was there again and many parts of India celebrated the arrival of the God of Elephants in their booming homes. The worship of Ganesha is one of the most popular among Hindus, and many mythologists believe that, unlike many other gods of the Hindu pantheon, Ganesha’s singularity lies in the fact that his veneration extends over all castes. An interesting aspect of Ganpati’s popularity is that he is one of the few Hindu gods whose strong presence can be felt outside India, especially in neighboring India such as Tibet, China, Japan and many others in Southeast Asia.
The worship of Ganesha is frequently associated with entrepreneurship and its popularity spread outside India is attributed to commercial contact between the country and its neighbors which led to the spread of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism in other Asian cultures. Professor of art from India and Southeast Asia, Robert L. Brown, in his work on Ganesha, said the first inscriptions and images of Ganesha in Southeast Asia dating from the 5th and 6th centuries. In Cambodia, in fact, Ganesha had temples to himself and was worshiped as a primary god of the 7th century, even before worship gained popularity in India.
In addition, we also see that if the worship of Ganesha spread across borders, it also took its own forms in several ways. For example, in Cambodia, Ganesha is unusual in form with a human head. In China, on the other hand, Ganesha is considered a negative force, often represented as an obstacle. In Japan, a popular form of Ganesha is that of two Ganeshas who embrace. This form of Ganesha was apparently introduced to Japan from China in the eighth century.
We live in the Lord’s blessing of success, Ganesh Chaturthi, here is a look at how Ganapati is worshiped in all cultures outside of India.
In Japan, Ganapati is called Kangiten and is associated with Japanese Buddhism. Although there are several representations of Kangiten, the most popular is the Kangiten double body or what is often called “Kiss Kangiten”. It is depicted as a man and a head of a female elephant that squeezes into each other in sexual union. There are other forms in which the Japanese Ganesha is represented, as well as the four-armed man holding a radish and a sweet.
The first appearance of Kangiten in Japan can be dated to 8-9 centuries. It is believed that the Hindu form of Ganesha traveled to China and was incorporated into Buddhism. From there he went to Japan. Considered to have a lot of power, Kangiten is generally worshiped by traders, players, actors and geishas.
The worship of Ganesha in Tibetan Buddhism was introduced by Buddhist Indian religious leaders Atisa Dipankara Srijna and Gayadhara in the 11th century AD. Atisa, who is considered the founder of the Ganapati cult in Tibet, has translated several Indian texts in Ganesha written by the Tantric masters in India. Gayadhara, another part, was originally from Kashmir and popularized the cult of Ganesha in Tibet by translating various Indian texts into it and composing works detailing the worship of Ganesha and the sacrifice meant for him.
Tibetans have further strengthened the mythology and worship of Ganesha. A seventeenth-century myth associated with Ganesha gives a variant of his theory of birth. According to this theory, Shiva has two wives, Uma and Ganga. The newborn of Ganga loses his head for a curse given by Uma. Later, it is recommended to use the head of a corpse to replace the decapitated head of his son and thus was born the Ganesha with an elephant’s head.
There is another legend in Tibetan mythology that attributes to Ganesha a role in establishing an institution of Lamaism. According to the scholar of Buddhism, Y. Krishan, Ganesha and Lamaism theory is in the eleventh or twelfth century Ganapati took the brother of Sakya Pandita in his trunk and put him on the top of the mountain Meru prophesied that one day all provinces of Tibet will be governed by their descendants.