Ganesha festival cheers the kids who feel attracted by the elephant-headed potbellied deity that could not hold in the belly all the laddus he had eaten! The symbolism goes far beyond this gastronomical lure for the kids. It is a promise of a good harvest at the end of the monsoon season and abundant food for the whole community . The elephant has no obstacles on its path in the forest, and the rat, Ganesha’s vehicle, always finds something to eat . That is the message conveyed by Vijnaneshwar, the Lord against all obstacles.
Religious cults may appear outdated for the believers and defenders of modernity, but it has saved much of the nature until our times when we the devastation wrought by modernity, fed by unchecked use of technology, is threatening the life-sustaining ecosystems.
D.D. Kosambi wrote that Ganesha's animal head and human body equate him to the sorcerers painted by ice-age men in European caves. Kosambi was unaware that Goa too had its own similar Paleolithic rock carvings discovered only in mid 1990s.
Even without this knowledge, the Goan savant has shown a rare mastery of ancient Indian culture in explaining its ability to forge doctrinal and cultic syntheses that could enable our ancestors to meet changing historical scenarios and their challenges to socio-political co-existence.
This was, according to him, particularly clear in his reading of ambiguities and manipulations of Gita and the handling of Bhakti for outsmarting the Buddhist triumphs in India. Kosambi came to the conclusion that fusion and tolerance become impossible when the crisis deepens , when there is not enough of the surplus product to go around the synthetic method does not lead to increased production.
Marrying the gods to goddesses had worked earlier because the conjoint society produced much more after differences between matriarchal and patriarchal forms of property were thus reconciled. The primitive deities adopted into Siva's or Visnu's household helped enlist food-gathering aboriginals into a much greater food-producing society.
The alternative would have been extermination or enslavement, each of which entailed violence with excessive strain upon contemporary production. The vedic Aryans who tried naked force had ultimately to recombine with the autochthonous people. Ganapati is one such classic and successful fusions.
Kosambi did not choose the popular artistic route to convey this cultural feat of Hinduism. Subodh Kerkar was less fortunate a couple of years back, drawing upon himself the ire of the Hindu fundamentalists against his modernist rendering of Ganesha.
Moreya is indicative of the Goa’s close cultural links with the surrounding region, both in the Konkan and into Deccan, throughthe trade-bearing ghat passes. The legendary epithet Mayureshwaris attributed to Ganeshaor Vinayak, who is believed to have responded to the appeal of gods against Sindhu in Moregaon, land of peacocks, 50 kms from Pune. In a temple at Moreshwar, considered to be one of the eight temples (ashtavinayaka) dedicated to Ganesha, Ganesh chaturti is celebrated traditionally with great pomp, with pilgrims arriving from surrounding region.
The Mores of Javlli and Ghat region were at one time feudatories of Mauryas. Were initially opposed to Shivaji’s hindaviswarajya plan, but later joined in, unlike most other Konkan Maratha chiefs. The highlanders or mavlle of Shivaji came to me known as movali (marauders, robbers) in Goa. Shivaji was particularly irked by the Portuguese who gave them refuge in Goa and invaded it more than once to curb their activities.
But independently of the trans regional political affiliations, the Goan cultural regional links persisted in Goa under the Portuguese rule. When the Portuguese banned the public Hindu celebrations in Goa, the Mhamai Kamats resorted to celebration of paper Ganesh, which was performed clandestinely. This they do till now, in memory of those colonial curbs. The new move afoot, aimed at promoting an ecological Ganesh, avoiding idols made of plaster of Paris, will be a far milder version as compared with the paper Ganesh of Mhamaisarkar.