Ganesh is totally the most awesome Indian god ever. I mean, what other god could be Spider-Man?
1. Spiderman Ganesh
That’s seriously Ganesh as Spider-Man. And it wasn’t done by people who are trying to make fun of Ganesh. Far from it! It was done by worshipers of Ganesh in celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi, the great celebration in honor of the elephant-headed God.
2. Here’s Weightlifter Ganesh
This is Ganesh as a super-buff weight-lifter. What he’s lifting there, by the way is a Shivalingam, which is a symbol of Ganesh’s dad Shiva, and is meant to represent the entire Universe.
But that’s not all, this sacred image of Ganesh was inspired by one of the biggest Indian movies of all time, a fantasy-action film called Bahubali.
3. Tween Selfie-stick Ganesh
Like Jesus, you see depictions of Ganesh at all ages in his life. Here’s Ganesh as a kid, taking a selfie with his whole family! The blue guy is Shiva, with him is Ganesh’s mom Parvati, and his brother Murugan (the god of war, but here in child form!).
The image makes use of, and makes fun of, a totally contemporary fad (selfies). Could you imagine a picture of Jesus, Mary and Joseph like that?
But again, to the Hindus who adore him (and Ganesh is easy to adore!) it’s not sacrilegious at all. I’ll try to explain why.
4. Here’s Ordinary-dude Bike-riding Ganesh
Ganesh has the whole universe in his belly. He’s supposed to be everywhere, and everyone. Depicting him as a modern-day Indian on a bicycle isn’t sacrilege in the way showing a hipster Jesus on a bike might be to some Christians. To say nothing of certain other religions that would want to kill you just for drawing a cartoon. But Ganesh is meant to be totally approachable!
5. Bollywood Action-star Ganesh
Here’s Ganesh ready to kick some ass as famous Bollywood action hero “Gabbar Singh” (its like if you depicted Jesus as Rambo). It’s not that it’s not funny, it’s that with Ganesh, you’re allowed to be funny. And happy. He’s a jolly god.
6. Ganesh Riding Around in a Little Car
Here’s Ganesh driving around in a modern car. The rat going along with him is Krauncha, and in traditional images of Ganesh, Krauncha is the mount that he rides around on. Now Krauncha can take it easy with Ganesha’s new car!
7. Motorcycle Racer Ganesh
Sometimes he wants to travel more in style, so here’s Ganesh on a bike. You might think its absurd, but that’s part of the point of Ganesh: he is a god with an elephant head. He’s inherently totally absurd. So you can’t really use logic to rationalize worshiping or loving him. It has to come from somewhere beyond our attempts to understand the universe. Right from the start, with Ganesh, you have to let go of the human ego’s need to act really serious about things. Maybe that’s something every good deity ought to make us do.
8. Indian Cricket Team Ganesh
Here’s Ganesh being carried by the Indian Cricket team, in gratitude for their victory. Ganesh has long been associated with sports and games, but at the same time with wit and discipline.
9. Doctor Ganesh
Here’s Doctor Ganesh, and this statue was made by a group of Indian doctors. It’s the dream of many an Indian parent that their kids become doctors, and Ganesh is the patron god of schoolchildren and studies. He encourages hard work and a lighthearted attitude at the same time.
10. Housefly Ganesh
OK, this one is just nuts. It’s also inspired by a recent Indian movie, which is their version of The Fly. Only in this version of the story, the main character is murdered and reincarnates as a fly, and then he spends his new life protecting the girl he loved and avenging his previous death!
11. Eco-friendly Ganesha
Here’s a group of schoolkids learning about environmentalism; they made their Ganesh out of all-recyclable materials.
12. Vegetable Ganesh
And here’s a Ganesh made entirely out of vegetables! These last two images are related to some environmental issues that have come up around Ganesh Chaturthi. At the end of the festival, the statutes of Ganesh are cast into the water, and lately some people have been worried about the environmental impact that has. Ganesh is open to rolling with the times.
13. Chocolate Ganesha!
How can you not love a God who can be made out of chocolate? THIS GOD IS DELICIOUS!