Respect, can, and should be afforded to everyone
Recently I received a gift of an Idol of Ganesha, was a bit in disarray and broken, and lacked the lustre it once had. Originally it was owned by a well travelled military officer who liked to collect Idols of the countries he was stationed at. Sadly he passed away and this was gifted to me from his estate. Originally it was labelled “One of the many forms of the God Shiva, you need it to ‘prey’ he was angry with another God and broke his tusk”
I was confused at first because I had thought that Shiva was in mostly what resembled a human form deity. So the Research began, not only to figure out the identity but how it should appear when properly restored. Upon my research I did find out that the Idol was indeed miss labelled, and that it was in fact an idol of the God Ganesha. I read on about the history of the deity and although there was a legend about the deity losing a tusk in combat with another God, there was also in fact another legend that surrounded the event that fascinated me more.
In the first part of the epic poem Mahabharata, it is written that the sage Vyasa asked Ganesha to transcribe the poem as he dictated it to him. Ganesha agreed, but only on the condition that Vyasa recite the poem uninterruptedly, without pausing. The sage, in his turn, posed the condition that Ganesha would not only have to write, but would have to understand everything that he heard before writing it down. In this way, Vyasa might recuperate a bit from his continuous talking by simply reciting a difficult verse which Ganesha could not understand. The dictation began, but in the rush of writing Ganesha’s feather pen broke. He broke off a tusk and used it as a pen so that the transcription could proceed without interruption, permitting him to keep his word. This act of breaking the tusk signifying that no sacrifice was too great for the pursuit of knowledge and perfect wisdom.
As a Buddhist and a nerd this story created a romanticized imagery of the deity upholding the honour that is found in truth and the dignity of its pursuit. Although my faith is more of a generalized all encompassing view of Buddhism I believe honour and respect should be shown no matter what faith, and so the repairs began.
“People take different roads seeking fulfilment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
(using a strong wood glue, I permanently fastened the base to the idol and cleaned off the dust. Then using air dry clay fashioned the missing tusks)
(Once the clay had cured for 72 hours I then painted them to give a more realistic natural appearance)
(I decided on clay because the carving was wood and I thought adding some earth element to the idol would balance and ground it)