Dating back to between 1,200-1,000 BC, this proto-Ganesha stands dressed as awarrior, holding a sword and a snake in one hand and a quill in another, amulti-hooded snake at his feet.
There was a time when there were as many foreign versions as Indian, andsome of the earliest images of Ganeshas are found outside .
The earliest elephant-headed human figure appears on a plaque found in Luristan,in .
Ganesha was extremely popularin the art of Indonesian islands, especially of Sumatra and Java and comparefavorably with the eighth-century Ellora caves, in images, style andiconography.
As in Hindu mythology, it is a continual danceof creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of allexistence and of all natural phenomenon.
In Jainism, Ganesha occasionallyfound a place alongside Mahavir.
The conception of Shivais not simply that of a godhead whose powers have become concentrated in asingle figure dominating a certain period of Indian history.
The word is interpreted as thosewhose god is phallus.
On the slender evidence of this is suggested that the Shaivas, many ofwhom were converts from Buddhism and Jainism, might have imported it intoShaivism.
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The name Durga indicates one who is 'hard to approach' and Durga is represented with a stern expression, suitable to the unswerving force which drives the universe.
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She isalso Jagad Mata, 'World Mother'; Ambika, 'Gauri' ' Mother'; Uma, who nourishes theworld; Parvati, the dutiful wife of Shiva, who seated high in the Himalayas bythe side of her Lord represents the stability and continuity of life; thesmiling and auspicious Lalita, especially worshipped in South India; theceaselessly warring Durga; and Kali, the destroyer.
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Dussehra is the culmination of theten-day celebrations, organized to exhibit the episodes of the life of Lord Rama. On the tenth day the last episode of Rama's victory over Ravana is shown and theeffigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and his son Indrajit are burntamidst loud rejoicing.
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The very multiplicity of arms, puzzling as it may seem at first sight, issubject in turn to an inward law, each pair remaining a model of elegance initself, so that the whole being of the Nataraja thrills with a magnificentharmony in his terrible joy.
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The devotee worshipping the image prays, “O Lord, please grantme that I may not be born into this world again; that I may not have to passagain through a mother’s womb.” In other words it is about Moksha, whichmeans freedom from the cycle of birth and death but those whose level ofthinking cannot attain those heights naturally see what is most dear and near tothem, sex.
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It isthe third most popular group within Hinduism, giving place only to the worshipof Vishnu and Shiva in importance. The name Durga indicates one who is'hard to approach' and Durga is represented with a stern expression, suitable tothe unswerving force which drives the universe.