"Ganesh affirms life by celebrating in its pleasures and beauty."
The chubby, gentle, wise, elephant-headed Ganesh, or Ganesha, is one of Hinduisms most popular deities. Ganesh is the remover of obstacles, the deity whom worshippers first acknowledge when they visit a temple. His image is traditionally placed where new houses are to be built; he is honored at the start of a journey or business venture, and poets traditionally invoke him at the start of a book. Ganesh is also a patron of letters and of learning; he is the legendary scribe who, using his commonly held broken tusk, wrote down parts of the Mahabharata Epic. In Hindu ideology weapons are a viewed as symbolic tools to destroy the ego rather than to cause any type of bloodshed. Ganesh's characteristic potbelly is usually bound around with a cobra. The cobra is an animal usually associated with Shiva, a reminder that Ganesh is his son.