Overcoming Addiction: Ganesh
Ganesh is the elephant headed Hindu deity known for removing obstacles. He is also the perfect archetype and symbol for overcoming addiction.
Ganesh is most often portrayed holding certain objects, each of which represents life’s journey, the dark and the light.
Ganesh offers the promise of mastering of ourselves and the power each of us has to release what no longer serves us in order to make room for that which truly fulfills our deepest heart longings and desires.
Depiction of Overcoming Addiction
He is often seen riding or sitting on a rat, given that rats are greedy and lack self-control. This is a symbolic lesson of how the strength and power of Ganesh keeps all of our animalistic traits subdued. He is also seen holding a noose (Pasha in Sanskrit) that represents the capacity to capture evil and ignorance.
In his other hand, or near Him, you’ll find a bowl of Laddu’s (an Indian treat), representing good fortune and prosperity. The axe in His left hand represents severing ties to worldly attachments and conquering distracting and destructive emotions. The lotus in His right hand represents spiritual perfection and power.
His large ears remind us to listen more than we speak. His two tusks symbolize the two attributes of wisdom and emotion. The right tusk represents wisdom and the left tusk represents emotion. The broken tusk conveys the lesson that we must conquer that which stalks us and with this wisdom we are then able to attain peace and perfection. The depiction of Ganesh represents exercising control and overcoming addiction.
Addictions are only the symptom of an underlying cause of some type of wounding and trauma. Addictions are to be honored, because they have kept us alive and sane, until now. They have been the best coping mechanisms we have had to deal with the pain and disconnection we feel, until now. But when the addiction no longer serves us, it is time to release this habit and turn and face that which is stalking us and is the core of our suffering. The archetype of Ganesh gives us the courage to not only face and conquer our demons, but then rise like the phoenix from the ashes to become even greater than we thought we ever could be and to become the conscious creators of our lives.
In the Hindu tradition, Ganesh’s mantra “Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha” is always chanted at the beginning of all ceremonies to clear the energy for blessings to be given. The power of Ganesh in invoked by chanting “Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha” 108 times a day with Rudraksha or lotus seed Mala’s for 41 days to remove the obstacles in your life. Ganesh is a great inspiration for overcoming addiction.
Blog and Art by Sanctuary Practitioner, Shiro Fujioka.
Ganesh 12×12 in. Ink on metallic paper