Global Ganesh

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Ganesha is one of many Hindu deities who reached foreign lands. As a result,the worship of Ganesha by Hindus outside of India shows regional variation.

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Ganesha was a deity particularly worshipped by traders and merchants, who went out of India for commercial ventures. The earliest inscription where Ganesha is invoked before any other deity is by the merchant community.

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Ganesha is worshipped by most Jainas, for whom he appears to have taken over certain functions of Kubera. Jaina connections with the trading community support the idea that Jainism took up the worship of Ganesha as a result of commercial connections. The earliest literary reference to Ganesha in Jainism is in Abhidhānacitāmani of Hemachandra (c.a. third quarter of twelfth century). It refers to several appeallations of Ganesha such as Heramba, Ganavigneṣa and Vinayaka and visualizes him as elephant headed, pot-bellied, bearing an axe and riding a mouse.

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Ganesha also appears in Buddhism, not only in the form of the Buddhist god Vinayaka, but also portrayed as a Hindu deity form also called Vināyaka. His image may be found on Buddhist sculptures of the late Gupta period. As the Buddhist god Vināyaka, he is often shown dancing, a form called Nṛtta Ganapati that was popular in North India and adopted in Nepal and then into Tibet. A dancing Ganesha is evident in the Malay archipelago in the temple of Candi Sukuh.

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Tibetan representations of Ganesha show ambivalent views of him. In one Tibetan form he is shown being trodden under foot by Mahākala, a popular Tibetan deity. Other depictions show him as the Destroyer of Obstacles, sometimes dancing.

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Ganapati, Maha Rakta (Tibetan: tsog gi dag po, mar chen. English: The Great Red Lord of Hosts or Ganas) is a Tantric Buddhist form of Ganapati (Ganesha) related to the Chakrasamvara Cycle of Tantras. This form of Ganapati is regarded as an emanation of Avalokiteshvara.

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In Japan, Ganesha is considered a minor deity in the Buddhist pantheon, where he is known as Shōten, Daishokangi-ten , Kangiten , Ganabachi (Ganapati), Binayaka-ten ("Vinayaka") Also called the Deva of bliss, Ganapati is invoked both for enlightenment and for worldly gains - more for the latter than the former. Kangiten - Vinayaka is offered "bliss - buns" (made from curds, honey and parched flour), radishes, wine, and fresh fruits. The offerings are later partaken in the same spirit as Hindus take prasad.It should also be noted that in Japan that the Hindu Ganesha is displayed more than Buddha in a famous temple in Futako Tamagawa, Tokyo.

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Buddha appears as a name of Ganesha in the second verse of the Ganesha Purana version of the Ganesha Sahasranama. The positioning of this name at the beginning of the Ganesha Sahasranama indicates that the name was of importance to the authors of that scripture, who were Ganapatya Hindus. Bhaskararaya's commentary on the Ganesha Sahasranama says that this name for Ganesha means that the Buddha was an incarnation (Avatar) of Ganesha.

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Myanmar

The King of Brahmas called Arsi, lost a wager to the King of Devas, Śakra (Thagya Min), who decapitated Arsi as agreed but put the head of an elephant on the Brahma's body who then became Ganesha.

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Thailand

In Thailand, Ganesha is called Phra Phikanet or Phra Phikanesuan and is worshipped as the deity of fortune and success, and the remover of obstacles. He is associated with arts, education and trade. Ganesha appears in the emblem of the Department of Fine Arts. The Hindu temple "Wat Phra Sri Umadevi" in Silom also houses a Ganesha image which was transported from India in the late 19th Century. Thai Buddhists frequently pay respect to Ganesha and other Brahmin deities as a result of the overlapping Buddhist/Brahmin cosmology. He is honoured with Motaka, sweets and fruit, when business is good, and he is made ridiculous by putting his picture or statue upside down, when business is down. As lord of business and diplomacy, he sits on a high pedestal outside Bangkok's CentralWorld (formerly World Trade Center), where people offer flowers, incense and a reverential sawasdee.

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Indonesia

European scholars call him the 'Indonesian God of Wisdom'. Bandung boasts a Jalan Ganesha. A Ganesha statue from the 1st century AD was found on the summit of Mount Raksa in Panaitan Island, the Ujung Kulon National Park, West Java. While we do not find temples dedicated specifically to Gaṇeśa, He is found in every Śiva shrine throughout the islands. An 11th-century CE Ganesha statue found in eastern Java, Kediri is placed in The Museum of Indian Art (Museum für Indische Kunst), Berlin-Dahlem. The 9th century statue of Ganesha resides in western cella (room) of Prambanan Hindu temple.

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Ganesha discovered in Java in Berlin Museum

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The Ganesha statue at Prambanan

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Cambodia

Ganesha is featured in reliefs from Cambodian temples.

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Hindus spread out to the Malay Archipelago and took their culture with them, including Ganesha. Statues of Ganesa are found throughout the Malay Archipelago in great numbers, often beside Shiva sanctuaries. The forms of Ganesha found in Hindu art of Java, Bali, and Borneo show specific regional influences.The gradual emigration of Hindus to Indochina established Ganesha in modified forms in Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand. In Indochina Hinduism and Buddhism were practiced side-by-side, and mutual influences can be seen in Ganesha iconography of that region.

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