The Oxford dictionary lists "-ism" (a noun): as a distinctive practice, a system, a philosophy, a political ideology or an artistic movement (like Cubism, Realism, or even non artistic movements such as Darwinism and intellectualism).
Ganeshism is all of the above. Except, of course, it has no political ideology.
For over a quarter century, the art that is Ganeshism, has been a distinct practice, a patient study of Ganesha's iconography and symbolism. It has revolved around an ancient Vedic philosophy of self realization, expressed through an art form that is rich in symbolism. One that has far reaching cosmic significance.
Unwilling to take 'ownership' of the work, the artist has lovingly shaped Ganeshism into a movement, centered around Lord Ganesha in art, with a purpose to communicate, through art, the symbolic character which gives the deep inner meanings to his many forms.
Unfortunately, today, religion is often misunderstood. Most deities have been shorn of their philosophical significance and in most cases, reduced to mere superstition. Ganeshism, as an art form and movement, attempts to create an inward discussion, a debate, to instigate thought, to question and to meditate on the deep truths represented by the symbols. It aims to dispel the singular concept of the 'favour granting god' and focus instead, on the deity, as a mirror to the soul.
A SPIRITUAL ART FORM, NOT A RELIGION.
Etymologically, religion means "that which binds one back to the origin". It is derived from the Latin terms 're' and 'ligare'. 'Re' means back, again, and 'Ligare' means to bind or to unite with ones origin. The origin of man is his real self, or his supreme self, and through the paintings, Ganeshism attempts to communicate the concepts of self realisation, specially through the collections like "The God Within" where Ganesha is shown, literally, within us. As Swami vivekananda says "You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no teacher but your own soul".
THE MACROCOSM AND THE MICROCOSM OF LIFE
Pythagoras saw the cosmos and the body as a harmonious unity. He expressed this connection with his concept of microcosm and macrocosm. Nature and man reflect each other and the universe is part of all that Is. Everywhere there is conscious life that’s all made from the exact same core substance. This substance is vibrating through patterns of energy, of light and of sound.
And that's where Ganesha comes in. Way, way back in time, when Pythagoras wasn't even a glint in the eye of Mnesarchus, ancient Vedic texts symbolised Ganesha as gravity, representing him as the galactic glue that holds it all together. Vedic texts talk of amazing particle interactions happening in everything and everyone at all times, a true unity that connects everything in a magical quantum dance, whirling in a rhythm with the music of the entire cosmos.
The symbol or 'superimposition of reality' for all that is an elephant headed, chubby, lovable icon. Ganesha.
GANESHA AND THE QUANTUM WORLD
The fact that Ganesha, in Vedic iconography, is represented as gravity, his brother Murugan or Subramanya, represented as electromagnetic energy and their father, the great Shiva, as nuclear energy is fascinating. These three are the fundamental forms of energy in our universe and make up the basis for the standard model of particle physics. A cosmology that was postulated as far back as 6,000 years ago, is now being recognized by science through empirical proof.
Sure, none of the verses in the 'Rgveda' could be analyzed in the same direct sense that physics is measured or accepted in this era, but could it be that the ancient Vedic rishis knew of these categories, of different kinds of particles and forces? And if so, did they do this from - the patterns the outer senses and the inner instrument of the mind create? And, do these patterns conform to the nature of the physical world?
Modern science describes the whole of the universe as energy in one form or another. Matter itself is merely condensed energy. And just like many of the Ganeshism paintings, Ganesha is shown symbolized as the core of matter, while he swirls through his cosmic dance of creation as Nritya Ganapati, illustrating a concept that describes the divine operations of the universe.
WHAT IS GANESHA?
We're not going in to the names of Ganesha and their meanings. Enough Puranic literature covers that. Instead, let's look at what he represents in Vedic texts and today's world. Ganesha = gravity.
And gravity is the one thing that has physicists tearing their hair out. Scientists know exactly how many Leptons, Quarks, Bosons etc exist in electromagnetic energy and nuclear energy. They've shot them, at around at 299.8 million meters per second in Colliders and they've looked at everything there is to see in them. But Gravity, they really don't know much about it. They've given it a unit of measurement ; Graviton, but that's based on inertia and mass. Light particles or photons, have no mass, yet they are profoundly influenced by gravity. Stuff that physicists just haven't figured out.
We just know it's a kind of galactic glue, that holds the universe and so many galaxies together. Powerful stuff.
Sometimes, the 'common sense', 'sanity' and the 'detachment' from the consciousness within may be a hurdle in our path. Sanity is the playground of the unimaginative and without our imagination, where would we be now? Without our ability to conceive that which does not exist we might never have got where we are.