Krishna & Ganesh

Posted on August 16, 2010


Twelve students from Seattle University are in India this summer on a Study Abroad program led by Prof. Sonora Jha from the Department of Communication. The students are blogging about their experiences in the program titled “Mass Media in Modern India.” Follow them as they walk through the streets of India and widen their world with experiences with leading international journalists, filmmakers (both Bollywood and independent cinema), television producers, non-profits and students of mass communication in Mumbai, India.

Post by Elaine Costales

My interest in Hindu Gods began one day when I was strolling along Height Street in San Francisco. About five months before this trip to India, I walked into what looked like a “new age” Indian boutique. Walking in, my sense of smell was immediately bombarded with the whiff incense. The store was crammed with wooden furniture, sculptures of deities and the Buddha, and an array of knick knacks. As I was busily browsing, the store started to play what seemed like a hip hop song with pulsating beats intertwined with Hindu chanting. It sounds weird, but listen to the song and you’ll get the idea. Anyway, all I could make out from the song was “Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna!” I had no idea who or what Krishna was, but I was already intrigued. I ended up buying the CD, Elephant Power by MC Yogi. For me, this album became a fascinating, a little cheesy but fun introduction to the world of Hindu Gods.

I have spoken to many people that practice Hinduism here in Mumbai and have listened to what they have had to say about some of the Hindu Gods. These are descriptions of two Hindu deities, Krishna and Ganesh, that I have been most intrigued of through my conversations with people here in India.


“Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna! Krishna Krishna Hare Hare!
Hare Rama! Hare Rama! Rama Rama Hare Hare!
Shri Krishna, you’re pure charisma. Your flute playing is so intoxicating. Singing your song down in Vrindavan, enchanting the Gopi’s and all your devotees, filling the hearts of all the Bhakti yogis. In a trance you dance the divine romance of the Rasa Lila with Radharani. In the Bhagavad Gita you teach us Bhakti. Your divine past times are so sublime they peel open the heart and reassure the mind. Balancing a mountain on the tip of your finger, providing us shelter when the monsoon lingers. Your the lover of Radha, the killer of Kamsa. The sweet butter thief named baby Gopala. To you dark blue just like the ocean, I offer my devotion through all of my emotions.”
-Krishna Love, MC Yogi

Krishna is known as Lord Vishnu’s eighth avatar or incarnation. Dark skin like the color of the deep blue sea is attributed to Krishna. Many Hindus perceive him to be the Supreme Being. Krishna devotees consider him as a protector and a hero. For example, when Krishna was an infant, he killed off many demons, like the infamous Putna. He has made large contributions to the Indian society as a whole. He has influenced Indian arts, theology, literature, and values. As described above Krishna is depicted in many iconographies as playing a flute. This signifies Krishna spreading love through its sweet melody.


“When you’re blessed by Ganesh then you can travel, on a sacred journey to an inner temple. He paves the path that leads to the soul and he’s known for removing all obstacles. Now some may think it’s illogical, a myth or just philosophical, but Ganesh makes everything possible, because elephant power’s unstoppable!

Jaya Ganesha! Jaya Ganesha! Jaya Ganesha! Om!” –Ganesh is Fresh, MC Yogi

Ganesh’s dharma or his divine duties is to place and remove obstacles, hence the noose that he holds around his left arm to catch hardships. Ganesh is a popular icon or symbol for the Hindu religion. His elephant head signifies Atman and his body signifies Maya, the soul and mortality of human beings. He is known to personify the mantra Om or Aum, where the vibration of the syllable is suppose to indicate the source of all existence. Ganesh is perceived to be the god of wisdom, wealth, knowledge, and success.

By Frances Dinger