The Hindu god Ganesha, the god with the elephant’s head, is beloved by millions as the remover of obstacles. His name is often invoked at the beginning of a new venture; he is thought to bring his followers good luck and fortune.
He bears the head of an elephant because one day his mother, the goddess Parvati, asked him to guard the door while she bathed. He did so faithfully, denying even his father, Shiva, entrance. Shiva was not pleased that Ganesha was standing between him and Shiva’s wife, and so he cut off Ganesha’s head. Feeling contrite almost immediately, Shiva ordered his servants to find a replacement head for Ganesha–they returned with the head of an elephant, and Ganesha has been known as the Elephant God ever since.
Elephants represent wisdom, and not just any wisdom, but that of your higher self, the self that exists before and beyond what you think of as your life. This wisdom is what counsels us to choose love, to create beauty, to forgive, to seek, to trust. This wisdom is what teaches us that all of our obstacles exist only in our minds.
Ganesha is the Remover of Obstacles, but in this well-known story, he is himself the obstacle, standing between mother and father. It is his head that is removed, and then transformed into a symbol of higher truth. This is the greatest teaching of the story: we are our obstacles. What stands between us and the love and light we seek are our thoughts, our fears, our resentments. To be free, we must replace the thoughts that stand between us and joy with the thoughts of our higher selves, our true wisdom. Only then may we be transformed into all we are capable of becoming.
Only you can remove your obstacles. Only you are the chosen hero of your story. You have the power to transform darkness into light, because darkness is nothing but the shadows of empty thoughts. Trust in your own wisdom, and allow your obstacles to be transformed.