For a young mind, an elephant riding a mouse might have defied logic and reason. This interesting premise is but a common feature of our daily lives where we spot the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha using a mouse as his vehicle. Typically, this avatar assumes centrestage in the city during Ganesh Chaturthi.
It’s not only Ganesha but also several other Hindu deities who use birds and animals (demigods themselves) as their vehicles. Children between six to 10 years will be introduced and taught the reason behind these symbols at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya’s (CSMVS) workshop Vahana - The Vehicle of Gods. The workshop will be conducted by the Museum’s Education Officer Bilwa Kulkarni and will take children through a tour of the sculptures exhibited in the Museum and also the Natural History section, due to the birds and animals connect.
“The mouse is a symbol of wisdom and talent, minute investigation of things and also ignorance. It is able to slip unobserved or without our knowledge into places unknown. When Ganesha rides the mouse, he conquers all these aspects and also guides the ignorance to the light of knowledge. Like the mouse or the mushak, several Indian gods in mythology are known to have birds and animals as their vehicles or vahanas. The ancient Hindu sculptural tradition is mostly mythological. Hence through this workshop we will cover topics of mythology, traditional Indian sculptures, and also natural history,” shares Kulkarni. At the end of the workshop, children can design their vehicle, based on their understanding.