The science behind the idol of Lord Ganesh is given in the 'Shriganapatyatharvashîríha' as 'Ekadantam, Chaturhastam ....', meaning one who has only one tooth (ekadanta), four hands (chaturbhuj), adorns a noose (pâsh) and a goad (ankush), holds a (broken) tooth in one hand and holds the other hand in a posture bestowing blessings (varadmudra), whose flag bears the symbol of a mouse, who has a red complexion, a large abdomen (lambodar), whose ears are like sifting pans, who adorns red clothes, whose body is smeared with a paste of red sandalwood (raktachandan) and who is worshipped with red flowers.
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Idols made of Plaster of Paris
One should prepare the Ganesh idol from china clay or mud. Nowadays, idols are made from plaster of Paris so that they become light weight and more attractive. There is a difference between idols made from mud and plaster of Paris. There are references in the Purâns (Mythological texts) that Ganapati was created from grime. Hence it is appropriate to use a Ganesh idol made of mud for ritualistic worship. The pure spiritual particles (pavitraks) of Ganapati get attracted to a greater extent towards an idol made of mud than to that made of plaster of Paris.
The following points shall illustrate how it is improper as well as harmful to make idols from plaster of Paris or from substances other than china clay.
A. Plaster of Paris does not dissolve easily in water and hence the idol floats on water after immersion. Sometimes in cities, the remains of idols which have not dissolved in water for a long period are collected and a bulldozer is run over them to convert them into mud. This amounts to extreme denigration of the deity. The deity should be offered the same reverence when immersing it as when it is invoked. Since the idol is not immersed properly, in a way it amounts to dishonouring the deity.
See the shocking Picture: Bulldozers collecting parts of Ganesh idols made up of Plaster of Paris one day after Immersion. Will Lord ever bless the devotee (?) doing worship that hurts Lord himself and results in extreme insult? The image is on BBC's website. Click here and see 'Seventh' Image: Image
B. Mixing of the plaster of Paris in water pollutes the river, sea, lake, etc. and can have an adverse effect on the health of living beings.
Ganesh Idol made up of 10,001 Shells
C. Nowadays a wrong trend has set in whereby idols are even made from coconuts, bananas, betulnut, silver, coins, etc. Some of these objects do not dissolve in water after immersion of the idol. The remains of such idols are used for other purposes or as toys by children.
Note: Commentry is in Marathi.
Description: Why should we make idols according to science and avoid very huge Lord Ganesh idols, idols prepared in weird forms and attires and from non-traditional items like bottles, food grains etc.
Note: Commentry is in Marathi.
Description: What is the science about preparing Lord Ganesh idols and material used to prepare it? Disadvantages of huge idols. What should be the attitude of Sculptor while preparing Lord Ganesh idols?