Magh Shuddha Shasthi
USA: Internationally renowned Portland Art Museum has assured the Hindus to display its newly acquired prestigious 11th century Lord Ganesha sculpture with "due reverence".
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who met Dr. Maribeth Graybill, Curator of Asian Art of the Museum, in a statement today, said that Museum agreed to put it on a raised platform about three feet above the ground with a "do not touch" sign and a vigilance camera over it to make sure visitors did not disrespect Lord Ganesha in any way. Museum was building a special arch to provide a background to the sculpture, which is scheduled to be unveiled on February 14.
In an earlier statement, Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that the community was glad over this new valuable acquisition, but just wanted the Museum officials to be more respectful while arranging its display as Lord Ganesha was worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.
This over 500 pound stone stele of Lord Ganesha acquired by the Museum, made in northeastern India, shows him in seated in rajalilasana. This Museum already owns a 12th century bronze sculpture Shiva Nataraja from Tamil Nadu in India besides a set of 18th century Jodhpur style Ramayana paintings.
Graybill told Zed that to mark the unveiling of Lord Ganesha statue, the Museum was planning to display huge pooja pictures from major Hindu temples of India; video displays of Hindu ceremonies; miniatures folk images of Lord Ganesha in ivory, silver, and copper; educational programs to learn Hindu and Indian culture; textiles; Hindu story telling; and music and dance performances displaying Hindu culture. Specially created pendants with Lord Ganesha image would be on sale in the Museum shop to mark the occasion.
Graywill further said that Lord Ganesha was very important for Portland and she hoped that it would bring good fortune to it. She told Zed that the Museum's focus on Lord Ganesha was because of him "very universal and accessible". Museum was planning a "Gallery of Sacred Art" containing Hindu, Jain and Buddhist art pieces. She stressed that museums worldwide should focus on India and China, as these would be the dominant cultures of 21st century. She is asking for gifts to enrich the Hindu collections of the Museum.
Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged other major museums of the world to organize exhibitions of Hindu art, sculptures, and architecture to make aware the present and future generations about their richness.
Founded in 1892 and oldest on the West Coast of USA, Portland Art Museum is internationally recognized for its permanent collection of about 42, 000 objects and the world's finest public and private collections, and receives around 350,000 visitors annually.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.