Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about one of the most influential dieties in Hinduism, Ganesha.
In the sixty second episode of The Simpsons, Homer the Heretic (Season 04, Episode 03), Homer decides he doesn’t want to go to church on a very cold winter Sunday, much to Marge’s chagrin. Homer has a phenomenal day alone wherein he cranks up the heat, dances in his underwear, makes his patented space-age out of this world moon waffles, wins a radio trivia contest, watches a boring debate on TV be replaced by an action-packed football game, and finds a lucky penny under the couch.
Meanwhile Marge and the kids experience a very frigid day, wherein the church furnace is not working, the doors to the church freeze shut, and Marge’s car doesn’t start due to the cold.
Homer has such a wonderful day that he decides he is not going to go to church at all. While Marge prays for Homer at bedtime, Homer falls asleep and has a dream involving God. While God is initially upset with Homer for foregoing church, Homer reasons with God in his dream and feels he has God’s seal of approval to skip church.
Homer then becomes critical of other peoples religion, include Moe’s, Krusty’s, and Apu’s. He even makes fun of Apu’s God Ganesha in the following exchange:
Homer: “Hey Apu, why are you not in church?”
Apu: “Oh, but I am in church! I have built a small shrine to Ganesha, the Hindu god of wisdom, located in the employee’s lounge.”
Homer: “Hey Ganesha, want a peanut?”
Apu: “Please do not offer my god a peanut.”
But when Homer stays home one Sunday and accidentally sets the house on fire, everyone (including Homer) believes there is a message from God in the fire.
And those who come to save Homer from the fire included those from religions Homer ridiculed or neglected.
Homer: “You know, I have a feeling there’s a lesson here.”
Marge: “Yes, the lesson is…”
Homer: “No don’t tell me! I’ll get it. The Lord is vengeful. Oh, spiteful one! Show me who to smite, and they shall be smoten!”
Ned: “Homer, God didn’t set your house on fire.”
Lovejoy: “No, but He was working in the hearts of your friends and neighbors when they went to your aid.”
Lovejoy pointing out Ned Flanders: “Be they Christian…”
Lovejoy pointing out Krusty: “Jew or…”
Lovejoy pointing out Apu: “…miscellaneous.”
Apu: “Hindu! There are 700 million of us.”
But have you ever wondered who Ganesha is?
As per the Encyclopedia Britannica, Ganesha, the Hindu deity, also spelled Ganesh, also called Ganapati, elephant-headed Hindu god of beginnings, who is traditionally worshipped before any major enterprise and is the patron of intellectuals, bankers, scribes, and authors.
His name means both “Lord of the People” (gana means the common people) and “Lord of the Ganas” (Ganesha is the chief of the ganas, the goblin hosts of Shiva). Ganesha is potbellied and generally depicted as holding in his hand a few round Indian sweets, of which he is inordinately fond. His vehicle (vahana) is the large Indian bandicoot rat, which symbolizes Ganesha’s ability to overcome anything to get what he wants. Like a rat and like an elephant, Ganesha is a remover of obstacles. The 10-day late-summer (August–September) festival Ganesh Chaturthi is devoted to him.
Many different stories are told about the birth of Ganesha, including one in which Parvati makes her son out of a piece of cloth and asks her consort, Shiva, to bring him to life.
We have an Apu task in our games in which Apu prays to Ganesh.
Now that we’ve learned more about Ganesha, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
Did you remember the episode? What’s your favourite religious themed episode of The Simpsons? Were you familiar with Ganesha? Do you send Apu on his task to pray to Ganesha? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.