Part animal and part intellectual, an image found in virtually every Indian home, Ganesa, the elephant-headed god, is one of the most important and popular gods throughout India and Hindu Southeast Asia. In this, the first comprehensive, full-length study of Ganesa, Courtright covers not merely the mythology but also the ritual, the political uses, and the modern as well as the Vedic manifestations of the god. The book begins with a consideration of the various myths of Ganesa, stories of his birth, his beheading by his father Siva, and his subsequent restoration as the lord who gives, or withholds, success in undertakings. In the end, the author turns to the role Ganesa has played in recent Indian history as the patron deity of some formulations of neotraditionalist values and ideology. Throughout the book, Courtright portrays both the complexity of the deity's many roles and stories and the integrated manner in which they come together. Excerpt from the Preface by Wendy O'Flaherty: "Ganesa has everything that is fascinating to anyone who is interested in religion or India or both: charm, mystery, popularity, sexual problems, moral ambivalence, political importance, the works. One can start from Ganesa and work from there in an unbroken line to almost any aspect of Indian culture."Courtright, Paul B. is the author of 'Ganesa Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings' with ISBN 9780195057423 and ISBN 0195057422.