There are many completists around us who have the hobby of collecting in a highly organised manner, having each and every detail carefully cataloged, and attractively displayed. While there are common collections like coins and stamps, some people do have pursuits which take them across the world. One such passionate collector is Aditya Prakash whose hobby is to collect unique and rare Ganesha idols.
His passion has driven him to collect idols from countries like USA, UK, China, Cambodia, Java and others. Having a collection of more than 2000 Ganesh idols and paintings, Aditya has displayed them at his trust, Sri Sadguru Seva Trust, of which he is the managing trustee.
When City Express interacted with Aditya, he spoke at length about his collections, his passion and also narrated some instances that drove him to start collecting the idols and paintings. “I started collecting idols of Ganesha in 1993. As I was a governing council member of All India Federation of Master Printers, I got an opportunity to travel across the country and the globe. In my free time during these trips, I researched about the conceptualisation of Lord Ganesha in other countries.”
According to Aditya, the concept of Ganapathi idol portrayed in each country holds its own significance. He says, “For instance, the Japanese paintings depicted the twin Ganapathi, while the Persian paintings illustrated Ganapathi as a guard, a Sri Lankan painting portrayed Ganesha in Tretayuga where the artist imagines peacock to be the vehicle of the Lord.”
Ganesha idols of different metals like bronze, silver, wood, stones, and areca nuts can be found in his collection. Many idols represented the Lord relaxing under a tree.
Some of the Ganesha idols were with his parents Shiva and Parvathi, some with musical instruments, some in which he is slaying the evil with a trishul, some in which he is dancing. Some idols of Ganesha also depicted the nine avatars of Vishnu and narrated the mythological stories about the Lord. Besides these, there were also some idols where the artist experimented to give Ganesha a modern outlook with goggles and a cane in hand, while another had Ganesha in a lawyer’s attire.
“Through these collections I want to show Indians that our Indian culture is not only limited to the country but is followed in different parts of the world. According to me, Lord Ganesha is not just marginalised to one religion or one culture or a community but belongs to the people across the globe.”
Revealing his personal favourite from his collection, he says, “There are many. But, once when I visited Sri Lanka, I was attracted to an idol made out of ivory. The Lord was relaxing in a boat with four humans sailing the boat. The artist had designed it intricately bringing out the cultural values of the society, while keeping the traditional values in mind.”
Aditya has many instances to quote; some about the miracles that made his belief in the God stronger. “In 2007, I wanted to buy a printing machine worth Rs 4.35 crore. I just had Rs 2.5 crore and could not afford to buy it. I prayed to God to give me the capacity to buy it. In 2009, I found that the particular machine was left unsold and I could buy it for Rs 2.5 crore,” stated Aditya. When asked about his future plans regarding his collection, he said, “My quest for collection will never end. I am also planning to research more about the history of the Lord and the shastras associated with him.”