Ganesh Chaturthi : Six Interesting stories of Ganesha
Ganesh Chaturthi : Six Interesting stories of Ganesha
Every year, Hindus across the country celebrate the birth of their beloved elephant-headed God Ganesh in the fourth day of Bhadrapada month of the Hindu calendar. Revered as the remover of all obstacles, countless songs, stories and imagery celebrate him as one of the most popular deities in Hindu mythology. But there are some really interesting stories associated with the Lord on the eve of Ganesh Chathurthi let us revisit these stories of Ganesha.
Story of his Birth
Two different stories revolve around Ganesha’s birth. One story says that Goddess Parvati created Lord Ganesha out of dirt off her body when she was bathing and set him to guard her door until she finished. During that time, Ganesha was not aware of Shiva who went out. So, when Shiva returned, Ganesha stopped him from entering. There emerged a fight between the two and Shiva in a fit of rage severed the head of Ganesha. Looking at this, Parvati got furious, and Shiva promised Ganesha will live again. The lords went out in search of a head facing north of a dead person, but could only manage the head of an elephant. Shiva had no other option but to fix the elephant’s head and bring Ganesha back to life.
The other legend says that Ganesha was created by Shiva and Parvati, on the request of Devas. The Devas wanted Ganesha to be a vighnakartaa (obstacle-creator) in the path of rakshasas (and a vighnahartaa (obstacle-averter) to help the Devas.
The story behind the Mouse as his vehicle
There are two stories for being the tiny mouse being the vehicle of Ganesha –
In ancient times, when agriculture was the primary mode of sustenance, rodents were one of the biggest obstacles to prosperity–as they are for farmers even today. Destroying crops, eating stored grains are all in a day’s work for a rodent. Lord Ganesha, in having a mouse/rat as his vehicle, is symbolically shown to have conquered this pest, thus staying true to his name and work as the destroyer of obstacles, according to biodiversity of inidia.
According to another story Lord Ganesha was able to reach all the nooks and crannies of the world–and do his duty as the destroyer of obstacles–because his vehicle was a mouse–because mice/rats can slither through tiny holes and narrow pathways.
Story behind Ganesha becoming the Writer
It is said that Ganesha wrote the Mahabharata, as it was recited to him by sage Vyasa (Veda Vyasa). But this was done on the condition that Vyasa would not stop while reciting the epic and that Ganesha would not stop while writing, besides the condition that Ganesha would not merely write it, but also understand every verse of it. Popular legends say that it took both of them three years of continuous speaking and writing to complete the epic.
Story behind his half-tusk
If you’ve ever noticed the idol of Lord Ganesha carefully, you’d have noticed the broken tusk. As legend goes, when Ganesha was writing the Mahabharata, the feather he was writing with broke. So, to stick to the condition of writing continuously, Ganesha broke his tusk and wrote with it.
Another story is that one day, as Ganesh was guarding his father who was in one of his deep meditations, a family friend came to visit. It was Parashurama an incarnation of Vishnu who is known for his serious temper. Ganesh was a little perplexed because he was told to not let anyone disturb his father in meditation, however here was a serious VIP in the house. Unable to disobey a direct order from his father he blocked Parashurama’s way, and as a result Parashurama lost his temper and threw an axe at Ganesh. Ganesh knowing that the axe was a gift from his father allowed the axe to hit him out of respect.
Story behind the Curse of Moon
Ganesha loved sweets a lot. One day Ganesha was so happy he sat and ate till his stomach was full. Then he got up, gathered the remaining sweets and started slowly towards home on his vehicle- a tiny mouse. The mouse couldn’t bear his weight and it tripped which led to Ganesha falling off and the sweets scattering everywhere. Ganesha was embarrassed and he quickly got up and gathered all the sweets, looking around to see if anyone had seen him fall. The moon, in the sky who saw all this, started laughing as he found it really funny. He was proud about his own handsome feature and had always found Ganesha’s pot belly very funny. Seeing him laugh filled Ganesha with anger. He called the moon vain and cursed him that anyone who looks at the moon on Chaturthi will be wrongly blamed. The moon realised his mistake and begged Ganesha to remove the curse. Seeing this Ganesha softened and forgave the moon. He told the moon that he couldn’t remove the curse but he would reduce its impact. Anyone who looked at the moon on Chaturthi could redeem themselves by looking at the moon on the second day of fortnight and listening to stories of Krishna or Syamantaka gem.
The story behind the ‘Patri’ Pooja
There are two stories behind the ‘Garika’ or ‘Patri’ pooja for Ganesha on Vinayaka Chavithi –
Yamadharmaraju had a son by name Analasurudu, with fire as primary character. He went around fighting with devatas and thus Indra approaches Ganapthi for help. Like his father Shiva who swallowed “halahalam”, Ganesha swallows Analasura. Analasura starts creating fire in the stomach and devatas try to cool Ganesha by covering with lotus leaves and spary amrit, but no relief. Then they approach the primordial god Shiva, who suggest them to cover Ganesha with 21 garika twigs and the result was instant.
Another story is – Shiva and Parvati were playing chess and as a witness they create a boy made of garika. He would always take side of Shiva and out of anger Parvati curses him that he would become blind. On prayer, mother suggests the panacea that during the forthcoming Bhadrapada shudha chaviti nagakanyas come to Kailash for prayers during which time you take upadesham and get relieved from the curse.