Why Mouse is the Vahana of Ganesha?

 In Hinduism, Mythology

The gods and goddesses in Hindu mythology travel in supersonic speed on animals and birds. Different gods have different vahanas (animal vehicles). The literal meaning of the word ‘vahana’ is ‘that which carries, that which pulls’, But lord Ganesha has a tiny mouse as ‘Vahana’ which made him butt of many jokes of elephant riding a mouse, but how did a tiny mouse become the Vahana of the Ganesha is an interesting story – read on :

Origin

Accroding to the Archeologists and Historians the earliest Ganesha images are without a vahana of the eight incarnations of Ganesha described in the Mudgala Purana,-  Ganesha has a mouse(shrew) in five of them, uses a lion in his incarnation as Vakratunda, a peacock in his incarnation of Vikata, and Shesha, the divine serpent, in his incarnation as Vighnaraja Of the four incarnations of Ganesha listed in the Ganesha Purana, Mohotkata has a lion, Mayūreśvara has a peacock, Dhumraketu has a horse, and Gajanana has a mouse.

Even Jain depictions of Ganesha show his vahana variously as a mouse, elephant, tortoise, ram, or peacock.

The mention of the mouse as Ganesha’s mount appears first in the Matsya Purana and later in the Brahmananda Purana and Ganesha Purana.  Ganesha is shown riding on or attended by a mouse, began to appear as the principal vehicle in sculptures of Ganesha in central and western India during the 7th century and was always placed close to his feet. The Ganapati Atharvashirsa includes a meditation verse on Ganesha that describes the mouse appearing on his flag.

Mythology

According to Ganesha Purana, there was a celestial musician-god named Krauncha. He accidentally stepped on the foot of Muni Vamadeva who cursed him to become a mouse. However, after he recovered his temper he promised Krauncha that one day the gods themselves would bow down before him. The giant mouse damaged everything that came in its path. The prophecy was fulfilled when the mouse became the vahana of Ganesha.

Once, when Lord Ganesha was invited to Maharishi Parashar’s ashrama. Krauncha ended up stepping on the ashram and destroyed it. Lord Ganesha decided to meet the giant mouse and teach him a lesson. He unleashed one of his weapons called ‘pasha’ which ended up looping around Krauncha’s neck and brought him to Ganesha’s feet. Kroncha asked for forgiveness and asked Ganesha to accept him as his vehicle. However, Krauncha couldn’t bear the weight of Lord Ganesha and he requested him to become light-weight which is bearable. Since then the mouse is the vehicle of Lord Ganesha.

Another belief is that Lord Ganesha is able to go into nooks and corners of the world and do his job as the Destroyer of Obstacles because his vehicle is a mouse, who basically can slither through tiny holes and narrow pathways, even in the darkness of night. This gives the quality of all-pervasiveness to Ganesha.

Science behind the Vahana

Lord Ganesha is known as the Conqueror of Obstacles (Vighnaharta). In ancient times, when agriculture was the primary mode of sustenance, rodents were one of the biggest obstacles to prosperity. Rodents would destroy standing crops, eat up stored grains and thereby result in severe losses for the common man. Lord Ganesha, in having a mouse/rat as his vehicle, is symbolically shown to have conquered this pest, thus staying true to his name of Vighnaharta.

Another belief is that Lord Ganesha is able to go into nooks and corners of the world and do his job as the Destroyer of Obstacles because his vehicle is a mouse, who basically can slither through tiny holes and narrow pathways, even in the darkness of night. This gives the quality of all-pervasiveness to Ganesha.

Another popular view is that – Elephant has immense strength and can physically move and remove objects that no human can. The Mouse symbolizes the human mind – running helter skelter up and down here and there, Not being still for a moment. The mouse is also destructive and will gnaw and tear up things for no reason. Just like angry humans do. It takes an elephant size intellect to reign it in and direct it in the direction of spiritual enlightenment. When embarking on an important undertaking we first do Sankalpa, in which we envision the project we wish to create. We then pray to Sri Ganesha, to show us, through our own intellect how to proceed and present us with the needed information to overcome any obstacles in our path. But our human minds are fickle like the little mouse, and soon we are thinking about all sorts of other things than what our task ahead should be. So it takes focus, determination, dedication and an elephant sized concentration for us to forge ahead and not deviate from our chosen path.

Must read Ganesh Chaturthi : Six Interesting stories of Ganesha

Must read The Coast of Ganesha: Six temples of Coastal Karnataka

Recommended Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Start typing and press Enter to search