Gajmukhasur was a demon who was a devotee of Lord Shiva. He prayed and asked Shiva for a boon that no god or human would be able to harm him. Being benevolent, Shiva granted it to him but warned him against its misuse. But Gajmukhasar, being a demon, began killing people and destroying their homes. Seeing this, Shiva sent Ganesha to control him, who then turned Gajmukhasur into a mouse. And that’s how the mouse became Ganesha’s vehicle.
Kubera was a renowned God who was very popular for being the wealthiest of them all in the entire universe. He had a treasure trove of wealth and would hoard everything to himself with pride.
One day, he invited many guests over for dinner, including Shiva and Parvati. But they both could not attend the dinner, so they sent over Ganesha as their representative. Ganesha’s noticed how Kubera’s behavior was and he decided to let his antics loose. He began devouring the dinner speedily and ended up finishing all the food leaving barely anything for the other guests.
Yet his hunger was not satiated. So he ended up entering Kubera’s wealth collection and start eating all the gold and wealthy items. Still unsatisfied, Ganesha then proceeded to eat Kubera himself, who ran to Mount Kailash for protection.
Shiva, seeing the reason behind Ganesha’s doing, offered a simple bowl of cereals to Ganesha. He ate them and immediately was satisfied. Kubera learned not to amass wealth greedily and agreed to distribute it among everyone.
The story shows how greed and pride can be harmful to a person and it is necessary to be considerate towards everyone.
From: First Cry Parenting
Lord Ganesha is called the god of knowledge and wisdom and there is a spectacular story that illustrates why it is so.
Ganesha had a younger brother called as Karthikeya. Both would get along well but, just like all other siblings, they would have moments of arguments and fights. On one such day, Ganesha and Karthikeya both ended up finding a unique fruit in the forest and grabbed it together. They refused to share it with each other and started claiming the fruit for themselves.
When they reached Mount Kailash and presented this predicament to Shiva and Parvati, Shiva made a proposition. He recognized the fruit and said that this fruit is known to grant immortality and extensive knowledge when eaten by the rightful bearer of it. To choose who gets it, Shiva proposed a challenge. He asked Ganesha and Karthikeya to circumvent their world 3 times. Whoever would do so first and return to Mount Kailash, would be the rightful owner of the fruit.
Karthikeya immediately hopped onto his pet peacock and flew speedily to complete three revolutions across the Earth. Ganesha was a little stocky compared to Karthikeya and his pet was a rat who couldn’t fly. Having listened to Shiva’s proposal properly, Ganesha started walking around Shiva and Parvati and completed three circles around them. When asked by Shiva, Ganesha replied that Shiva had asked them to circumvent their world. And for Ganesha, his parents were more than the world. They were the entire universe.
Shiva was touched and impressed by Ganesha’s wisdom and saw him as the rightful owner of the fruit.
Not only does this story give a great example of how using your wisdom can help resolve a situation smartly, but it also teaches that your parents should be given the respect and love they deserve.
From: First Cry Parenting
Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha have many stories together. However, this story goes beyond the relationship between father and son and teaches a very important lesson.
When the elephant head was procured and Ganesha was brought back to life, Shiva heeded Parvati’s wishes and made it a rule that before beginning with any new endeavor, it was necessary to worship Lord Ganesha and get his blessings. However, Shiva forgot that the rule applied to him as well.
On one such occasion, Shiva was heading out to war with the demons and proceeded to take his entire army along with him for it. But in the rush of leaving for the battle, he forgot to worship Ganesha first. This led to them facing many problems even before reaching the battlefield. On the way to the location of the battle, the war-carriage wheel was damaged and the progress came to a halt. This seemed like divine intervention to Shiva and he suddenly remembered that he had totally forgotten to worship Ganesha before heading for battle.
Stopping all his troops, Shiva proceeded to set up the puja then and there and completed the rituals worshiping Ganesha. With Ganesha’s blessings, Shiva proceeded ahead and he and his army were successful in defeating the demons completely.
This just goes to show that no matter who you are, once you have created a rule, it applies to everyone equally.
From: First Cry Parenting
There is a very meaningful story which reveals the way in which this god became the patron of the ganas thus acquiring the title of “Ganesha”.
In the ancient times, Shiva was the single master of all gods, demigods, humans, demons, phantoms, spirits and all other existing beings. But because he was in continuous divine ecstasy (samadhi), it was highly difficult for gods and for the other beings to communicate with him. Whenever they had problems, they had to spend hours singing hymns, praising and praying for Shiva to regain normal state of consciousness. This is why the ganas felt like they needed another leader, who was easier to appeal to. to resolve their problems and protect them in times of need.
They came to Brahma with this issue but he could not resolve it, so he asked for Vishnu’s help in order to convince Shiva to establish a new Ganapati (leader of the ganas). Vishnu suggested they should choose from one of Shiva’s two sons: Kartikeya (also known as Subramaniyam) or Lambodar (Ganesha the fat). In order to find out which of the two deserved the title of Ganesha, all the gods and demi-gods chose to organise a contest.
On the set day, they all came witness the contest, where Vishnu was the judge. Shiva and Parvati were also present, seated in the middle. At the established moment, Vishnu announced the test of the competition. The two competitors had to go around the Universe and the one who would arrive first was to receive the title of Ganesha, master of all ganas.
After the announcement of the test, Kartikeya flew away into space, riding his extremely fast peacock, in order to go around the Universe as quickly as possible. Meanwhile Ganesha remained seated on his rat, without moving from his place. Vishnu, seeing him standing still, told him to hurry.
At Vishnu’s insistence that he should begin the contest immediately, Ganesha smiled and paid homage at the feet of his father and mother, then he humbly saluted all the other gods and demigods, flying away on his rat. They were all astonished when they saw that instead of riding towards cosmic space, Ganesha flew around Shiva and Parvati.
After he rode around Shiva and Shakti, Ganesha returned to the starting point, kneeled before his parents and said: “My task is complete. I have gone round the whole universe.”
“No, you did not!” the gods and demigods exclaimed. “You did not go anywhere. You are lazy”
Ganesha then addressed Vishnu, his hands in a gesture of prayer: “I know you understand the significance of my actions, but in order for the others to understand me as well, I shall say the following. I have completed my task of going round the Universe because all this world of phenomena, names and shapes is nothing other than a manifestation of my Divine Mother and my Divine Father. They are the source of all what exists. I went to the source, which is the Truth, the essence of the whole existence and all phenomena. I know this world is an ocean of relative existence, that it is an illusion that has no sense to renounce the Ultimate Truth in order to go around illusion. My brother is still circling this Universe. When he arrives at the Truth, it will be the same Truth that is Unique and in relation to which all is an illusion, including you and me.”
This statement offered a glimpse of genuine understanding to his listeners who were both astonished and delighted at his wisdom. Applauding his refined judgment and enlightening action, they accepted fat Ganesha as their patron. While Vishnu marked Ganesha’s elephant forehead with the sign of victory (tilak), Kartikeya returned, tired, from his voyage around the world. He got upset and argued against Ganesha’s victory.
The gods then told Kartikeya about his subtlety and wisdom and also said the following: “You went towards matter, which is illusory. You went around the phenomenal world, whose existence is relative and this is why you could not directly perceive the Ultimate Truth. It is the source. The world of phenomena is maya (illusion).” Kartikeya realized he had been fooled by maya and that his rush into the ever changing world of phenomena was in vain. Therefore all his efforts had been pointless for having chased a mirage. Kartikeya had behaved like all the other mortals who take the world of names and shapes for the actual reality, thus being trapped by maya. He accepted his defeat and the one whose wisdom had gone beyond material existence was offered the title of “Ganesha”.
Then Vishnu also decided that from that moment on, all beings should beg for Ganesha’s grace in the beginning of all their actions. Those who invoke him this way shall face no obstacles when accomplishing their beneficent goals and their path will be easy and without difficulties.
Article taken from Yoga Magazine magazine, issue no. 23
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