A really long time ago, there arose in the minds of people the question, “When was the beginning? From where did everything begin?” And then the journey towards Great Knowledge began.
In order to make such Great Knowledge available to all, we are told stories that have meaning and great significance. We never get tired of telling and hearing these stories over an over again as we find something fresh in them each time.
Along the journey, people realised that in order to gain knowledge, we must first give ourselves up to the dictates of wisdom.We, in Bharata, worship wisdom in the form of the adorable Ganesha. Here is the story –
We know that the Himalayas are the greatest mountain range in the world. Here, among the many high peaks, is Mount Kailash where live Lord Shiva and His consort Parvati. Shiva would often leave Parvati and go away to the forests to meditate.
Once, while Parvati was alone like this, she made a doll out of turmeric paste that she was using to smear on her body. This doll was so beautiful that she wanted to make it come alive. She blew her power of creation into it and a chubby little boy stood there! Parvati spent her time playing with the boy, taking care of him and teaching him many things. Years passed…
One day, Parvati told the boy, “Child, I am going to bathe. Guard the house.”
The little boy, a staff in hand, took charge and paced to and fro like a little guard. At this time, Shiva returned on his mount, Nandi, followed by his army, the Bhoota Ganas.
“Stop!” cried the boy, “Do not enter our house!”
“Move out of the way, boy! I need to go inside,” said Shiva, amused at the strange and audacious little boy.
The boy stopped Shiva with his staff. Shiva was taken aback but, not wanting to fight a little boy, called out, “Ganas, take this boy out of the way!”
The troops attacked the boy but, with the speed of lightning, he struck all of them down. Shiva was furious: This strange boy was not allowing him to enter his own house and had also struck his men down. This was too much! When we are angry we are ‘mad’. So it was with Shiva then. He flung his trident at the boy with such force that it carried his head far away.
At this time, Parvati, not knowing what had happened, came out. She was shocked and began crying. “O my child! What has happened to you?”
Shiva was concerned. “Your child?” he asked her.
“Yes,” Parvati cried, “our child – I made him when you were gone. Bring his head back!” But the head was lost.
Nandi nudged Shiva and told, “Lord, let us take the head of some other animal instead.” So, finding an elephant, they asked for its head in return for eternity in the abode of Shiva. The elephant agreed and they took its head to Parvati. She placed it on the little boy’s shoulder and he came back to life.
“Child, I am very proud of you!” said Shiva, “You are very powerful indeed!” Then he pleaded, “Please restore my Ganas!” The elephant headed boy brought them to life with a snap of his little fingers. “From now, you shall be their leader. You are Ganesha, the Lord of the Ganas,” declared Shiva.
Shiva and Ganesha then danced in ecstasy as the world rejoiced.
The elephant-headed Ganesha – brought to life with the powers of Mother Parvati, given the head of a majestic elephant and made the leader of powers that came from Lord Shiva – is none else but wisdom.
Whatever we do, let Ganesha – the wisdom in us – guide us in the right path.
How can Parvati create a living being from turmeric? Who actually are the Bhoota Ganas? Why did the elephant have to lose its head? How can somebody without a head be brought back to life? Can you think of answers to these questions? Watch this page for more…