Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the important Hindu festivals celebratedthroughout India with a great devotion. This day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesh is the symbol of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
There are many stories associated with Lord Ganesh’s life, let me narrate you some.
Firstly how did Lord Ganesh get an elephant head?
Once Goddess Parvati felt the longing for a son. As she was cursed that she wouldn’t be able to give birth, she sculpted a handsome boy out of sandalwood paste. Then she put life into him. The sculpture came to life. Parvati was overjoyed. Ganesh said to his mother, ‘Mother, I await your command. What is your bidding?’ Parvati told him to guard the entrance to her room and not let anybody enter as she wished to take a bath and did not want to be disturbed. Ganesh obediently stood guard. After sometime, Shiva came there with his Ganas and asked to be let in. But Ganesh would not budge. Shiva told him that he was Parvati’s husband and he had the right to enter her room when he wished to. But Ganesh said, ‘No. My mother has ordered me not to let anybody inside. I don’t care whoever you may be.’ Shiva got enraged. His Ganas tried coaxing Ganesh but to no avail. Then Shiva ordered his Ganas to use force. Parvati was full of rage and from her anger, she created forms like Kali and Durga to help her son fight the Ganas. Thus they were quickly outnumbered. Then Shiva decided to take matters into his own hands. He hurled his Trishul with so much force at Ganesh’s neck that his head separated from his body and could not be found. Now, nobody could pacify Parvati. Everybody was afraid she would burn the whole universe with her rage. All the demigods pleaded to Shiva to find a solution to this predicament. Shiva suggested the demigods to travel north and bring him the head of the first living creature they saw. But the first living creature the demigods saw was an elephant. So they brought Shiva its head and he joined it to Ganesh’s corpse and breathed life into him. That’s the story of how Ganesh got his elephant head.
Ganesh and Chandra
On Ganesh Chaturthi, Ganesh was returning home on his mouse, Mooshik, from his devotees’ homes after his fill of delicious modaks. Just then, Mooshik saw a snake in his way. He got afraid and scurried from under Ganesh. So, Ganesh fell down with a thud on the ground. Chandra, the Moon God, who was watching all this started laughing on Ganesh. Ganesh wouldn’t stand anybody laughing on him, so he broke off one of his tusks and hurled it at Chandra and cursed him that he would no longer be seen in the sky. Chandra immediately disappeared from the night sky and the world was shrouded in darkness. Children looking at the moon started crying because it had disappeared. Taking pity on mankind, Ganesh modified his curse, that Chandra would waxe and wane as every fortnight went by. That’s why the moon waxes and wanes.
Ganesh and the old woman
Once there was a blind poor old woman who was an ardent devotee of Lord Ganesh and always wished for a grandson. So, Ganesh appeared before her and granted her a wish. Now, the old woman wanted three things but she had only one wish. So she requested Ganesh to come back the next day. When Ganesh appeared before her the next day, the old woman said, ‘Lord, give me the boon of seeing my grandson fed in a golden plate.’ Ganesh said, ‘You have wished cleverly. The boon is yours.’
Ganesh and Kuber
Once, Kuber, the Lord of Wealth invited Shiva, Parvati and Ganesh to his palace for a feast. Now Kuber was very proud of his wealth. So Ganesh decided to teach him a lesson. He inaugurated the feast. He went on eating and eating. His hunger would not be satiated. Kuber ordered his servants to bring food from his subjects. But Ganesh just would not stop eating. When all the food was over, he started eating the furniture in Kuber’s palace. Perplexed, Kuber ran to Shiva and Parvati for help. Parvati suggested that Kuber give Ganesh a tulsi leaf. That would satiate his hunger. Kuber learned his lesson.