Thursday, 26 November 2020
Ganesha, the god with an elephant head, is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon. He is revered as the god of beginnings, the remover of obstacles and the patron of arts and sciences and the god of intellect and wisdom. I talked about the reason why in my post „Elephant memory„.
Ganesha may have emerged as a deity as early as the 1st century BCE, but most certainly by the 4th and 5th centuries CE, during the Gupta period…
There are many legends abut Ganesha. But interestingly, most of these stories concentrate on three things: his birth, his elephant head, and his single tusk.
In this article I would like to talk about these legends and would try to extract from them data that will help us to understand who this god really is…
While Ganesha is popularly considered to be the son of Shiva and Parvati, the Puranic myths relate several different versions of his birth. These include versions in which he is created by Shiva, by Parvati, by Shiva and Parvati, or in some other manner and is later discovered by Shiva and Parvati.
The most well-known Ganesha creation story is probably the one taken from the Shiva Purana.
The goddess Parvati had started preparing for a bath. As she didn’t want to be disturbed during her bath and since Nandi (Bull servant of Shiva) was not at Kailash to keep guard of the door, Parvati took the turmeric paste (for bathing) from her body and made a form of a boy and breathed life into him. This boy was instructed by Parvati to guard the door and to not let anyone in until she finished her bath.
After Shiva had come out of his meditation, he wanted to go and see Parvati but found himself being stopped by this strange boy. Shiva tried to reason with the boy saying that he was Parvati’s husband but the boy did not listen and was determined to not let Shiva enter until his mother Parvati finished her bath. The „usually peaceful“ Shiva who was „desperate“ to „see“ Parvati got so mad with the boy that his „divine fury“ severed the boy’s head with his Trishul thereby killing him instantly.