Standing atop the sky-touching Mount Kailasa, the celestial couple looked all around. Marvellous! White clouds, scattered, were flowing swiftly in the sky below. Tiny streams of waterfalls zigzagged through the rock-hills. The white silk-threads of water-flows from many sides commingled at junctions and formed into cascades. The bright and gold-melted rays of the sun glittered and flashed over the ice-blocks, streams and cascades. Eagles and hawks flew through the air below in circles. They looked like boats without oars in the blue ocean of sky as they did not flutter their wings. How could they fly in such perfect circles without moving their wings? – wondered Parvati. Cool and vibrant breezes blowing from all around were permeated with the sweet aroma of sandal wood and musk. Deep down, beyond the layers of ice islands were thick forests in blocks of sapphire mines. The tall trees that spread soothing shade, the meadows that unfurled green carpets, the sylvan pools that contained red and white lotuses and lilies blooming afresh and swaying in the wind, the singing birds, and the wild and gentle animals – all seemed to be beckoning them with warm greetings of love, platonic and immortal.
Parvati cast a coy and tender look at her Lord. Shiva grasped her lotus-petal palms.
They instantly transformed themselves into a tusker and a she elephant. As they were amidst the dense and thick forest they looked at each other in wonderment.
The tusker plucked wild flowers and adorned them on both her ears. He pulled clusters of sugar canes and fed her. He waved the bees off and plucked the honey comb and thrust it into her mouth. They stood under the waterfall and enjoyed a long and cheerful bath.
They rolled over side by side in the mud and again went under the waterfall. Crows and sparrows perched on their backs and pecked small insects.
At the most auspicious moment, when all the planets were positioned in their respective places, a cherub was born. An elephant headed and pot-bellied boy with four hands, he sparkled like a thousand suns shining together. Shiva and Parvati took to their own selves. Hearing the divine message of the new arrival, all the seven great saints, Narada, the four saints like Sanaka etc. followed by Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, manifested at the valley of the Himalaya to observe and bless the boy. Taking the boy and pressing him against his chest, Lord Vishnu said: “You will be equal to me in strength and valour.” “You will be immortal and be worshipped all over the world”, blessed Lord Brahma.“May you be worshipped as the mascot of success and opulence!” blessed Goddess Lakshmi, wife of Vishnu and Goddess of all riches and fame.“May you be the beacon in all households that worship you!” blessed Indra.
“May all obstacles and obstructions vanish from the life and path of your devotees! May you be known as Vigneswara!” blessed Narada.
Lord Shiva appointed the boy as the chief of his Bhuthagana (the group of his lieutenants).Hence he became Ganesh. Lord Ganesh is the embodiment of purity, wisdom, steadfastness, courage and valour. He is worshipped as the mascot of success, prosperity and fortune throughout Bharat and abroad. Lord Ganesh is also known as Ganapati, Gajamukha, Vinayaka and Vigneswara.
Ganapati as Vigneswara is worshipped by all including the gods, for; He is the preventer and eliminator of all Vignas, obstacles or obstructions. He is offered the Agra Puja or first worship in all Pujas, Yagnas or rituals of prime importance.
In many parts of Bharat Ganesotsav is celebrated with pomp and show. But Tamilnadu and Maharashtra celebrate it as a gala function. Lakhs of Ganesh idols are manufactured, worshipped and later immersed in the holy rivers or the sea. The Elephant God whose chariot is a mouse is one of the commonest memories for anything related to Hinduism. This shows his importance and mass worship and the position he occupies in the hearts of the public. His choosing of a rat, a small creature as his vehicle, shows his humility and his universal love.
KK Shanmukhan (The writer can be contacted at [email protected] )