Birth and Parentage of Lord Ganesha
Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 9:58 PM
Lord Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati and one of the most popular Hindu deities. He is god of knowledge and the remover of obstacles. He is also known by many names like Vinayak (knowledgeable) or Vighneshwar (god to remove obstacles) etc. He is worshipped in the beginning of any auspicious work, without appeasing him any prayers, no work can be done, no task can be completed and no project will be successful. He is generally depicted with four hands, elephant's head and a big belly. In his hands he as holds a discus, a club or goad and water-lily. His fourth hand's palm is always extended to bless his devotees.
Lord Ganesha’s huge body represents the Cosmos or Universe and his trunk the Pranava or OM, the symbol of the Brahman. His elephant's head denotes superior intelligence and the snake around his waist represent cosmic energy. The noose is to remind us that worldly attachments are a noose. The rosary beads are for the pursuit of prayer and the broken tusk is symbolic of knowledge as it is with this tusk that he is believed to have acted as the scribe who wrote down the Mahabharata as dictated by the great Sage Ved Vyasa. The sweet in his hand is to remind us of the sweetness of one's inner self. The physical form of Ganesha is corpulent and awkward to teach us that beauty of the outward form has no connection with inner beauty or spiritual perfection. Ganesha, on his vehicle, the mouse, symbolizes the equal importance of the biggest and the smallest of creatures to the Great God.
Birth and Parentage of Lord Ganesha
Explanations of his parentage and the origin of his elephant's head vary. One version relates that Shiva was in the habit of surprising Parvati in her bath. As she disliked this habit one day scraped the scurf from body, mixed it with oils and ointments it into a man's figure, gave it life by sprinkling it with water from the Ganges. She then set Ganesha, outside the bath house door to guard it. When Shiva tried to enter and found his way barred, he cut off Ganesha's head. Lord Shiva also placed elephant’s head on Ganesha's shoulders.
Another version is that Parvati had prayed to Vishnu for a son and that when one was granted to her she was so proud of him that she called together all the gods to admire him. All the gods duly gazed at the beautiful child except Sani (Saturn), who looked down at the ground, for he was under the influence of his wife's curse, which caused any being that he fixed his eyes upon to be burnt to ashes. Parvati, however, thought that her son was immune to such dangers and insisted that Sani look at him and admire. So Sani looked, and Ganesha’s head was burned to ashes. Parvati now turned on Sani and cursed him for having killed her son, so that he became lame. But Brahma comforted Parvati and told her that if the first available head were put on her son's trunk he would be able to restore his life. So 'Vishnu set forth on Garuda and the first creature he saw was an elephant sleeping beside a river. He cut off its head and brought it back to Parvati. Yet another version that makes Parvati creator of Ganesha says that during one of the twilight periods between the ages a number of unworthy people had obtained access to heaven by visiting the shrine of Somnath, with the result that heaven was full to bursting while the hells were empty. lndra and other gods asked Shiva for his help in rectifying this situation. On his advice they approached Parvati, who by rubbing her body produced a being with four arms and an elephant's head who would induce in people a desire for riches so strong they would never think of spending their time in pilgrimage.
Sometimes Shiva is said to have created Ganesha, and again there are several versions of this. One relates that Shiva was approached by the other gods and sages, who had been reflecting on the fact that there was no obstacle to the performance of good or bad deeds; they wished Shiva to create for them a being who would oppose the commission of sins. Shiva pondered for some time on how he could help in this matter and then turned his face to Parvati. As he looked a radiant youth of great beauty and endowed with the qualities of Shiva sprang forth from his dazzling countenance. All the heavenly hosts were amazed and captivated by his beauty. But Parvati was angered and jealous of her husband's son. She cursed him to be ugly, to have a pot-belly and to have an elephant's head. But Shiva countered this curse by declaring that the being whom he had thus created should be called Ganesha, son of Shiva and leader of Shiva's hosts; that success and failure should derive front him; that he should be great among the gods and in all spiritual and worldly affairs; and that he should be invoked first on all occasions, those that did not do so being doomed to failure. All painting are courtesy of Art of Legend India