Vaakra-Tunda Mahakaya, Surya-Kotti Samaprabaha!
Nir-Vighnam Kuru Main Deva!
“O Great Lord With Curved Trunk and Colossal Form!
O Radiant One, Encompassing the Brilliance of Ten-Million Suns!
I Pray You O Lord, To Remove All Obstacles From My Path!
Always, And In Each Of My Ventures!
Revered as the Ganapati (Lord of the Followers), and worshiped as the Pratham Pujaniya (The First To Be Worshiped), Lord Ganesha is considered to be the foremost of all the Gods.
Lord Ganesha is the Son of nonother than the Lord of Destruction Shiva himself, and his Divine Partner Goddess Parvati, the Goddess of Power, Strength and the Holy Mother of everything that is Feminine.
A quick glance at the image of Lord Ganesha is enough to notice that his head is shaped like that of an elephant. One would be surprised to know that at the time of His creation, his form was that of a ‘normal boy’. The story of how Lord Ganesha came to have the head of an Elephant is quite an intriguing story.
According to legends, Goddess Parvati created Lord Ganesha out of clay. She then entrusted him to watch over the gate that leads to her inner chambers, where she went to have a bath. Lord Ganesha began his watch and it was during that time that Lord Shiva came to visit the Goddess.
The God of Destruction was oblivious to the existence of Ganesha, and when stopped by the Child, Lord Shiva became extremely angry. He somehow controlled his anger and went back. However, the Lord sent his ever vigil attendants to find out who the Child was, and why he stopped Lord Shiva from entering Goddess Parvati’s chambers.
The attendants came and were stopped by Lord Ganesha, and this eventually led to a fight. Lord Ganesha was powerful beyond measure and the fight proved disastrous for Lord Siva’s attendants. Seeing the hallowed and revered attendants of Lord Shiva suffer in such a way, the Gods joined the fight and Lord Ganesha took them all, single-handedly.
Watching this fight which took the shape of terror, and shook the entire Universe, the Creator of the Universe Lord Brahma himself came down to control the situation. He asked Ganesha to make way for Lord Shiva and step aside from the gate. However, Lord Ganesha did not move even a step and said that his mother asked him to guard the place.
Till then everyone was unaware that Lord Ganesha was the son of Goddess Parvati. Lord Brahma after being refused by Lord Ganesha took up arms and a fierce fight broke out. It did not take Lord Brahma long to understand that the little child was more than a match for him. All of Lord Brahma’s divine weapons were not only matched by Lord Ganesha, but they actually proved to be impotent in front of Ganesha.
On seeing Brahma’s plight, there appeared the Lord of Sustenance, Vishnu himself. Lord Vishnu’s situation did not turn out to be much different than what Lord Brahma had witnessed, and it was when Lord Vishnu started to lose the fight that Lord Shiva appeared with all his anger and threw his divine weapon, the Trident (Trishul) which immediately severed the head of Lord Ganesha.
When Goddess Parvati came to know what happened, her anger knew no bounds and she threatened to end the Universe that very instant if her son was not given his life back. The situation took an extremely grim shape as Ganesha could not be brought back alive even by Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu as his head was severed by the Trident of Lord Shiva.
Finally, Lord Shiva came up with a solution and asked the Gods to bring the head of the first being they find, within a stipulated time, and with a strict set of instructions. The Gods set out on their journey and found a baby elephant, they came back with its head and Lord Shiva placed the elephant head on the severed neck of Ganesha, immediately bringing him to life. Thus, Lord Ganesha came to have an elephant head and his existence was acknowledged by everyone.
Lord Ganesha is signified with wisdom, wit, strength, and auspiciousness. He is considered as the remover of obstacles and the symbol of purity and justice. Even his ride, which is a rat, has a very interesting past, and the way he came to become Lord Ganesha’s ride is quite a story on its own.
Lord Ganesha is considered as the harbinger of wealth, prosperity, and happiness. For this reason, devotees place his statue or hang his picture at the entrance of their homes. There are countless hymns that sign his praise and a whole spread of Mantras that identifies with him. In this world full of confusion and delusions, Lord Ganesha is worshiped as the giver of clarity and rationality.
Lord Ganesha is called by more than a thousand different names, Vighnharta (Remover of Obstacles), Ekdant (One-Toothed), Vinayaka, and Ganapati (Lord of the Followers) being a few of them. The name Ganesha has been etched in traditional cultures and languages. Known as the Pillai in Tamil, Lord Ganesha is worshiped by even foreign cultures like Singhalese( Sri Lankan), Traditional Buddhism, Jainism, and Indonesian cultures as well. The Ganesh Chaturthi festival is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is celebrated throughout the nook and corner of India and countries like the USA, UK, Mauritius, and France.
While devotes often worship Lord Ganesha by offering him Ladoos (Traditional Indian Sweet Balls), it is believed that the true offering to Lord Ganesha is a virtuous life, lived in accordance to one’s Dharma (the right way of living).