Friday, February 14, 2020

Yet More Stories of Ganesha

This is my final set of Ganesha microfictions! You can see the earlier Ganesha stories and More Ganesha stories.

13. Ganesha and the Moon

Ganesha returned home after Kubera's feast, riding his mouse.
The mouse jumped when it saw a snake, and Ganesha fell off. His stomach split open, spilling food onto the ground.
Ganesha then grabbed the snake to use as a belt while he stuffed the food back into his stomach.
The moon, meanwhile, was watching and chuckled. "You look funny!" he said.
Ganesha angrily cursed the moon. "Disappear into darkness!"
The moon begged for mercy.
"I can't undo the curse," said Ganesha. "But you will return from darkness into the light and back again."
The moon still does this even now.

Notes: This story is also an explanation for the snake-belt that Ganesha wears; there are other stories about the origin of his snake-belt. For example, in some versions about the fire-demon that Ganesha swallows, Shiva wraps his snake around Ganesha trying to alleviate his stomachache.

14. Ganesha and Vishnu's Conch-Shell

The Valampuri Shankha (conch-shell) belongs to the god Vishnu.
But one day Vishnu could not find the Shankha anywhere. "Who has taken my conch shell?" he shouted.
Shiva suspected that Ganesha might have taken the conch shell. "Pray to Ganesha fervently," said Shiva, "and I am sure he will return the Shankha to you."
Vishnu found Ganesha, and he noticed that his trunk was pointing to the right. And there, to Ganesha's right, he saw his conch-shell.
Vishnu prayed to Ganesha and made offerings.
Vishnu's puja pleased Ganesha, so he returned the Shankha. That is the origin of Valampuri-Shankha Ganesha.

Notes: This story explains the "conch-shell" form of Ganesha, where the god is shown with his trunk pointing to the right; the shape resembles that of a conch shell like the one which Vishnu carries: Shankha.

15. Ganesha and the Cat

One day little Ganesha found a cat in the woods. He grabbed her tail, and then he let the cat go and chased her. The poor cat ran straight into a mud puddle.
Ganesha laughed at the cat covered with mud. He then went home to tell his mother Parvati what had happened, but when he got there, he saw she too was covered with mud!
"Who did this?" asked Ganesha.
"You did," Parvati explained. "I am all life, and all life is me."
Ganesha bowed his head. "I will treat all life with respect from now on," he vowed.

Notes: You can read more about the goddess Parvati, Ganesha's mother, at Wikipedia.

16. Ganesha the Bachelor

Because of his strange appearance, Ganesha could not find a bride. No one wanted to marry him.
This made Ganesha jealous! In his anger, he ordered the rats to dig holes in the road wherever a god was on his way to get married. The rats dug so many holes and the holes were so deep that none of the gods could reach their brides.
To appease Ganesha, Brahma created two beautiful brides for him: Riddi (wealth) and Siddhi (perfection).
Ganesha was married at last, and he no longer troubled the other gods as they journeyed to their own weddings.

Notes: You can read about Ganesha's consorts at Wikipedia.

17. Ravana and Ganesha

To reward his devotion, Shiva gave Ravana the Atma-Linga. This Linga would endow Ravana with superhuman powers, but wherever he set it down, the Linga would stay forever.
To reach his home in Lanka, Ravana walked thousands of miles without putting the Linga down. He was almost home, but wanted to perform his prayers.
Then he noticed a young cowherd. "Hold this for just a minute!" he said.
The boy agreed, but when Ravana came back, he saw Ganesha, and he saw the Linga planted in the ground. Ganesha had thwarted Ravana's plan!
You can still see the Linga there.

Notes: You can read more about the Atma-Linga at Wikipedia in the article about Murdeshwar, home to the Murdeshwar Temple. You can also learn more about the Shiva Linga.

... And those are all the stories in the online booklet of Ganesha stories!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Laura! It's interesting reading your first story, "Ganesha and the Moon". There's always a moon origin story in every culture. I wonder what the moon was doing before it was cursed. Perhaps it was similar to the sun in that it was always shining day and night? Would that make it "superior" to the sun in that it was shining "day and night" while the sun only shined during the day? Interesting thoughts to think about. Overall, it seems like a strange origin story, but I guess there are many more stranger ideas.


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