Ganesh Chaturthi Mythology

Lord Ganesh, the Elephant God, is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and the brother of Lord Muruga. The Rig Veda mentions Him as the ‘Lord of Invocation’ and nothing is performed without his knowledge or consent. It also mentions Him as the ‘Guardian of the Multitudes’ who ensures all those who take shelter in His mercy are well protected.

According to mythology, Lord Ganesh came into existence by the Divine power of Goddess Parvati who desired someone loyal and faithful to her. One day when Goddess Parvati was at home on Mount Kailash and preparing for a bath, she called on Nandi, Lord Shiva’s bull to stand guard and allow no one in. Nandi, in earnest zeal, stood by the door fully intending to carry out her commands. Eventually, when Shiva arrived, Nandi made way for the Lord to pass as he owed allegiance to Shiva. This irritated Parvati, and she was upset that she had no one loyal to carry out her wishes. She decided to create someone to do her bidding, so taking the turmeric paste which she had applied to her body before bathing, she created the child, Ganesh. Parvati, the very epitome of Shakti, breathed life into Ganesh and declared him to be her son.

Ganesh Chaturthi Mythology

The next time Parvati desired to take a bath, she told Ganesh to guard her door and let no one in, irrespective of whoever it may be. When Shiva reached home, he was confronted by this strange boy who refused to allow him to enter his own house. Shiva, unaware of the circumstances behind Ganesh’s behavior was furious and ordered his army to attack the boy and clear the way. Surprisingly, Shiva’s terrible hordes were driven away by the prowess of this little boy. Such mighty power did Ganesh display, being the son of the Divine Mother herself.

Shiva was surprised and with his Supreme intellect divined that this was no ordinary boy. He decided to take him on personally and in a fit of rage, severed the little boy’s head, ending his life instantly. When this came to Goddess Parvati's notice, she was so furious and offended that she went about destroying the entire creation itself. Little by little, the plants on earth started withering, the rivers dried up and life was almost on the brink of extinction. Seeing the havoc on earth, Lord Brahma, the Creator was forced to intervene and pleaded with her for mercy. Eventually, she relented but put forth two conditions, that Ganesh is brought back to life and that he be worshipped first before all other Gods.

Shiva immediately agreed and sent Brahma to scour the land and bring the head of the first creature he comes across with its head laid facing north. Brahma returned shortly with the head of a strong and powerful elephant, which Shiva immediately placed on Ganesh’s head and breathed new life into him. That is how Lord Ganesh acquired the moniker ‘Gajanand’ which means ‘One with an elephant Head.’ Shiva now accepted Ganesh as his son and granted him the status of being foremost among the gods, and leader of all the ganas (classes of beings).

This explains the story of the Elephant God Ganesh who precedes all other Gods in importance and venerated first before undertaking any auspicious venture or conducting a religious ritual. That is also why his birthday ‘Vinayak Chaturthi’ is celebrated with so much fervor and enthusiasm by Indians all over the world. The story of his birth and the importance of the Elephant head hold profound significance for Hindus, and he is considered the God of the masses who brings good fortune, wisdom, intelligence, and prosperity.

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