Stories of Lord Ganesh: The Elephant God

Stories of Lord Ganesh: The Elephant God

Posted on December 18 by Mahtab Narsimhan
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Lord Ganesh, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is an extremely popular deity in India. He is known as the Remover of Obstacles and also the god of wisdom, literature, and worldly success. Here are two popular stories about Lord Ganesh:

Who Is Elder?

Ganesh had a brother named Kartikay. At one time there was a dispute between the boys as to who was the elder of the two. Kartikay and Ganesh approached their father, Lord Shiva, for a resolution. Lord Shiva told the boys that whoever circumnavigated the earth and reached him first would have the honour of being the elder brother. Kartikay immediately got onto his mount, a peacock, and flew off around the world. Ganesh, on the other hand, circled his parents, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, and waited for Kartikay to return. When Lord Shiva asked Ganesh why he did not circle the world, Ganesh replied that he had; his parents symbolized the world to him and hence he had circled them! Ganesh was given the right to be called the elder of the two boys.

A King’s Pride Takes a Fall

King Kubera was very proud of his wealth and he wanted to show off to Lord Shiva and his wife, Parvati. He invited them both over to his palace for a feast. Shiva declined the offer and said that instead he could feed his son, Ganesh. The king laughed, saying that he could feed thousands of children like Ganesh. Ganesh turned up for the feast and was served a sumptuous meal. Ganesh continued eating steadily, showing no signs of slowing down or indicating that he had eaten enough. As was custom, the king ordered his servants to continue to serve the boy until he said that he was satisfied. Soon the palace kitchens were empty. There was not a morsel left. Mortified, the king sent out his troops to the nearby villages to beg for food for his hungry guest. Whatever was given was served. Still, Ganesh kept eating. Soon there was no food left, so Ganesh starting eating the furniture. Within minutes every stick had disappeared and Ganesh was still hungry. He spoke to the king, “You promised to feed me and now there’s nothing left. I might have to eat you up!” The king was terrified. He rushed to Shiva and Parvati and begged them to save him from Ganesh. Shiva then told him, “Let go of your pride and serve him a handful of rice.” The king went back to the palace where Ganesh was devouring the walls. He scraped together a handful of rice and, with great humility, personally served it to Ganesh. Ganesh’s hunger was finally appeased and the king had learned a valuable lesson.

Mahtab Narsimhan

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Mahtab Narsimhan

Mahtab Narsimhan, a native of Bombay (Mumbai), has always been fascinated by Indian mythology, fantasy, and adventure. Her debut 2007 novel, The Third Eye, won the 2009 Silver Birch Award. The second part of the Tara Trilogy, The Silver Anklet, was published in 2009. She lives in Toronto.