The Creation of Shri Ganesha. (extract from the Shiva Purana)
Narada said,'I wish to hear the excellent story of Ganesha, the details of his divine nativity, auspicious of the auspicious'. On hearing the words of Narada, the great sage Brahma became delighted and replied to him remembering Lord Shiva.
8 'Due to the different Kalpas (ages) the story of the birth of Ganesha is told in different ways. According to one account He is born of Mahadeva, the great lord (Shiva). His head, being looked at by *Shani (Saturn) was cut off and an elephant's head was put on Him.
9 Now we narrate the story of the birth of Ganesha in Swetakalpa (present age) when His head was cut off by the merciful Shiva.
10 No suspicion need be entertained, O sage. Shiva is certainly the cause of enjoyment and protection. He is the Lord of all. Shiva is possessed as well as devoid of attributes.
11 It is by His divine sport that the entire universe is created, sustained and annihilated. O excellent sage, listen to what is relevant to the context, with attention.
12 A long time had lapsed after the marriage of Shiva and His return to Kailasa that Ganesha was born.
13 Once the friends Jay a and Vijaya conferred with Parvat! and discussed.
14 'All the Ganas of Rudra carry the orders of Shiva. They all, Nandin, Bhringin and others are in a way our own.
15 Pramathas are numerous. But none of them can be called our own. They stand at the portals, subservient to Shiva's behests.
16 They also may be called our own but our mind is not in unison with them. Hence, O sinless lady, one, our own must be created.'
*This refers to a well-known story of the creation of Shri Ganesha where He was born as a normal boy to Shri Parvati, who was proudly showing the beautiful baby off to all the gods. Shani (the planet Saturn) was cursed that his glance had an evil effect, so he would not look at the boy. Shri Parvati taunted him that nothing bad could happen to Her child and insisted that he look at him. However when he did the boy's head was burnt to ashes, which distressed the Goddess greatly. On the advice of Lord Brahma they set out northwards and the first creature they found was as elephant whose head they took to place on the boy, whose life was restored
17 Goddess ParvatT to whom this charming suggestion was made by the two friends considered it wholesome and resolved to carry it out.
18 Once when ParvatT was taking Her bath, Sadashiva rebuked Nandin and came into the inner apartment.
19 The Mother of the universe, seeing the untimely arrival of Shiva in the midst of Her bath and toilet, stood up. The beautiful lady was very shy then.
20 The Goddess decided that Her friends' suggestion would be conducive to Her good and so was enthusiastic.
21 At the time when the incident occurred, ParvatT, the great Maya, the great goddess, thought as follows;
22 T here must be a servant of my own who will be expert in his duties. He must not stray from my behest even a speck'.
23 T hinking thus the goddess created a person with all the characteristics, out of the dirt from Her body.
24 H e was spotless and handsome in every part of his body. He was huge in size and had all brilliance, strength and valour.
25 S he gave him various clothes and ornaments. She blessed him with benedictions and said;-'you are my son. You are my own. I have none else to call my own.' Thus addressed the person bowed to Her and said;-
26 'What is Your order? I shall accomplish what you command'. Thus addressed, ParvatT replied to Her son.
27 'My dear, listen to my words. Work as my gate-keeper from today. You are my son. You are my own. It is not otherwise. There is none else who belongs to Me.
28 O good son, without my permission, no-one, by any means, shall intrude my apartment. I tell you the fact.'
29 Saying this She gave Him a hard stick. On seeing His handsome features She was delighted.
30 Out of love and mercy She embraced and kissed Him. She placed Him armed with a staff at Her entrance as the gatekeeper.
31 Then the son of the Goddess, of great heroic power, stayed at the doorway, ParvatT began to take Her bath with Her friends, unworried.
32 At this very moment, Shiva who is eagerly indulgent and an expert in various divine sports came near the door.
33 Not knowing that He was Lord Shiva, the consort of ParvatT, Ganesha said;-'O sir, without my mother's permission you shall not go in now.
34 My mother has entered Her bath. Where are you going now? Go away!', saying thus, He took up His staff to ward Him off.
35 On seeing Him Shiva said;-'O foolish fellow, whom are you forbidding? O wicked knave, don't you know me? I am Shiva, none else'.
36 Thereupon Ganesha beat Shiva with the staff. Shiva expert in various sports became infuriated and spoke to His son thus.
37 'You are a fool. You do not know that I am Shiva, the husband of ParvatT. O boy, I go in my own house. Why do you forbid me?'
38 When Lord Shiva tried to enter the house, Ganesha became infuriated and struck Him with His staff once again.
39 Then Shiva too became furious. He commanded his own Ganas;-'Who is this fellow here? What is he doing? O Ganas, enquire'.
40 After saying this, the furious Shiva stood outside the house. The Lord, following the worldly conventions, is capable of wonderful sports.
The infuriated Ganas of Shiva at His bidding went there and questioned the son of ParvatT who stood at the gate.
'Who are you? Whence do you come? What do you propose to do? If you have a desire to remain alive go away from here'.
On hearing their words, the son of ParvatT who was armed with the staff spoke to the Ganas as follows;-
'O handsome fellows, who are you? Whence have you come? Go away. Why have you come here and why do you stand in opposition to me?'
On hearing His words, Shiva's Ganas of great heroism and arrogance laughingly spoke to one another.
After conferring with one another, the infuriated Parshadas of Shiva replied to Ganesha, the doorkeeper;-
'Listen, we are the excellent Ganas of Shiva. We are His doorkeepers. We have come here to throw you out at the bidding of Lord Shiva.
Considering you too as one of the Ganas, we are not going to kill you. Otherwise you would have been killed. Better stay away yourself. Why do you court death?'
Though warned thus, Ganesha, the son of ParvatT, stood fearless. He did not leave His post at the door. He rebuked Shiva's Ganas.
After hearing His words, the Ganas of Shiva went back and informed Shiva about His stand.
On hearing their words, Lord Shiva of wonderful divine sports, following the worldly conventions, rebuked His Ganas.
'Who is this fellow? What does he say? He is standing there haughtily as though he is our enemy. What will that wicked knave do? Certainly he wants to die.
Why? Are you dastardly eunuchs to stand here helplessly and complain to me about him? Let this new doorkeeper be thrown out'.
Thus commanded by Lord Shiva of wonderful sports, the Ganas returned to that place and spoke to the doorkeeper.
'O gatekeeper, why are you standing here? Why have you been stationed here? Why don't you care for us? How can you thus remain alive?
We are here the duly appointed doorkeepers. What are you saying? A jackal sitting on a lion's seat wishes for happiness.
O fool, you will roar only as long as you do not feel the brunt of our attack. Erelong you will fall by feeling the same'.
Thus taunted by them, Ganesha became furious and took the staff with his hands and struck the Ganas even as they continued to speak harsh words.
Then the fearless Ganesha, son of Parvat! rebuked the heroic Ganas of Shiva and spoke as follows;-
'Get away. Get away. Or I shall give you a foretaste of my fierce valour. You will be the laughing-stock of all'.
On hearing these words of Ganesha, the Ganas of Shiva went to Shiva who was standing at a distance of a Krosha from Kailasa and spoke to Him'
Shiva ridiculed them all. The trident-armed great lord of fierce temperament spoke to His Ganas who professed to be heroes.
'Impotent wretches, you profess to be heroes but are never so. Why should I speak more? He must be driven away'.
Thus rebuked by Lord Shiva, the excellent Ganas went back and spoke to Him.
'Listen, boy. You go away from here; if not your death is certain'. In the meantime the Goddess heard the noise of this wrangle between the Ganas and the doorkeeper, and told Her friend 'Go and see'.
The friend came to the door and saw them for a moment. She understood the whole matter. She was delighted and returned to Parvat!.
'O great Goddess, the heroic Ganas of Shiva are taunting and rebuking our own Gana who is standing at the door.
When this man belonging to us is taunted, it amounts to our being taunted. Hence, O gentle lady, you shall not abandon your prestige of high order'.
ParvatT stood there for a moment and then taking up a haughty mood She said;-
'What is to happen happens. What is done cannot be altered.' The friend came to the door and told Ganesha what ParvatT had said with affection.
'Whether good or bad let your duty be done'.
On hearing the words of the friend, Ganeshwara became highly delighted, strengthened and lifted up.
Girding up His loins, tying his turban firmly and clapping His calves and thighs, he spoke fearlessly to all the Ganas.
I am the son of ParvatT. You are the Ganas of Shiva. Both of us are thus equal. Let your duty be done now. You shall not enter the apartment either forcibly or humbly'.
The Ganas went to Shiva and acquainted Him with that news of wonderful nature.
Shiva replied;- 'If we are humble, there is likely to be a rumour:' Shiva is subservient to His wife'. O Ganas, this is certainly derogatory to Me.
How can a woman be obdurate, especially with her own husband? ParvatT will certainly derive the fruit of what She has done.
Hence, my heroic men, listen to My words with attention. This war has to be fought by all means. Let what is in store happen.'
When Shiva told them thus, they got ready and went to Shiva's palace. On seeing the Ganas coming, fully equipped for war, Ganesha spoke to them thus;-
I am only one and that too a mere boy. You are all experts in warfare and have fought in many a battle.
You shall look to your Lord and I to my Mother. Let what is destined to occur, occur.'
When thus taunted and rebuked they rushed towards Him with big batons adorning their arms and taking up different kinds of weapons.
Gnashing their teeth, grunting and bellowing, the Ganas rushed at Him.
Nandin came first and caught hold of His leg and pulled at it. Bhringin then rushed at Him and caught hold of His other leg.
Before the Ganas had time to pull His legs Ganesha struck a blow at their hands and got His legs free.
Then seizing a big iron club and standing at the doorway He smashed the Ganas so that none among them could stand face to face with Him.
Just as deer flee to any direction on seeing a lion, the Ganas fled. Then Ganesha returned to the doorway and stood there.
At this time, urged by Narada, all the gods including Vishnu and Indra came there.
Standing in front of Shiva and bowing to Him, they said; - 'O Lord be pleased to command us.
You are the great Brahman, the Lord of All, the Creator, Sustainer and Annihilator of all created things. All are Your servants.
You are intrinsically devoid of attributes but by means of Your sports You assume Rajasika, Sattvika and Tamasika forms. O Lord, what sport are You indulging in now?'
Then Shiva, the Lord of All, the Consort of Parvat!, then laughingly told me, Brahma.
O Brahma, you alone should go there. This strong boy shall be propitiated. O Brahma, you shall bring him under control.
On hearing the words of the Lord, I went near Ganesha accompanied by the sages.
On seeing me approaching, the powerful Ganesha came to me very furiously and plucked my moustache and beard.
'Forgive me, O Lord. I have not come for fighting. I have come to make peace and I will cause thee no harm'.
While I said thus, the heroic Ganesha took up the iron club, seeing which I began to run away immediately.
The others too were struck down with the iron club. Some fled to Shiva and intimated to Him the details of the incident.
On seeing them in that plight and on hearing the news, Shiva became very angry.
He issued directives to Indra and the other gods, to the Ganas led by the six-faced Karttikeya and to goblins, ghosts and spirits.
4. Lifting up their weapons, they came there from all directions. Whatever weapon they had was hurled on Ganesha with force.
5. In the meantime the Goddess, the Mother of the Universe, came to know of the entire incident and was very furious. She created two Shaktis for the assistance of Her own Gana.
e. One Shakti assumed a very fierce form and stood there opening her mouth as wide as the cavern of a dark mountain.
7. The other assumed the form of lightning. She wore many arms. She was a huge and terrible goddess ready to punish the wicked. s. The weapons hurled by the gods and Ganas were caught in the mouth and hurled back at them. None of the weapons of the gods was seen anywhere around the iron club of Ganesha. This wonderful feat was performed by them.
1. The earth with all the oceans quaked. As a result of the violent battle even mountains fell down.
2. The sky whirled with the planets and stars. Everything was agitated. The gods fled. The Ganas too did likewise.
1. On hearing this, the great Lord who grants benediction to his devotees became desirous of fighting with the boy.
2. He called Vishnu and consulted Him. Then, with a great army and the gods, He the three-eyed Lord, stood face to face with Him.
1. Ganesha hit all the chief gods with his staff. He hit Vishnu too, all of a sudden. The hero had been conferred great strength by the Shaktis.
2. Seeing Him terrific, even Shiva was greatly surprised, thinking within Himself;' He has to be killed only by deception and not otherwise', He stayed in the midst of the army.
25. Vishnu said;-'I shall cause Him delusion. Then let him be killed by you O Lord. Without deception he cannot be killed. He is of Tamasika nature and inaccessible.' Thinking thus and consulting Shiva, Vishnu secured His permission and was engaged in the activities of delusion. 2e. On seeing Vishnu in that manner, the two Shaktis handed over their power to Ganesha and became submerged. Shiva arrived there with desire to fight him to the finish, the great Lord with the trident in His hand.
i. Ganesha the great hero, who had been rendered more powerful by the two Shaktis, remembered the lotus-like feet of his mother and struck Him in his hand with his spear
2. Thereupon the trident fell from the hand of Shiva of the Supreme Soul, who took up His bow Pinaka.
3. Ganesha felled that to the ground by means of His iron club. Five of His hands were also struck. He took up the trident with the other five hands.
4. 'Alas, this has been more distressing even to me. What may not happen to the Ganas?' Shiva who followed the worldly conventions cried out like this.
5. In the meantime the heroic Ganesha endowed with the surplus power bestowed by the Shaktis struck the Gods and the Ganas with His iron club.
e. The Gods and the Ganas, smothered by that wonderful striker with the iron club, went away to the ten directions. None of them remained on the battlefield.
7. On seeing Ganesha, Vishnu said-'He is blessed. He is a hero of great strength. He is valorous and fond of battle. Many Gods, Danavas, Daityas, Yakshas, Gandharvas and Rakshasas I have seen. In the entire extent of the three worlds, none of them can equal this boy in regard to brilliance, form, features, valour and other qualities.'
• Ganesha, the son of Parvat!, whirled the iron club and hurled it at Vishnu even as He was saying so.
• After remembering the lotus-like feet of Shiva, Vishnu took up His discus and split the iron club.
• Ganesha hurled a piece of the iron club at Vishnu which was caught by the bird Garuda and rendered futile.
• Thus for a long time the two heroes fought with each other.
• Again the foremost among the valiant, the son of Parvat! took up His staff of unrivalled power remembering His Mother and struck Vishnu with it.
• Struck with that unbearable blow He fell on the ground. But he got up quickly and fought with Parvat!'s son.
• Securing this opportunity, the trident bearing Lord came there and cut off his head with his trident.
• When the head of Ganesha was cut off, the armies of the Gods and Ganas stood still.
• Narada came and acquainted Parvat! with the matter 'O proud woman, listen. You shall not cast off your pride and prestige.'
• Then Narada, fond of quarrels, vanished from there.
1. When Ganesha was killed, the Ganas were very jubilant. They played on Mrdanga and Pataha drums.
2. After cutting off the head of Ganesha even as Shiva became sorry, goddess ParvatT became furious.
3. ' O what shall I do? Where shall I go? Alas great misery has befallen me. How can this misery be dispelled now?
4. My son has been killed by all the Gods and the Ganas. I shall destroy them all or create a deluge.'
5. Lamenting thus, the great Goddess of all the worlds angrily created in a moment hundreds and thousands of Shaktis.
e. The Shaktis who were thus created, bowed to ParvatT, the Mother of the universe and blazing brilliantly spoke- 'O Mother, be pleased to command.'
7. On hearing that, ParvatT, the Shakti of Shiva, the Prakriti, the Mahamaya, spoke to them all in great fury.
s. The Goddess said;- 'O Shaktis, O Goddesses, now a great deluge shall be created by you at my bidding. You need not hesitate in this regard.
9. O friends, devour forcibly all these sages, gods, Yakshas, Rakshasas, belonging to us and others.'
10. Leaders of Ganas, Vishnu, Brahma or Shiva, Indra or Kubera, Skanda or Surya- Shaktis began to destroy them all. Wherever one looked, Shaktis were present.
i. Just as the fire consumes dry grass, so also these Shaktis started to destroy. They took up the gods with their hands and threw them into their mouths.
• The gods then discussed with Narada- 'How could our misery be quelled?' then they said;-
• 'As long as the goddess ParvatT does not favour us there will be no happiness. No suspicion need be entertained in this matter.'
• Narada and other sages went to ParvatT in order to appease Her anger. They then propitiated her.
• They bowed to Her again and again. They eulogised Her with hymns. They tried to please Her with devotion and at the behest of the gods and ganas, spoke thus.
• 'O Mother of the Universe, obeisance to You. Obeisance to You, O Shiva, Obeisance to You, O Chandika, Obeisance to You, KalyanT.
* O Mother, you alone are the Primordial Shakti. You are the Eternal Cause of Creation. You alone are ever the Sustaining Power. You alone are the Cause of Dissolution.
> O Goddess, be pleased. Spread peace. Obeisance be to You. O Goddess, the three worlds are agitated by Your fury.
> The Mahadevi ParvatT thus eulogised by Narada and the other sages glanced at them furiously. She did not say anything.
> Then the sages bowed at Her lotus-like Feet and spoke to Her in low voices with devotion joining their palms in reverence.
> The sages said;- 'O Goddess, forgive. The final dossolution seems near at hand. Your Lord is standing here. O Mother, You see Him.
> What are we, the gods, Brahma, Vishnu and others? We are only Your subjects. We stand here with palms joined in reverence.
> O MahadevT, our guilts shall be forgiven. We are agitated and distressed. O ParvatT, give us peace.'
. After saying this the agitated and distressed sages stood in front of Her with their palms joined in reverence.
. On hearing their words Parvati was pleased and She replied to the sages with Her mind full of compassion.
. If My Son regains life there may not be further annihilation. If you can arrange for Him an honourable status and position among you as the chief presiding officer, there may be peace in the world. Otherwise you will never be happy.'
On hearing that, Indra and other gods joined their palms in reverence and piteously intimated to Shiva what had transpired there.
On hearing what the gods said, Shiva spoke thus-'it shall be done accordingly so that there may be peace over all the worlds.
You shall go to the northern direction and whatever person you meet at first, you cut off his head and fit it to this body.'
Then they carried out Shiva's behests and acted accordingly. They brought the headless body of Ganesha and washed it well.
They paid homage to it and started towards the north. It was a single tusked elephant that they met.
They took the head and fitted it to the body. After joining it, the gods bowed to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma.
Then Brahma, Vishnu and the other gods spoke after bowing to Lord Shiva who is free from the ill effects of the attributes.
They said- 'Since we are all born out of Your brilliant energy, let that energy come into it by the recitation of the Vedic mantras.'
Saying so, they jointly sprinkled the holy water, invoked by the mantras on that body after remembering Shiva.
Immediately after the contact of the holy water the boy was resuscitated to life and joined with consciousness. As Shiva willed, the boy woke up as from a sleep.
He was handsome, extremely comely. He had the face of an elephant. He was red-complexioned. He was delighted with face beaming. He was brilliant and had fine features.
On seeing the son of Parvat! resuscitated to life, they all rejoiced and their miseries came to an end.
They showed him delightedly to the Goddess. On seeing him restored to life, the Goddess was greatly delighted. Taking him up with both hands she embraced him joyously.
When the son of Parvat! was resuscitated, he was honoured by the Goddess who bestowed all siddhis on him and touched him with the hand that removes all distress and said;-
'You have had great distress since Your very birth. You are blessed and contented now. You will receive worship before all the gods. You will be free from distress.
Vermilion is visible on Your face now. Hence You will always be worshipped with vermilion by all men always.
All achievements certainly accrue to him who performs Your worship with flowers, sandal paste, scents, auspicious food offerings, N!rajana rites (waving of lights), betel leaves, charitable gifts, circumambulations and obeisance. All kinds of obstacles will certainly perish.'
Then with the graceful blessings of Parvat!, instantly peace reigned upon the gods and particularly on the ganas.
Placing his lotus-like hand on Ganesha's head, Shiva told the gods,-'this is another son of mine.
He is the Remover of all obstacles and the Bestower of the fruits of all rites.
He shall be worshipped first and We shall be worshipped afterwards. If He is not worshipped, We too are not worshipped.'
In order to gratify Parvat!, Ganesha was proclaimed as the Presiding Officer by all, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and others.
The story of Shri Karttikeva
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