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Ganesha – The One Who Is At The Start Of Everything

India is a country of Gods. From wealth to misfortune, knowledge to brute strength – we have Gods for just about everything. But in this gamut of Gods I have a favourite; I may bow before all or seek a special one based on need but one stands out for me. Ganesh the Lord of Beginnings and Remover of Obstacles.

Ganesh is known by many names – Ganesha, Vignaharta, Vigneshvara, Vinayaka, Pillaiyar, Ganapati,… He is a God common to all classes of people and even religions. He’s worshiped not only by Hindu’s but also by Jains, Buddhists and others across the world. He doesn’t have perfect proportions like most gods. With an elephant head, a pot belly and a mouse for a ride, he’s completely endearing. Not to forget his love for food. :)

There are a lot of stories about Ganesha but here are the two I love.

Parvati who is Shiva’s consort fashioned him out of clay and gave him life. She ofcourse made him in the image of a man – with a head. One day she asked him to stand guard while she bathed herself. Shiva happened to swing-by at this time and Ganesha being the dutiful son refused him entry. Shiva in anger knocked his head off.

Parvati was so upset about this that Shiva had to do something but he could not put back the head he had chopped off. So, he sent out his men to bring back the first animal they could find, which turned out to be an elephant. Shiva attached the elephant’s head to Ganesha’s body to complete him. This choice of head though upset Parvati and Ganesha who felt people would ridicule him. Shiva in a mood to pacify granted Ganesha a boon that he would be worshipped before all gods. So even today Ganesha is worshipped at the start of every ceremony.

Another time Kubera who was Ganesha’s brother was taunting him about how much he ate, his pot belly and his slowness. This led to an argument between the two and they decided to settle the matter through a race. It was decided that the first person to finish three rounds of the world would win. The race started and Kubera at top speed took off while Ganesha continued to sit back and eat his modaks.

Kubera finished his first round, smirked and started off on the second. On completing his second round of the world he laughed at Ganesha who was still eating. As he left to finish his final round Ganesha stood up and with his palms together he walked three times around Shiva and Parvathi. A jubilant Kubera returned to face Ganesha and be declared the winner. But Ganesha said he was already done with his three rounds. A bewildered Kubera asked him how that was possible. Ganesha replied “My world are my parents and I’ve completed the requirement.”

Ganpati Bappa Morya! Mangal-Murti Morya! Happy Ganesha Chaturti to all! Hope the Vignaharta removes all obstacles from your path in the coming year and gives you great beginnings :)

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