A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ganapati – Birth

The birth of Ganapati has its own myths. However there seem to be quite a few of them in the texts.

The most common one was that of Parvati giving birth to Ganesha all by herself, i.e. with the help of Shiva (thus also referred to as Vinayaka – ‘vina’ i.e. without; ‘nayaka’ i.e. male principle). Once Parvati wanted to go for a bath and so she created a child from her ‘ubtan’, i.e. turmeric paste (and thus Ganesha is also referred to as Dhûmravarna, "the Lord with a tawny colour") with instructions not to allow anybody inside the house. As luck would have it, Shiva returned from somewhere and Ganesha stopped him, unknown to him that Shiva was his father (though not biological). To cut short the whole story, a battle ensued between the two and Ganesh was beheaded by Shiva. Later, on realising the mistake, an elephant’s head was attached to the body of the child Ganesha. This is the most common and well-accepted myth from Shiva Purana.

Staying on with Parvati, another myth says that once the used bath-water of Parvati was thrown into the river Ganga, which in turn was drunk by the elephant-headed Goddess Malini. In due course of time, she gave birth to a baby with four hands and five elephant heads. Goddess Malini claimed the child to be hers, but Siva declared the child to be Parvati’s. Shiva then reduced the five heads to one and thus was born the elephant-headed god.

Still another myth says that once Shiva had slain Aditya, a son of Sage Kashyapa. Though Shiva restored the dead son, it did not pacify the sage who cursed him that his son would lose his head too. When this happened with Ganesha later, the head of Indra’s elephant was used to stick to the body of the child.

A lesser known myth says that a child was born to Parvati after a long tapa, penance. All the gods were invited by Shiva and Parvati to see and bless the child. All gods blessed the child except Shani dev. He did not want to look at the child as his gaze could harm the infant. But Parvati insisted that he see the child. But as is known, Shani’s gaze was so severe, that one look at the child and the child’s head gets severed. Lord Vishnu immediately mounted Garuda and flew to the Pushpa-Bhadra river and got the head of a young elephant and joined it with the body of the child Ganesha. This myth, though lesser known, is documented in Brahma Vaivarta Purana.

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