Lord Ganesha or the elephant god has an elephant face and a huge belly, due to his fondness of sweets. He is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. He is the benevolent protector of the innocent, yet the ruthless destroyer of all evils. His mount is a rat. The size of his mount tells us about the significance of even the very smallest of beings.
Every religious ceremony is started, even today after invoking his blessings by reciting the shloka "Om Ganeshaya Namaha" (I bow to Thee Lord Ganesha). Above is an artist's impression of Lord Shiva, his wife Parvati and their sons, Ganesha and Muruga, in their heavenly abode on the mount Kailasha. There are numerous interesting stories about the various Gods, their rivalries, jealousy and follies they commit just like humans There is an interesting story behind the birth of Lord Ganesha.
Ganesha is known as Vighnavinayaka or one who removes all obstacles. He is considered to be the god of wisdom, prudence and prosperity.
Lord Ganesha's images and pictures are seen presiding not only over the lintels of the doorways of many Hindu homes but also in hospitals private nursing homes and clinics, as a harbinger of good luck.
Ganesha is also looked upon as the god of good harvest and hence after his immersion, clay is brought from the waterside and sprinkled on farms and in storerooms for luck & and for a good harvest in the future.
Ganesha Chathurti (festival celebrating the birth of Lord Ganesha) is a very popular festival celebrated by Hindus all over India. The worship of this god has been followed right from the Vedic times. The worship of Lord Ganesha has also spread to Java, Nepal, Cambodia, Tibet, Thailand, Vietnam and Sri Lanka where he is considered as a guardian and savior of mankind from ghosts and demons.
It is believed that Lord Ganesh wrote the slokas of our great epic, Mahabharata using the tip of his right tusk as they were dictated to him by Maharshi Ved Vyas. Lord Ganesha is also known as Vidya Ganapati(the God of education). Scholars and students all over India pray to this God for knowledge.
All children love hearing stories at bedtime. It is a common sight in many houses in India, where children gather around their grandparents after dinner, clamoring for stories. The most popular are the stories about Gods, Goddesses and asuras or rakshasas. These stories are passed down from generation to generation. But nowadays because of nuclear families, this practice of telling stories is fast dying out.
In this demo you can only listen to the first story.
This is another interesting story about Lord Ganesh with Narada trying to create trouble as usual. Narada visited Lord Shiva & Parvati and presented them with a fruit, saying that they should give it to the person whom they liked most.
Shiva set a test for his two sons Ganesha and Murugha. He asked them to go round the world and said that the person who finished doing this first would get the fruit. Murugha at once rushed on his mount, the peacock and made a quick trip around the world. He was surprised to find that Ganesha had already finished doing this, since he knew that Ganesha could not move very fast. Ganesha replied that his parents were his universe, his only world. So he had completed his task by just going around them.
Once upon a time Mother Parvati wished to take a bath. She created a boy from the dirt of her body and asked him to stand guard outside while she cleansed herself. Meanwhile, Lord Shiva returned home. When he tried to enter the house, the boy prevented him from doing so. In anger, Shiva cut off the boy's head. When Parvati saw this, she burst into tears. In order to console her, Shiva sent out his troops (gaNa) to fetch the head of anyone found sleeping with his head pointing to the north. They found an elephant sleeping thus and brought back its head. Shiva then attached the elephant's head to the body of the boy and revived him. He named the boy Ganapati, which means commander of his troops. He granted him a boon that everyone would worship him (Ganesha) before beginning any work.
We should never take undue pride in our material or spiritual accomplishments. The old saying "Pride always leads to a fall." is proved true in the following story.
Kubera (the God of wealth) invited Shiva and Parvati to dinner wishing to show off his riches. But, the couple denied Kubera's request and said that he could feed Ganesha instead. Kubera laughed and said 'I can feed thousands of children like this."
Ganesha went to his palace and sat down to eat. He started eating all the food placed in front of him. As was the custom, more and more food was served to him, as he did not say that he had enough. Soon there was no more food in the palace and so Kubera ordered his troops to get more food from the surrounding villages. But Ganesha continued eating and there was no more food to be found. Still very hungry, Ganesha started eating all the furniture.
Kubera became very frightened. Ganesha told him, " You promised my parents you will feed me. Now, I have to eat you up as I am still very hungry ". Kubera ran away and pleaded with Shiva to save him from Ganesha. Shiva asked Kubera to give up his pride and serve Ganesha a handful of rice. Kubera went back to his palace. By this time, Ganesha's stomach had become very huge but the child was still hungry. When Kubera served a cup of rice with humility, Ganesha's hunger was satisfied.
Vinakaya or Gananayaka is another name for Ganesha.
Gananayaka is the lord of Ganas or one who defeats Gana. A beautiful son named Gana was born to the King Abhijit and queen Gunavati. He was very bright and strong. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva, pleased with his devotion granted him some boons. However, this increased Gana's ego. He soon fell into bad company.
One day he visited sage Kapila's ashram. Kapila had a gem called Chintamani that was wish fulfilling and could provide food for thousands. When Gana saw this, he wanted to possess the gem. Kapila did not want to give it to him. But Gana forcibly took it away from him. Kapila prayed to Lord Ganesha. Ganesha appeared in Gana's dream and cut off his head. Gana, on waking up, did not repent but became angry and took his army to kill Kapila. Gana's father, Abhijit, pleaded with Gana to give Kapila back his gem but Gana did not heed the advice. However, on reaching Kapila's ashram he found that Ganesha had assembled an army. In a fierce fight, Gana was killed by Ganesha and Ganesha restored the " Chintamani " to Kapila.
Kapila, however, gave it back to Ganesha saying that even a small gem like this could cause trouble, as wealth is the root of many problems in this world. Kapila requested Ganesha to stay back. From then on, this place (Theur near Pune) was called 'Chintamani Vinayaka'.
One day Ganesha was invited to a feast. Being very fond of sweets, he consumed a large number of sweets. While returning home his stomach burst open, due to the weight of the food consumed. Luckily it was night. Hoping no one had seen him; he quickly tied his stomach with a snake. Unfortunately the moon saw him and burst into peals of laughter.
Ganesha was furious and uttered a curse that the moon would be invisible from then on. The moon was ashamed of his action and begged forgiveness. Ganesha also felt he had been hasty in cursing the moon. But since he could not take back his curse but only lessen it's intensity, he proclaimed that the moon would wax and wane and would be invisible on only one day of the month, " amavasya ", which is, to this day considered inauspicious.
Legend has it that the ghat region of Tamil Nadu was ruled by Nambirajan, the king of the Kuravas or the hill tribes. Nambirajan worshipped Shiva, praying for a daughter. His prayers were answered and it was revealed to him that he would discover a baby in the nearby woods and that she would be his daughter.
Accordingly the Kurava king discovered ‘Vallinayaki’ in the woods and brought her up as his own. Valli grew up to be a beautiful maiden and Subramanya - son of Shiva and Parvati sought her hand in marriage. Their courtship is full of many interesting stories that form the basis of many a folk tale and classical performing arts in Tamil Nadu.
Murugan assumed the form of an old bangle seller, and sold bangles to Valli, in return for a local delicacy of honey soaked corn flour. A conversation ensued between the two, which was interrupted by the arrival of Valli's brothers, a valiant lot who were highly possessive and protective of their sister. Flustered by their sudden appearance, and unwilling to indulge in battle, Murugan (Skanda) changed himself into a Vengai maram (a stump of which is still seen in the Temple at Velimalai in Southern Tamil Nadu).
Skanda appeared again, in the guise of an old tribal king and sought her hand in marriage. The brothers materialized again, and Skanda transformed himself into an old ascetic from the Himalayas, and they left the spot.
Upset by the ongoing hindrance, Skanda sought the help of his brother Vinayaka - the remover of obstacles, who appeared on the spot as a wild elephant. A scared Valli embraced Skanda and promised to offer him anything in return for protection from the wild beast. Skanda sought her hand in marriage, and Valli consented gladly, realizing that her suitor was none other than Murugan, whom she and her tribe held in great regard.
Valli married Murugan and the marriage was celebrated with great pomp and splendor by Nambirajan, the king of kuravas.