(French Version: Go Here)
Hindus have been celebrating Lord Ganesh ( गणेश ) for a couple of weeks, now. But in India, on the 19th of September 2012, it is the day when children don’t go to school, when people build huge ganesh sculptures out of clay and organize huge processions. It is one of the most important celebrations in Hinduism.
Ganesh is famous for his elephant face. He is also the God of children and education. He is a very positive and powerful god.
I’m going to tell you three stories about Ganesh that most of hindus know very well. But the stories always change according to the way you tell them!
THE BIRTH OF GANESH:
So, one day, Godess Parvati ( पार्वती ) was going to take a bath. She had everything she needed: sweet-scented oils, Cleopatra Soap and Fair and Lovely cream! But she realized there was nobody to watch the entrance of the bathroom. No servant, no maid, no-bo-dy, although neither cricket matches nor Big Boss existed at that time! They were certainly busy somewhere else, at the Temple or at the bazar. Moreover, her husband Shiva (शिव) was out. What was he doing? She didn’t know! You can never trust men, even when they’re part of the Trimûrti! But she had an idea: she carved a young man in a piece of soap and made him stand in front of the door. She called him Ganesh and he became her new son. I’m sure he was a handsome boy, he had a beautiful face, big black eyes, long curly dark hair, a fleshy mouth… And he smelt really good, as you can imagine!
While Parvati was having her bath, Shiva came back. Men are often fussy but Shiva can be very impulsive and bad-tempered! He’s the God of Destruction, consequently, he destroys first, and then he thinks! In a word, it is very difficult to be Shiva’s wife!
So Shiva arrived at home and saw a good-looking young man waiting at the door of his wife’s bathroom! As Ganesh had never seen his father before, he obeyed his mother’s order and prevented him from entering. No need to say that Shiva was furious. He took his sword and cut poor Ganesh’s head off!
Parvati heard her husband’s screams of anger. She rapidly took a towel and rushed outside. She was petrified with horror when she saw her son’s head on the ground. « What have you done! », she screamed at Shiva. « You have beheaded you own son! » Tears and water were running on her lovely cheeks. And Shiva suddenly realized he had made a terrible mistake! He really loved Parvati, but he guessed that a new sari or a necklace of flowers wouldn’t be enough to be forgiven.
Hopefully, things are always easier in Gods’ lives. To revive Ganesh, Shiva just had to go out and behead the first living creature he would see. This first creature could have been a beautiful maharaja wearing a golden turban and a thick moustache or a Bollywood actor like Ajay Devgan coming home after his weight-lifting training. But…unfortunately not! It was just a young elephant! Life can be cruel, sometimes!
However, this elephant head made Ganesh one of the most famous gods in the world. It gave him strength; that’s why Ganesh has the power of removing all obstacles in your lives.
THE RACE AROUND THE WORLD
This is an episode about Ganesh I like very much because most of children can identify with Ganesh in this story.
Ganesh had a brother, Skanda – actually, he has plenty of names such as Muruga but I like Skanda. One day, Shiva and Parvati organized a race between the two brothers. « Get on your vehicule and go around the world three times. The one who comes back first will have the fruit of knowledge.» Skanda jumped onto his peacock and started like a rocket! Ganesh slowly got on his mouse – I know what you’re thinking but actually, the mouse gets bigger when Ganesh rides it…phew! – and went around his parents three times with extreme devotion.
Shiva and Parvati were perplexed. « You didn’t understand!,Shiva said, you have to go around the world three times! »
« But YOU, MY PARENTS, are my world! », Ganesh answered. Was he sincere or just foxy? Certainly both!
Anyway, Parvati flushed with pleasure and Shiva grinned with happiness.
When Skanda came back from his long race around the world, he was exhausted! His clothes were covered with stardust; a comet had damaged his peacock’s tail and both of them were starving. But Ganesh had eaten all the fruit of knowledge! This is the reason why, he is the God of education and ambition!
WHY DO DEVOTEES BREAK COCONUTS?
(This story was completed thanks to Indiatimes.com)
One day, Ganesh asked Shiva: « Daddy? What is the most powerful sacrifice in the world? »
Shiva answered: « Take the most powerful person in the world and sacrifice him. And then, you’ll have your answer! »
Ganesh thought for a few seconds, had a frown and said: « But Dad, YOU are the most powerful person in the world! Shall I sacrifice you? »
Shiva started and turned pale. He didn’t expect such an answer! He hesitated. He could have told his son that he wasn’t the most powerful person, that Vishnu, Brama, Barack Obama, Bill Gates or even Rahoul Gandhi were much more powerful than him! But he didn’t want to underestimate himself in front of his son and he didn’t want to be sacrificed either! So, he imagined a shortcut:
« My son!, Shiva said with a self-important tone of voice. Every time you break a coconut, you sacrifice me! Look at this coconut! Can you see the three black eyes on it? They are MY three eyes! »
Since that day, people have broken coconuts for Ganesh Chaturthi!
That’s all for today, लोग !
See you tomorrow for Ganesh’s Festival! I’ll show you my two dear Ganeshes from my little private temple!
If you like Ganesh, you will like this site .