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Popular stories of Lord Ganesha

In addition to the mythological stories of birth of Lord Ganesha and the story of Ganesha and the curse of moon, there are few other popular stories of Lord Ganesha which are interesting to know and read.

Ganesha travels around the world

Lord Ganesha is the elder son of the divine couple, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and Kartikeya / Muruga / Subramanya is the second son of the divine couple. These two brothers are quite opposite in their physical appearance. While Ganesha has a short and heavy figure with an elephant's head and short legs, Kartikeya on the other hand is slim figured and very handsome personality. While a small mouse (mushika) is the vahana (vehicle) of Lord Ganesha, Kartikeya has a swiftly flying peacock as His vehicle.

The two divine brothers are well known for their wisdom and intelligence and the divine couple loved their children very much. The brothers too have great respect for their parents and are devoted to their parents. When the two divine brothers were young, Lord Shiva wanted to entrust one of his sons with the post of Ganadhipati or the leader of the Ganas for which he wanted to test the intelligence of both his sons.

Lord Shiva called his sons and said, "Dear ones, I want to test both of you and the one who proves oneself to be wiser than the other, will be the fittest candidate for the Ganadhipati post.

"Sure, Pitamah (father). We are ready to take the test", said Ganesha and Kartikeya.

"The one who travels round the world and return first to Kailash (the abode of Lord Shiva) will be considered the competent of the two. Do you both agree for this race", said Shiva.

"I am ready for the around the world race", said both the brothers and without wasting a second Kartikeya mounted his peacock and set for his journey. Kartikeya, being slim figured and having a bird as his vehicle was too confident of his winning the race. While Lord Ganesha who was short and bulky figured with a small mouse as his vehicle got depressed and thought that this task is impossible for him and he is sure to lose the race. He sat in a corner and started thinking deeply. Suddenly, he jumped up in excitement as he got a wonderful idea of going round the world and winning the race.

The divine couple were observing all this and were wondering how could their dear son Ganesha prove himself to be wiser than Kartikeya. Slowly yet steadily and confidently Lord Ganesha neared his parents who were seated in their place.

"Pranam Mata, Pranam Pitah (Salutations Mother, Salutations Father)", said Ganesha. He bowed down before his divine parents and spoke slowly, "parents are the living Gods and doing Pradakshina (circling round) to one's parents is equivalent to traveling round the world. I seek your blessing for this around the world race and I will do Pradakshina thrice to you".

Thus he spoke out to his parents, got their blessings and mounted his little vahana (vehicle) - mushika. He folded his palms in the form of Namaskara, closed his eyes, concentrated on his divine parents and ordered his mushika (mouse) to circle round his divine parents. Thus, he could slowly and steadily make three circles round his parents and complete the round the world travel race.

Mean while, Kartikeya who physically visited all the Holy places on the Earth was much surprised to see that his elder brother Ganesha was ahead of him in all the places he visited. It so happened that while Kartikeya was landing a place on his peacock, he could see his elder brother Ganesha taking off from the place on his mushika after visiting the place. As Lord Ganesha completed his 3rd round of circling round his parents, Kartikeya arrived the place and was even more surprised to see his elder brother already on the spot.

Kartikeya bowed down to his parents and spoke humbly, "Pitah, elder brother Ganesha is the competent person for the post of Ganadhipati as he proved himself wiser than me". Saying so, Kartikeya bowed down to his brother and asked his doubt on how could he and his mushika fly swifter than his own peacock.

Lord Ganesha said, "It's the blessing of their parents round whom he circled thrice and thus prove himself wiser." Kartikeya felt sorry for he could not realize the truth that parents are the living gods.

Lord Shiva and Parvati were too happy with their children and thus appointed Ganesha as the Adhipati of the Ganas. Thus Ganesha came to be known as Ganadhipati.

Ganesha writes Mahabharata while Veda Vyasa dictates

Mahabharata is one of the greatest and holiest texts of the Hindus. Once while Veda Vyasa was in deep meditation in the Himalayan region, he got the vision of the happening of Mahabharata. The great sage intended to undertake the great task of scripting the great happening for the welfare of the society but found it difficult to write it down himself as he needs to close his eyes and concentrate on the vision and thus could not script it with closed eyes. So, he went in search of the right candidate who could script it non-stop or without taking a break and write down the great epic continuously while Veda Vyasa dictates by visualizing the same with closed eyes. 

No one could dare to undertake this difficult project which involves scripting of voluminous work. Finally Lord Brahma (the Creator), recommended Lord Ganesha for the task and when Veda Vyasa approached Ganesha and put forth the project of non-stop scripting of the great epic while he dictates. On knowing about this condition of non-stop writing laid by Veda Vyasa, Ganesha agreed to undertake the task on one condition that while he writes the great epic without a halt, so also Veda Vyasa too should dictate the same without taking a break lest he should quit the job.

Veda Vyasa too agreed for this condition and thus the great task of writing the voluminous work went on successfully without any obstacles as Ganesha who is known for removing obstacles, himself scripted the great epic of Mahabharata.

The story of Ganesha and Ravana

This is a story on how Lord Ganesha saved the 'Atmalingam' also known as 'Prana Linga' (the powerful Shivalinga) from being carried away by the ten-headed King Ravana. 

Ravana who was the son of sage Vishrawas and the demon princess Kaikasi became the master of the three worlds by getting boon from the Lord Brahma - the Creator - through his hard penances. King Ravana was very much devoted to his mother and did everything she wished. 

Kaikasi is a great devotee of Lord Shiva and daily she used to worship the Saikata Linga - the Shivalinga made of sand. Each day she used to make a fresh linga as the sand Lingam was getting washed away by the sea waters. She wished to have a permanent Lingam in her pooja hall and she asked his son Ravana to get the 'Atmalingam' from Kailash - the abode of Lord Shiva. 

The demon King Ravana set out on this mission, took a hard penance to please Lord Shiva and get the 'Atmalingam' from Him. Even after hard penance Shiva did not give His appearance, so out of rage King Ravana tore his stomach took out his nerves and used these as strings for playing the musical instrument Rudra Veena. As Ravana was a very good player of Veena, he want to appease Shiva through music. At this terrifying sight Nandeeswara or Nandi - the divine Bull which is the vehicle of Lord Shiva, trembled with fear. Finally much pleased with the Ravana's devotion, Lord Shiva appeared in front of Ravana, granted him the boon and gave away His life-force or the 'Atmalingam' saying, "O Lankeswara, this is the very special Lingam and the place where this Lingam dwells becomes Kailash. Beware! do not place the Lingam anywhere on your way back to Lanka. Once you install this Lingam on the ground, you can seldom remove it from its place and each time you try to remove the Lingam, it increases in size."

Ravana obeyed the words of Lord Shiva and happily started his return journey to Lanka. But in Kailash, after giving away the 'Atmalingam', Lord Shiva sat in his seat with a pale and lifeless face. Goddess Parvati Devi, all the devatas / gods were much worried and thought of a plan for getting back the life force of Lord Shiva from being carried away by King Ravana. As per their plan, they entrusted Lord Ganesha with the task of getting back the 'Atmalingam' before Ravana could reach his golden city of Lanka.

On request of the devatas, Lord Ganesha happily took up the great task and reached the place where Ravana was travelling. Ganesha disguised himself as a small cowherd. Meanwhile, it was twilight and time for performing Sandhya Vandanam (evening ablutions). Ravana was well known for his disciplined life who is used to perform Sandhya Vandanam daily without fail. As it was time for his evening ablutions, he stopped near the sea shore for his evening ablutions but he remembered the words of Lord Shiva for not to place the 'Atmalingam' at any place on the ground till he reaches Lanka.

So, Ravana was desperate and looked for any person who could help him in holding the 'Lingam' still Ravana does his Sandhya Vandanam. At this opportune time, Lord Ganesha arrived the spot in the disguise of a young cowherd who was returning to his home. Ravana called out to the boy and requested him to hold the Lingam till he finishes his evening ablutions. But Ganesha pretended as if he is already late for getting back to his home and so he is in a hurry to go back. On repeated requests by Ravana, Ganesha agreed to hold the 'Atmalingam' on one condition. Ganesha, "I shall call you three times and if you do not come back at my third call, I will place the Lingam here itself."

Ravana assured him of returning in time and asked him not to place the Lingam on the ground. But wise Ganesha pretended that Lingam was too heavy for him to carry and started calling Ravana the moment he entered into the water.  Ravana who could hardly start his Sandhya Vandanam, pleaded the little boy to wait for a while holding the 'Pranalingam' till he completes his evening ablutions. The ten-headed Ravana did not know that he was tricked by the devatas. With great difficulty Ravana could complete his Sandhya Vandanam and by the time Ganesha in the guise of cowherd already called him thrice. While Ravana came running to the cowherd warning him all the way not to place the 'Lingam' on the ground, the moment Ravana reached the spot, Ganesha placed the 'Lingam' on the ground pretending as if it was too heavy.

Ravana turned too furious at this sight and cursed the little cowherd who got terrified and ran off. Ravana using all his strength, tried to remove the 'Lingam' from the ground. But surprisingly, each time he applied force on the Lingam, it grew bigger and bigger. Ravana understood that this was the trick of devatas to make him unsuccessful in getting the Lingam.

In this way, Lord Ganesha saved the 'Pranalingam' of his divine father from being carried away by Ravana. And at the place where Ganesha placed the powerful Lingam became one of the most important pilgrim places for the Hindus which came be to known by the name Gokarna and the temple that was constructed here is known as Mahabaleswar temple which is located on the shores of Arabian Sea in the state of Maharashtra.

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