Chintamani is a form of Lord Ganesha. He is worshipped for unity, prosperity, learning and removing obstacles. Ashtavinayak is eight forms of Ganesha. All the eight temples of Ganesha are located in Maharashtra. All the idols of Ashtavinayak are self originated (swayambhu).
Chintamani Temple of Theur is a Hindu temple located 22 km from Pune, off the Pune Solapur highway. The village of Theur is situated at the confluence of three major regional rivers Mula,Mutha and Bhima. Chintamani Temple is one among eight temple of Ashtavinayak. People visit this temple after visiting Varad Vinayak temple.
Temple and Idol
Main temple is north facing but the statue of Ganesha is east facing. The trunk of the idol is turned towards left with jewels studded in eyes. There is hardly any features visible, it is smeared with vermilion (sindur). The idol is interpreted to be sitting in crossed leg position.
The temple had a wooden assembly hall (sabha mandapa). Hall has a black stone water fountain. This temple has a separate section for meditation.
King Abhijit had a son named Ganasura. He was very strong but very greedy and hot headed warrior king. He pleased Lord Shiva with his worship. Shiva granted the kingship of the three world heaven, earth and underworld and also granted him a boon that nobody can defeat him.
Once Ganasura went to the ashram of sage Kapila, who owned a wish granting jewel Chintamani.
Sage Kapila served the prince and his army with delicious food created with the help of jewel. Greedy prince desire to acquire the jewel. When sage refuse to grant him the jewel Ganasura seized the jewel fro the sage.
Sage Kapila was a great devotee of Ganesha so he prayed him. Ganesha was pleased with the devotion and he brought the gem back. But sage refused to take it back instead he put that on Lord Ganesha’s neck. Thus the deity here is known as Chintamani Vinayak. This happened under a kadamb tree therefore Theur is also known as Kadambanagar.
Another legend says that name Theur originated from sanskrit word ‘Sthavar’, which means stable. It is believed that once Lord Brahma has meditated here so his restless mind became sthavar or stable because of blessing of Lord Ganesha. Since Ganesha helped Brahma to get rid of his chinta’s or worries, hence he is known as Chintamani.
There is one more interesting legend which says that Lord Indra has worshipped Ganesha under Kadamba tree to get rid off sage Gautama’s curse hence, the place is known as Kadamba Nagar.
In Ashvinayak Yatra, people visit this temple after visiting Varad Vinayak. After this people visit Girijatmaj.
Varada Vinayak temple is one among the Ashtavinayak temple, located in Madh village of Raigad district, Maharashtra. People visit this temple after visiting Balleshwar temple, and then proceed to the next temple which is Chintamani Temple, in Pune.
The Ganesha idol of the temple is self originated (swayambhu). The idol is facing east with its trunk turned to left. This temple also has idols of mushika, Navagraha devatas and Shivalinga. Temple also has four gates and idol of elephant is on each gate.
There is a lamp Nandadeep is said to be burning continuously since 1892. In this temple devotee can enter the Garbhagriha and pay their homage and respect to the idol personally.
Bhima, king of Kaudamyapur was childless. He along with his wife met sage Vishwamitra. Sage gave them a mantra to chant. King was blessed with a son, they named him Rukmaganda. He grew into a handsome prince.
Once he was hunting in a forest and reached a ashram of rishi Vachaknavi. When Rishi’s wife Mukunda saw Rukmaganda she fell in love with him and asked him to fulfill her desire. Rukmaganda refused to do so and left the ashram. Mukunda became lovesick. Lord Indra saw her plight so he took the form of Rukmaganda and made love to her. Mukunda became pregnant and gave birth to a son, Gritsamada.
When Gritsamada learned about the circumstances of his birth he cursed his mother to become unattractive thorny berry bearing ‘Bhor’ plant. Mukunda also cursed him that a cruel demon will be born from him. Suddenly, they both heard a heavenly voice that Gritsamada was son of Lord Indra. Both were shocked after hearing this but, it was too late their curses could not be altered. Mukunda was transformed into Bhor plant and ashamed Gritsamada went to forest to prayed Lord Ganesha for a reprieve.
Lord Ganesha was pleased by his penance and offered him a boon that he will have a son who would not be defeated by anybody except Lord Shiva. Gritsamada also requested Ganesha to bless the forest and stay there permanently. Gritsamada built a temple there.
Ganesha idol is called Varada Vinayak, forest is known as Bhadraka.
Ballaleshwar Temple is located in village of Pali, in Raigarh district of Maharashtra. This is the only temple of Lord Ganesha which is famous by the name of his devotee. This temple is one among the eight temples of Lord Ganesha. This temple is to be visited after Siddhivinayak Temple by the devotees who are doing Ashtavinayak yatra.
The original temple was made of wood, which was later renovated in 1760. It is built in shape of Shree and is made by mixing lead with cement during construction.
The idol of Ganesha in this temple is in sitting position with its trunk turned left. Idol has diamond in eyes and naval. Statues of Goddess Riddhi and Siddhi is on either side of Ganesha waving chamras (hand fan). The statue of Ganesha is east facing and i placed such that during sunrise and sunset sun rays falls directly on the statue.
The temple has two sanctum one outer and inner. Outer sanctum has a statue of rat holding modak and facing Ganesha. Main hall has 8 pillars resembling cypress tree.
It’s a devotional story of a small boy Ballala.
Ballala was an ardent devotee of Lord Ganesha. He spent most of his time worshipping and influencing other friends to do so. Parents of other children were not very happy with this they though Ballala was misleading their children so they asked Ballala’s to restrain him.
One day Ballala was performing a special puja and invited all his friends. The puja went on for several days and devoted children refused to go to home before completion of puja. This annoyed the parents they complained to ballala’s father about this.
Furious father, Kalyan seth went to the place were puja was being performed. He threw the Ganesha idol in forest and beat Ballala severely. Though Balallam was tired and injured but still continued chanting the name of Ganesha. Pleased with the devotion of the little boy Ganesha appeared before .Little boy Ballalla requested him to take abode at his village.
Ganesha said that he will also be known by his name, hence he is known as Ballaleshwar.
The stone statue which Ballalla’s father threw on ground is known as Dhundi Vinayak.
Today also this Swayambhu Murti is worshipped before Ballaleshwar.
Siddhivinayak temple is located in Prabhadevi, Mumbai, Maharashtra. In Marathi, Siddhivinayak is also known as Navsacha Ganapati, Navasala Pavanara Ganpati which means Ganpati bestows whenever humbly genuinely prayed. It is believed that it was here on the Siddhatek mountain Vishnu acquired Siddhi and as such the idol of Lord Ganesha here is called Siddhivinayak. The temple was first consecrated on 19th nov. in 1801. This is the second temple to be visited by the pilgrim in Ashtavinayak Yatra. Siddhi Vinayak is Ganesha who grants you wish. Today Siddhivinayak temple is considered as richest temple in Mumbai.
That original temple was small, it consist of a hall, a sanctum sanctorum and some free open space. The temple administrative office was on the right side and a water tank was in the front.
The idol of shri Siddhivinayak is 2.5 feet wide and 2.5 feet high. It is carved in a single stone. The deity has a third eye on its forehead, which resembles third eye of Lord Shiva. The deity here has four hands (chatrabhuj). In the upper right hand Ganesha is holding a lotus, and a small axe in upper left hand. A holy beads or rosemary in lower right hand and a bowl full of modak in its lower left hand. The trunk of Ganesha in this form is slightly twisted towards right making it unique. Around the neck deity has a snake like sacred thread. On both side are two idols of goddess Riddhi and Buddhi.
When Lord Brahma was busy in creating the world. While this was going on Lord Vishnu fell asleep. Two demons, Madhu and Kaitabha emerged from his ears. Both the demons started troubling all Gods , Goddesses and sages. Lord Brahma and other Gods requested Vishnu to kill the the demons. Though Vishnu fought for 5000 years but still was unable to defeat them. So Vishnu prayed to Lord Ganesha got siddhi and then killed the demon. Hence, the place where Vishnu performed penance is called Siddhatek and Lord Ganesha who conferred siddhi is known as Siddhivinayak.
Today the temple has undergone a complete architectural transformation. It took three years to renovate the 200 year old temple. Keeping the idol intact temple has been built into a unique multiangular six storeyed structure. That reaches to the sky. Temple has a main central gold plated dome, small crown that surrounds are made of gold and panchdhatu. Main stone used were marble and pink granite. The wooden doors of the sanctum are carved with images of ashtavinayak. Siddhivinayak Temple is a good example of fine architecture.
This temple is one of the main attractions Mumbai City. Lord Ganesha takes away all the pain of the devotee and showers his blessings.
Moreshwar is a famous temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Moreshwar Temple is one among the eight temples of Ashtavinayak temples.
This temple is situated in Moregaon which is about 80 kms. from Pune city. At Moreshwar temple Lord Ganesha portrays peacock as its vehicle. In local language more or mayura means peacock, hence both temple and village has derived its name after the bird peacock.
This temple is most important and auspicious among the eight temples. As people begin their yatra by visiting Moreshwar temple first and ending it by visiting the temple again. This is the only temple among eight to be visited twice in ashtavinayak yatra.
This temple is in the center of the village with 50 feet high dome and four pillars in the corner. The temple is made of black stone and has four gates. A big Nandi bull made of black stone is sitting in front of the main gate and facing towards Moreshwar, the main deity.
In the eight corners of the temple are eight statues of Lord Ganesha namely
In the eastern gate, is the idol of Lakshminarayana. In the Southern gate is the idol of goddess Parvati and lord Shiva. In the western gate idols of Rati and Kama. In the Northern gate resides Mahivaraha.
Mayureshwar is three eyed and is in sitting posture with its trunk turned on to left. The idol is smeared with vermillion with diamonds placed in eyes and naval. The Nagraj is seen on the head of the deity. On either side are the brass idols of Siddhi and Buddhi. Mooshak and peacock stands in the front of the idol.
Lord Brahma created the idol of Moreshwar
It is believed that The Brahma consecrated the original idol, which is made of sand iron and diamonds. This was later enclosed in copper sheet by Pandavas and was placed behind the idol which is now worshipped.
The idol which is worshipped is smeared with thick layer of vermillion, hence it looks bigger than the original idol. It is believed that the layers of vermillion is cast off once in every century.
The idol of Nagna Bhairava is on the left of the main deity and is worshipped first by offering coconut and jaggery.
Long time ago a sage named Kashyap had two wives, Kudru and Vinta. Kudru sons snakes imprisoned Vinta’s sons Shyen, Sampati and Jatayu. Vinta was very disappointed. After few years she got one more son. However when her son was in the form of egg young Ganesha broke that egg and peacock came out of the egg. The newly born peacock had a intense fight with Ganesha. Finally, Vinta intervened to stop the fight and peacock agreed to become the vehicle of Ganesha but, laid a condition. Peacock wanted its name to be pronounced before Ganesha, and Ganesha should be popular by his name. Ganesha agreed to this and took the name of Mayuresh for himself. With the help of peacock he released Vinta’s sons from imprisonment.
Another interesting legend
There was a king named Chakrapani and his wife queen Ugra were childless. After worshipping Lord Surya ugra conceived. But, the brilliance and radiance of the foetus was such that Ugra was unable to nurture the embryo in her womb, so she released the embryo into the sea.
A brilliant and dominant child was born from that embryo. The guardian of the child, Sea, disguised as brahmin and handed over the child to the King Chakrapani. The child was named Sindhu, he grew into one of the strongest human on earth. He worshipped Lord Surya. Pleased with the worship Surya gave him nectar and said he will be immune to death as long as the nectar will remain near his navel. Unfortunately his blessing became curse for other Gods, as he started misusing his immortality.
He started fighting with Gods and even held Lord Vishnu and Indra in captive. Then other God prayed to Lord Ganesha to save them Sindhu.
Lord Ganesha promised to take birth as son of goddess Parvati and kill Sindhu. Lord Ganesha came riding on peacock and killed Sindhu with his Parashu in one go.
Genesha was hence named Mayureshwar, one riding on peacock. After the fight was over Ganesha decided to reside in Morgaon in his Mayureshwar form for the sake of his devotee.
He is the son of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, has the blessing that his worship should be performed before all gods. Following are some of the unknown and interesting facts about Lord Ganesha.
Broken tusk and writing of Mahabharata
First story is about the broken tusk of the Lord.
When Sage Vyasa decided to write Mahabharata, he wanted someone to help him with the writing. He approached Lord Ganesha for help. Ganesha accepted the job but put forth a condition that you will have to recite the tale without a pause and without a break. If you stop even once, I will stop writing.
Vyasa accepted this condition from Lord Ganesha. But, he too set a condition that Ganesha should understand every thing before writing. Ganesha agreed. Both sat down to create an epic.Vyas started narrating his epic at a great speed and Ganesha took down the dictation fast and furious. However, soon Ganesha’s pen broke. It could not keep pace with Maharishi’s recital.
Ganesha understood that he had been a little too proud and underestimated the Maharshri’s intellectual powers. Quietly he broke off one of his tusks, dipped it in ink and used it as a pen. As for Vyasa, whenever he would get tired he would compose a particular difficult stanza.
Ganesha would spend few seconds trying to figure out the lines and Maharishi would get a break. Ganesha and Vyasa spend 3 years writing the epic. Although several stanzas of Mahabharata are said to be lost, even today the epic stands 100,000 stanzas long.
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Swarg Lok, was buzzing with excitement. Lord Vishnu was sending out invitation for his wedding to goddess Lakshmi. The wedding was to take place at Kundanpur, Lakshmi’s home town.
The Gods were busy taking out there finest jewels for the wedding. They planned to impress Lakshmi and her town people with a grand marriage procession. Guests started assembling at Vishnu’s house. Suddenly,the gods saw Ganesha entering Vishnu’s house. They were very upset to see him.
They did not want Ganesha to come along with with them to Kundanpur. They said he eat too much and look weird. Not only does he have an elephant head, he is very fat too. and his feet look like jugs and tummy sticks out a mile.we are all such handsome fellows, we would feel embarrassed walking along with such strange looking person. They informed Vishnu about their decision, Vishnu didn’t want to leave Ganesha behind, but under pressure from gods, he had to accede.
They asked Vishnu to tell Ganesha to stay back to look after swarglok.Vishnu did as he was told. Ganesha felt bad about missing out on the wedding,he accepted the task. Narad,a real mischief-maker told every thing to Ganesha, and gave him a brilliant plan how to get back at other gods.
Narad said Ganesha, the mouse you ride is the chief of the mice, ask him to take army of mice and dig under the road the marriage procession plans to take. The hollowed out road will not be able to bear the weight of chariots,elephants, carriages and horses in the procession.As soon as any one steps on it,the road will get crumble and all will get stuck.
Ganesha was delighted with the plan. He sent his mouse scurrying to the task. Things just happened as Narad had planned. As soon as Vishnu’s chariot rolled on to the hollowed-out section, the road crumbled. The horses tumbled down and the chariot wheel sank deep into the earth. The entire parade came to halt.
The gods were unable to pull out the wheels. a farmer who saw gods struggling offered to help. Although gods didn’t believe the farmer could do much , yet they decided to give him a chance. Shouting Jai Ganesha in one jerk the wheel came up. One god asked him why he shouted Jai Ganesha before pulling out the carriage. The farmer replied that Ganesha is remover of all obstacles. He is the God of beginning. So, he always pray to him before starting any work. Gods were very ashamed The farmer simple words reminded that looks do not matter.It’s person’s greatness and goodness that really counts. They went back to Ganesha, apologise and begged him to join the procession.
Punishment to Moon
Ganesha, the pot bellied elephant god, loved food and could spend entire day, eating. Once on a moonlit night after stuffing himself with his favourite sweet, ladoo, he went for a ride on his vahana, a tiny rat. The rat could not bear his weight and tripped. Ganesha fell on the ground with a thud. The moon laughed,seeing this funny sight. Seeing the moon mocking him, Ganesha got angry. He cursed the moon saying that any man who looked at the moon on Ganesha Chaturthi, would be wrongly blamed.
The moon, realized its mistake, and begged Ganesha to remove his curse. But Ganesha was adamant, finally after a long time, Ganesha gave in and reduced the punishment. He could not take back his curse, but said that falsely accused person would have to look at the Moon on the second day of the fortnight to win back his good name.
The elephant god
One day, Goddess Parvati wanted to take bath, but there was no one to guard her. So she created a young boy with the sandal wood paste. She named the little boy Ganesha. Parvati asked him not to allow anyone to enter while she bathed. Soon Lord Shiva returned and was surprised to see Ganesha. Ganesha refused to allow Lord Shiva to enter the house.
Lord Shiva was furious and sent his bull, Nandi, to fight the little boy but Ganesha defeated Nandi. After a fierce fight between Lord Shiva and Gaesha, Shiva cut off Ganesha’s head. When Parvati came out and saw her son dead, she was furious. Shiva tried to console her but she couldn’t stop crying.
She ordered Shiva to bring him back to life. Shiva asked Nandi to bring the head of the first creature he found. Nandi returned with the head of an elephant. Lord Shiva placed the elephant head on the Ganesha’s body and bring him back to life. Shiva gave him the title of Ganpati, and all other God’s declared him the God of beginnings. All would have to pray him before starting anything new.
Long long ago, there lived a terribly wicked asura, Gajamukh. He wanted to become richest and strongest king ever. He was already king of asura but wanted to become king of peoples and God’s world too. He decided to impress Lord Shiva and ask ed God to grant him with magical powers. He left his palace, started living in jungle and worshipping Shiva.
Without eating or drinking, and standing on just one foot, he prayed to Shiva every day. Several years passed and finally Lord Shiva was impressed and granted him all the magical powers he wanted. The most special of these was that no weapon could harm him. Gajamukh then started misusing his powers first, he conquered the world and then he started attacking Gods.
Only Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma and Ganesha remained unconquered by him. Gajamukh ordered everyone to worship him and only him. Then Lord Shiva, asked his son Ganesha to punish him. A terrible fight between Ganesha and Gajamukh started. Swords, spear, arrors all bounced off the asura because of the boon he was granted.
Finally Ganesha, broke his tusk an threw it on Gajamukh wounding him badly. Still Gajamukh was not ready to give up. He turned himself into a mouse and rushed at Ganesha. Ganesha jumped and sat down on his back. Crushed under Ganesha’s weight, Gajamukh had to accept his defeat. Ganesha decided to punish him by keeping him as a mouse and keeping him as a vehicle. Gajamukh was also happy with the arrangement and became Ganesha’s friend now.
A fistful of rice
There was a little village, named Ganeshpur. People of Ganeshpur loved Lord Ganesha.Peoples were busy in a big Ganpati festival. Villagers were busy in cleaning and decorating the village and women were busy in cooking sweets. Meanwhile a little boy entered the village with little rice in one hand and and a spoonful of rice on other hand His clothes were torn and face was dirty.
He walked through the village shouting ‘Here I come with a spoonful of milk and a fistful of rice. cook me kheer and Ganesha will give you prize. But the people were too busy to pay him any attention. Then the boy reached the hut of a poor,old women. she lived alone, and was sick but still decided to help the little boy. She said I can make kheer but I have nothing to cook. The little boy said don’t worry amma borrow a big pot from your neighbour.
The old lady thought the little boy was being silly but did what he wanted.She put the fistful of rice and a spoonful of milk into the pot, added some sugar and put it on fire. The little boy said amma, the kheer will take some time to cook. I will go and have a bath. when I will come back we can eat together. The boy ran away and the old women fell asleep.
Suddenly she woke up by delicious smell. She got up and look inside. she was shocked to see that the pot was brimming over with creamy white kheer. This site made her mouth water and irresistible to wait for the little boy. Finally, she decided to eat, first she too a little bit and offered to Ganesha and then took large portion for herself. In one gulp she finished, then she took another then another yet the pot remained full. when the little boy came, he asked for the kheer.
Quietly the old women put the bowl in front of him. The boy asked and where is your bowl amma. Red faced, the old women confessed, that I ate without waiting for you. The little boy said, don’t worry amma I have eaten the kheer too. But when you have just came. The boy said, don’t you remember amma before eating you have offered some to Ganesha. Well I am the same Ganesha said the boy changing into true form.
The old women fell crying at Ganesha feet. Ganesha picked her and said you are very kind to me now make a wish. The old women was very intelligent. She asked Ganesha to give me health,give me wealth, surrounded me with lots of daughters and sons. Let me live long enough to see my great great grand sons. Ganesha granted her the wish. The old women was very happy and she thanked Ganesha for making her wish come true.
Mr and Mrs frog
Mr and Mrs. frog lived in the well behind the king’s palace. What a perfect life they led! they spend the whole day lolling around the sun. If they felt hot, they would pop into the pool for a quick swim. And if in case they felt bored, they would simply nip into the palace and watch the people there.
They thought men’s are very very funny creatures because they were tall and walk on two legs, have clear skin and are always in hurry and scurry. They both hop back to the well and examine there brilliant green skin full of warts and feel happier then ever and feel how lucky they are to be born as frog.
But there was one problem in frog’s life. It was Ganesha. Mrs frog was great follower of Ganesha, She chant Ganesha’s name throughout the day to thank him for giving them such a nice life. Mr frog was terribly jealous of this. He hate to hear his wife taking name of Ganesha and would quarrel with her. He said I am your husband and I will give you all happiness in this world so, you should stop taking Ganesha’s name instead you should take my name.
One day a maid came to draw water from the well . The frogs got drawn along with the water. Maid didn’t noticed them and set the pot on fire. to warm the water. Poor frogs tried to jump out but the pot was so deep that they couldn’t. Mr frog croaked , ‘Dear wife , why don’t you pray to your lord Ganesha ? He might help us. Mrs frog said ,dear husband , you have often told me that a good wife only chants her husbands name. Mr frog croaked you misunderstood me no one becomes a bad wife by chanting Ganesha’s name. But husband chant irritates you.
Wife, hot water irritates me more. So, please pray to God to rescue us. Mrs frog took a promise that he would never stop her from taking his name. Mrs frog pleaded for mercy within minutes the pot overturned and fell from fire. All water spelled out and both frog hopped back to well. Now they both sit in the sun singing Ganesha’s praises.
Once, Narada took a mango to Lord Shiva and Parvati where the two sons of Lord were also present. He presented the mango to Parvati and said that this mango is special and requested her to accept the mango. Parvati intended to distribute the fruit between her two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya equally, but sage Narada intervened and said that this fruit cannot be cut into two and can be consumed by a single person only.
Narada suggested to have a competition between the two brothers, and the winner of the contest will be awarded the mango. Kartikeya enquired about the competition and after much thought, Narada suggested – ‘Whoever goes around the world three times first will win the mango’. Both brothers agreed to the condition put forth by Narada.
Hearing this, Kartikeya got on to the peacock and went to go around the world. Ganesha did not have a peacock or anything else he could ride so he thought for a while. He then went around Shiva and Parvathi three times and went to claim his prize saying. ‘ My Parents are the world for me. I have won the competition.
Ganesha further said that Lord Shiva and Parvati are the first couple and whole universe is created with them. When he circled them three times, it was equivalent to circling the world three times. Thus he claimed his prize and started to eat the mango. When Kartikeya came back duly circling the earth three times, he found clever Ganesha eating the mango.
When he learnt that his elder brother had got the fruit by his fast thinking instead of running around, he accepted his defeat. On the other hand, Ganesha had won the contest by virtue of using his superior intellect and Kartikeya had to accept defeat in his favour.
When Bhagiratha brought Ganga from Lord Shiva’s hair, some part of Ganga remained with him. Parvati, being the consort of Shiva, didn’t like this. Parvati resolved that a way had to be found to remove Ganga from Shiva’s hair. She tried persuasion, but Shiva refused to listen.
There was a drought on earth at this time which lasted for fourteen years. Sage Goutam hermitage was spared with this drought. Other people also gathered in the hermitage to save themselves from the drought and Gautam welcomed them all. Ganesha thought that he might be able to devise a way to please his mother Parvati and Ganga may leave Shiva.
Ganesha started to live in Sage Gautam’s hermitage and became friendly with everyone. One of the Parvati’s companion, Jaya was also with him. Ganesha told Jaya that she was to adopt the form of a cow and eat up the grain in Gautam’s fields. And the moment she was struck,
she was to lie down on the ground and pretend to be dead.
Soon, Sage Gautam noticed that a cow was eating the grain. He struck the cow with a blade of grass and the cow fell down. Everyone thought that the cow was killed and it was a capital sin. Nobody wanted to stay in the hermitage. Lord Ganesha proposed a solution to the sage. “You will have to bring down Ganga from Shiva’s hair,” replied Ganesh. When Ganga water touches the body of the cow, then you are free of your sin.
Ganesha was so friendly with the other sages that they all accepted his solution. Gautam also agreed to do the needful. Sage Gautam went to Mount Kailash and began to pray to Shiva. Shiva was pleased at Gautam’s penance and offered to grant a boon.
Gautam wished that Ganga might be brought down to earth. Shiva agreed. It was thus that Ganga was brought down to earth by the sage Gautam. Ganga has four tributaries in heaven, seven on earth and four in the underworld. Since it was Gautam who brought Ganga down to earth, the river is also known as Gautami Ganga.
Thus, wise Ganesha found a solution to the problem of his mother. This story is from the Brahma Purana.
The birth of Lord Ganesha birth can be regarded as interesting as any story could be. Ganesha was born unknown to Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati needed someone to guard the chambers while she was taking bath. It happened in the past that Shiva devotee allowed him access when she did not want this to happen. So, She made a figure with turmeric paste and put life into it. Then she asked the boy, Ganesha not to allow anyone to enter the house. Ganesha followed his mother’s orders to the word and did not allow Shiva any access to the house.
Shiva got angry and asked his followers to attack the boy. But they were conquered. Shiva got surprised. Realizing that this was no ordinary boy, Shiva decided to fight himself, and in his divine fury cut Ganesha’s head, killing him quickly. When Parvati came to know of this, she was so angry that she decided to destroy the whole universe. But Lord Brahma pleaded that she reconsider her intent. She said she would if two conditions were met: One, that Ganesha be brought back to life, and two, that he be forever worshipped before all the other gods.
Brahma also suggested that he replace Ganesha’s head with the first living being that came his way with its head facing north. Shiva then sent his followers to bring the head of a creature they happened to find sleeping with its head facing north. They found a dying elephant which slept in this manner, and after its death took its head. Shiva attached the elephant’s head to Ganesha’s body and brought him back to life. Ganesha is worshipped by everyone before beginning any puja.
There are other stories which not as popular as the above:
Lord Ganesha and Shani
Another less popular story of lord Ganesha’s birth as written in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana. Eager to have a son, Parvati decided that she would keep a year-long fast to appease lord Vishnu. At the end of her fast lord Vishnu was duly appeased and gave her the boon of a son. In some stories, the son is a reincarnation of lord Krishna, another prominent Hindu deity.
On the joyous occasion of the birth of their son, whom they named Ganesha, Shiva and Parvati invited all the gods to their abode in Mount Kailash to look upon the baby. While all the gods bestowed the young lord Ganesha with gifts, there was one god who refused to look at the child.
This was the god Shani, son of the god Surya. The gaze of Shani is said to cast a bad omen on which it is directed. So Shani had a very good reason to not look at Ganesha. But Parvati insisted that Shani must look at the face of his ‘nephew’. Very reluctantly, Shani finally agreed and cast a quick look towards the young lord Ganesha. Almost immediately the child’s head fell off, in some stories it turns to ashes.
Parvati was devastated and it was lord Vishnu who came to her rescue. In one quick movement, he had mounted his vahana and had gone to fetch a replacement head. Returning with the head of a young elephant he had found of the banks of a river, lord Vishnu placed the head on the lifeless torso of the boy. The boy was brought back to life to the joy and utmost relief of both Shiva and Parvati. And so the naughty, fun loving god Ganesha was born.
Sage Kashyap’s curse
Yet another story mentions a completely different reason for the birth and subsequent replacement of Lord Ganesha’s head with that of a young elephant. But in this case the story starts a little differently. Aditya was one of the sons of the great sage Kashyapa, one of the seven great Rishi or sages. According to the story, Shiva, in a mistake, slew Aditya by cutting off his head. Kashyapa cursed the great lord Shiva that the same fate would befall the first born son of Shiva and when that happened, the child’s head would be replaced by the head of Indra’s elephant. And so, Ganesha, the elephant headed god was born.
In another twist to the same tale, when Shiva cut off the head of Aditya, He replaced it with Indra’s elephant’s head and brought him back to life. Kashyapa was very incensed by Shiva’s act and he put a curse on Shiva. According to the curse, the first born child of lord Shiva would be born with an elephant head. In the case of this particular story, Ganesha was already born with an elephant head unlike other stories where he acquires his elephant head later.
Lord Ganpati, who is the destroyer of all evils, has 108 names. Some of the popular and not so popular are listed here. He is the great Vinayaka. The most important celebrated is the Ganesha Chaturthi festival.
Why people do not look at Moon on Ganesha Chaturthi
There is an interesting story on why people do not look at Moon on the day of Ganesha Chaturthi. There is a myth associated with this festival. If someone looks at the moon on the night of Ganesha chaturthi , then he would be falsely accused. According to the legend, once Ganesha ate lots of sweets and his stomach swell and became huge. He set out at night on his mouse. His mouse saw a snake and was scared. As a result, he tumbled so Ganesha fell down and his stomach burst open. Ganesha caught hold of snake and tied it around his stomach. Moon was watching Lord Ganesha and he started laughing. Ganesha was annoyed with this behaviour of moon. He pulled out his tusk and hurled it against the moon and curse him that no one would look at him, on the day of Ganesha chaturthi. If someone does that then he will earn a bad name. Since then people refrain from looking at moon on Ganesha chaturthi festival.