Clever Ganesha and Sage Gautam

Ganesha – The Rescuer

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.

Lord Shiva, Parvati and Ganesha
Lord Shiva, Parvati and Ganesha

 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.

Lord Shiva
Lord Shiva

 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.


  1. Very nice post. Very informative. I think, it resembles the Sthala Purana of Shri Trayabakeshwar Temple (One of the twelve jyotir lingas), where the Godhavari River originates, by the penance of The Gowthama Maharishi.