Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Ganapati - The Remover of Obstacles


Ganapati is the son of Shiva and Parvati. He is the commander of the forces of Shiva, who are refered to as Ganas. He is also referred to as Vinayaka or Ganesha. According to some sources, he is said to be the son of Parvati alone. According to this story, when Parvati wished to take a bath, she needed someone to guard the door. She created a child out of mud and gave him life. She bade him to guard the door to her apartment, not letting anybody in. When Shiva tried to enter the apartments of his wife, he found his way barred by this child. No amount of arguments would convince the child to let him in, so in anger, Shiva beheaded him.

When Parvati saw what had happened, she was disraught. To pacify her, Shiva said that he would bring the child back to life on one condition: that she provide the child with an alternate head, as the original head had been destroyed by him.

Parvati sent out the Ganas to search for a suitable head, bidding them to get the head of the first person they see on their way, who is sleeping with their head facing north. The first creature the Ganas found in this manner, was a baby elephant. This elephant was the son of Iyravata, the mount of Indra. When still a baby, this elephant would not bow to Indra, as he was only the master his father and not his. Angered by the insolance of the baby-elphant, Indra banished it from the heavens. It had been foretold that this baby elephant would achieve great things, so it did not worry. It was a devotee of Shiva, and spent all its time in offering prayers to him.

The baby elephant gladly volunteerd to have its head replace that of the divine child. Thus it attained a great position, which was superior to even Indra's. The elephants head was fitted upon the dead child, who promptly came back to life. From that day onwards, he was referred to as the child of both Shiva and Parvati. He is also referred to as Vinayaka and as Ganesha.

Before beginning any endeavor, it is customary to offer prayer to Vinayaka, as he is the remover of obstacles or vigna-vinayaka. He grants prosperity and wealth to his worshippers, and is the patron deity of merchants, along with Laxmi, the goddess of wealth.

Last Modified At: Thu Oct 21 19:46:00 2004