Stories relating to birth of Sri Ganapati are found in purana’s with varying details. However one story in particular, which I will try to narrate here, is vary popular. Almost everyone of us has heard this story with great enthusiasm when we were children. This narration appears in the Rudra Samhita of Shiva Purana.
Once, Parvati wanted to have guards to her private chambers. But in Kailasa all the attendants were servants of Lord Shiva. So she thought of creating a attendant of her own. She created a child out of the scurf of her body and gave it life. She called the boy as her son, since he has appeared from her body. She gave him a danda (a stick) to hold. She ordered him to guard her house and not to allow anyone inside.
Lord Shiva came soon and wanted to enter the house. The boy rudely prevented Shiva in doing so. By looking at this shivagana’s got angry and attacked boy. The boy defeated all of them and placed his danda before Lord Shiva stopping him to proceed further. At this behavior of the boy Lord Shiva got vary angry and took his fierce form of Rudra. He then with his shoola beheaded the boy. Seeing this act of her husband Parvati out of motherly affection and grief started lamenting. At the same time she got angry towards rudragana’s who attacked her little child. She created powerful shakti’s and ordered them to attack gana’s. The gana’s unable to face the powers of Durga surrendered to their Lord, Shiva.
Lord Shiva trying to console his grieving consort Parvati, asked her what to do. She demanded her husband to resurrect the child and bless him. Shiva ordered his attendants to go north and bring the head of any creature they can find at first. When Shiva beheaded the boy the head was gulped by one of his gana. They found an elephant and brought its head. The elephant head was then grafted to the body of the boy. Lord Shiva blessed the boy as his son too and made him adhipati (master) of his servant gana’s. He was thus called as Ganapati. News of this strange event spread everywhere and all devata’s, rishi’s, gandharva’s came to see Ganapati. Lord Vishnu and Brahma also blessed him. Shiva again graced Ganapati by making him always to be first honored in all activities thereafter. This is how Ganapati became first venerable (prathama vandita) by all gods and humans alike.
Similar to above story, the event of Sri Ganesha’s marriage is also wonderful. The story goes as following. Once in Kailasa Loka, an argument took place between both brothers Ganapati and Shanmukha. The argument was about who to get married first among the two. Both were able and come of age, seeing this Lord Shiva called for a competition on both. He will be married first who circumambulates the earth and return back to Kailasha. Kumara left for the task immediately riding on his vahana (vehicle) the peacock. Whereas Ganapati thought for a while and started doing pradakshina to his father and mother Shiva Paravati. Entire creation is present in Shiva and Parvati, so Ganapati didn’t bothered doing the instructed task literally. This pradakshina of his father and mother was more than circumambulating of any material object.
Both his parents Lord Shiva and mother Parvati pleased by the intellect of their son, blessed Ganapati. Soon Sri Ganesha accepted the two daughters of Viswarupa Prajapati, Siddhi and Buddhi as his consorts. Beautiful description of this marriage is given in the purana.
The variation occurring and different versions of the same event in various scriptures is due to kalpa-bedha. Similar events take place with variations in different kalpa’s. In the next post we shall see the story of Lord Ganesha from another purana.