Mythical Mahabala

Mythical Mahabala

The gaze of Shani

There are several accounts of how Ganesha got his elephant head. Here is a lesser known legend from ‘Brahma Vaivarta Purana’. Lord Shiva persuaded Parvati to fast for a year to please Vishnu so that he would grant her a son. After the completion of fasting, Vishnu announced that Lord Krishna would incarnate himself as her son in every kalpa (billions of years).

Accordingly, Krishna was born to Parvati as a charming baby. All the Gods were invited to see him. However, Shani (Saturn), the son of Surya, hesitated to look at the baby since his look is believed to be harmful. But on Parvati’s insistence, Shani looked at the baby. Due to this the baby’s head fell off and flew to Goloka. Seeing Shiva and Parvati grief stricken, Vishnu went on Garuda’s back to the banks of the Pushpa-Bhadra river from where he brought the head of a young elephant. The head of the elephant was joined with the headless body of Parvati's son, thus reviving him. The infant was named Ganesha and all the Gods blessed him and wished him power and prosperity.

He who ate everything

Kubera once went to Kailasha to invite Shiva for lunch in his city Alakapuri so that he could show off his wealth. Shiva did not accept his invitation but said he would send his son Ganesha. Shiva warned Kubera that his son was a heavy eater.

Kubera thought he could satiate Ganesha’s hunger. He took Ganesha to his city and the feast began. Ganesha ate voraciously and his craving for food did not decrease even after he was served the food prepared for other guests. He continued to ask for more.  Finally, there was nothing left to be served to Ganesha. Stlll hungry, he started eating the furniture, decorations and whatever was available in the palace.  Kubera realised his folly and fell at Ganesha’s feet and requested him to spare his palace.  But Ganesha threatened Kubera that he would eat up even him as he was still hungry. Kubera immediately went to Kailasa to plead with Lord Shiva.  Then Lord Shiva told Kubera to offer Ganesha roasted rice with love and affection. By the time Kubera returned from Kailasha, Ganesha had almost finished up eating the whole city. Kubera offered him roasted rice with devotion. This satisfied Ganesha and calmed him down.

(Ganesha Purana)

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