So why DOES he have an elephant’s head? Let’s find out…
Long back, one day, Shiv Ji was off hunting in the jungle. Parvati Maa need to finish a lot of household chores and then go for Her bath. Since they were in the jungle, She was worried about somebody wandering in or a guest going unattended.
After spending some time in deep thought, She collected sandalwood from the nearby trees and brought it back to their cottage. Fashioning the wood into the form of a young boy, She gently smoothed the young shoulders and touched the little feet. Lovingly She caressed the cheeks and lips of the small, peaceful face. Slowly, She breathed life into him.
When He blinked and smiled at Her, She looked at him happily and told him, ‘I need some help from you.’
He bowed low and said, ‘Whatever you wish, Maa’
‘Stand by the door and watch for anyone who might want to enter the house. Ask them to wait while I finish taking a bath and come out to meet them. Let no one pass, my son.’
‘Yes Maa. Don’t worry, I will fulfil your wish.’
Shortly after this discussion, Shiv Ji returned from his hunt and made to enter the house. Seeing a young boy guarding the door, He got worried. ‘Who are you and where is Parvati?’
‘Maa is taking her bath and cannot receive anyone right now. Please wait while she comes out and talks to you.’
Tired and hungry, Shiv Ji spent several minutes trying to convince the little boy that He is the master of this house and He of all people had a right to be allowed inside. But the boy didn’t budge an inch. Eventually, He had had enough. ‘YOU INSOLENT CHILD! I SHALL NOT SPEND ANY MORE TIME PARLEYING WITH YOU! MOVE OUT OF MY WAY RIGHT NOW!’
‘I am sorry but I cannot disobey my mother’s wishes’ said the boy bowing low.
Shiv Ji took his trident and swiped off the boy’s head in a clean sweep. Parvati Maa had stepped out on hearing the altercation and when she saw the little head hit the floor, she went down on her knees and wept for her lost child. Shiv Ji knelt near her with concern but she was inconsolable.
‘He was my son! OUR son! Bring him back to me’, she said.
‘But…’ Shiv Ji faltered on seeing Her wrath. ‘Bring me the head of the first animal you see in the jungle. QUICK!’ He was instructed.
A relatively short while later, Shiv Ji came back with an elephant head. ‘This is the first animal I saw Parvati. I am sorry…’ Parvati Maa took the head and gently placed it on the small shoulders. She lowered Her head over it and bent all her will into bringing her son back to life.
Slowly He stirred and shook himself back to life. He stood up and looked at His mother and then His father.
‘Bless me, my parents’, He said, bowing low touch their feet.
Parvati Maa blessed him saying, ‘You will be worshipped as a God with all the others, my son’.
When he straightened, he was no longer just a miracle boy. He was GAJANANA. Our very own, Lord Ganesha.