The Lord with a single tusk

Many Ganesha idols depict Him with one full tusk and one half. Ever wonder why? Well, there are basically two versions to this tale and you can decide which one seems more plausible 🙂


One tale says that Parshuram wanted to meet with Lord Shiva to thank Him for giving him the strength to fight off his enemies Kartavirya Arjuna and the kings allied with him. However, as he tried to enter the holy adobe at Mount Kailash, Lord Ganesha stopped him saying Lord Shiva was resting with His wife, Parvati Maa and it wouldn’t be appropriate to disturb them. Enraged, Parshuram lunged at Lord Ganesha and triggered an epic fight that Lord Ganesha was clearly winning until Parushuram hurls a huge axe at him. Since the axe was a gift from Lord Shiva, Ganesha didn’t want that blow to go in vain and received the axe with his left tusk, thus cleanly breaking it off!


The other version of why he has one tusk is my personal favourite. The story goes that Sage Vyasa needed someone to write the Mahabharata saga for him. Not just anyone someone, he wanted someone who was wise and intelligent. After great thought, he approached Lord Shiva to persuade Lord Ganesha to participate in this task. Lord Ganesha readily agreed but on two conditions. One being that the sage musn’t pause in his narration, not even to draw his breath and the other was that there should be an endless supply of Modaks available for him. If either of these rules were flouted, Lord Ganesha said he would stop writing and not complete the tale at all. Sage Vyasya agreed but put forward a condition of his own. He said that Lord Ganesha would have to understand every verse and hymn before penning it down as they were all very difficult.


And this is how the writing of the great saga commenced. Lord Ganesha was able to understand and note down each verse that was narrated to Him, however, the speed at which he was writing made his pen wear down and he couldn’t find anything else to write with. Remembering his own vow of not stopping, he broke off his own left tusk to use it as a pen.

Both stories are equally enchanting and intriguing. Both share different personality aspects of this incredibly multi-faceted God. Take a look and decide which one you think rings true…


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