After a full week of celebration of Lord Ganesha in most mandirs (temples) across Mauritius, we thought you could be interesting to understand how he got his elephant head.
Ganesha is believed to be the son of Parvati and Shiva. Parvati created Ganesh (who then had a human head) and ordered him to guard the entrance while she would have her bath. Just then, Shiva turned up and wanted to see Parvati. Ganesh forbade him to do so and in a fit of rage, he decapitated the boy’s head. Parvati was so devastated that Shiva promised her to bring Ganesh back to life.
According to one of the various versions, the head being flung so far, could not be found and therefore the first living being that Shiva came across was an elephant which in turn was decapitated and that is how Ganesh gained his elephant head.
Ganesha’s vehicle is an Indian rat or a bandicoot. He has a broken tusk and it is believed that it had been broken to be used to write the Mahabarata. Sweet food is often given as an offering to Lord Ganesha as he is fond of laddu – an Indian speciality (which is the cause of his protruding belly as mentioned in a few sources!). Lord Ganesh or Ganesha is worshipped by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Shingon Buddhists (Japan) where he is known as Kangiten.
Vinayaki is believed to be the shakti (feminine form) of Ganesh. She is not very popular but appears in religious literature. While Ganesh is worshipped as the remover of obstacles, Vinayaki is sometimes presented as the Mistress of obstacles. In the Hindu mythology, there are many other elephant-headed female goddesses. However, they are often considered as cursed goddesses.
Brought to you by AIM. Mauritius. 2018