Lord Ganesha symbolizes His importance as a guard or protector. He is considered an accessible God who is very special to humans. He is closer to humans and understands human problems than Lord Shiva, Vishnu or Brahma. He is truly the ‘God of the People’!
Legends behind the Birth of Lord Ganesha
Parvati Devi, the consort of Lord Shiva, wanted to have a son and She created a baby boy out of dusty layers of her body and named him Ganesha. The boy followed His Mother wherever she went and guarded Her always. One day when the young Ganesha was guarding Her bathing chamber as usual, while Parvati was having bath. During this time, Lord Shiva came in with His Ganas and insisted in entering the complex. But Ganesha adamantly refused to allow him in and the angry Lord Shiva asked His Ganas to kill the boy, unaware of who He was.
But to Lord Shiva’s surprise, the boy overpowered all the Shiva ganas and the extremely infuriated Shiva cut off the boy’s head with His Trishul. When Parvathi came out, she saw the body of her beheaded son and became sad and angry. Meanwhile, Shiva understood that the boy was His son and assigned his Ganas to bring the head of any living being which they first met laying in the northern direction.
The Ganas brought the head of an Elephant and the Trimurthi worked to bring back Ganesha’s life. Lord Shiva accepted him as his son and made him The Lord of His Ganas thus making his name Ganesha truly meaningful. He was also given another name as Gana Nayaka. The Divine Couple blessed the Elephant Head boy that He would be treated and worshipped as any other deity.
No worship will be fruitful unless and until, the prayer begins with Lord Ganesha. This was the Boon Given to Him by His Divine Parents.
There is another story about how Ganesha got His elephant head as explained in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Lord Shiva asked Parvathi to observe the punyaka vrata for a year to appease Lord Vishnu in order to have a son. When a son was born all deities rejoiced. Lord Shani refused to look at the infant. However, on Parvati’s insistence, Shani eyed the child and the head was severed instantly. Lord Vishnu cut the head of a young elephant near the bank of river Pushpabhadra and joined it to the baby’s body thus reviving it.
Why The Elephant Head God Ganesha Rides A Mouse?
Lord Ganesha is humble enough to ride the lowest creature, a mouse that also represent all evil passions like anger, pride and selfishness which is to be controlled.
The Sanskrit word “muṣaka” is derived from the root “muṣ “(stealing, robbing) a type of impediment that has to be overcome. Here Ganesha, like the rat, penetrates even the most secret places. Mouse, being lowliest of the creations, when associated with Ganesha, becomes elevated to a higher plane, indicating that even the most insignificant person when blessed by Ganesha becomes empowered with action and knowledge.
This Ganesha Chaturthi which falls on Septemer 1st is the ideal time to receive the blessing of the Elephant God who is lovingly called ‘God of the People’