Ganesha – Born of Parvati’s Pure Love

8 April 2024
6 mins read
Lord Ganesha

Nandi had done it again! Parvati was furious. Despite warning him repeatedly, Nandi had left her work half-done and had run off behind Shiva who called him to go and watch a wrestling match. 

From her bath, she had heard her husband’s voice as he called out to Nandi who didn’t even bother to check with her before leaving. He had mutely (and perhaps, happily too) followed Shiva. The worst thing was the feeling of desolation she experienced each time something like this happened. She felt alone and uncared for. 

Parvati’s orders and commands always took second place to those of Shiva in Kailash. Shiva’s bidding was considered more prominent than hers. Then, why did Shiva carry on the pretence of being an ‘ardhanarishwara’ giving equal importance to man and woman? He preached, “There is no Shiva without Shakti,” to everyone. Parvati had many names and one of them was Shakti. 

But when she approached him to resolve the inequality meted out to her by Nandi and everyone else at Kailash, Shiva merely chuckled condescendingly, saying that she was making a mountain out of a molehill. 

Parvati decided to take matters into her own hands. She needed someone who would treat her and her commands above Shiva’s. She wondered which Gana would serve her unconditionally. As she went through the list of the senior-level Ganas, she realized there really was no one who fit her bill. Everyone on Kailash had come to believe that Shiva was above Shakti. 

Now, we need to clarify a few things before we move on with this story. Parvati loved her husband and the beautiful cave home he had built for her in Mount Kailash. She also liked the people who worked for her. All of them were respectful and affectionate to her and she returned that love and respect in double measure.

And yet, she felt alone, empty, and desolate. Frequently, she wondered why. And today’s behaviour of Nandi accentuated this feeling of loneliness and being left out more than ever. Because she had specifically told him not to leave without letting her know even if Shiva called for him. 

Parvati realized that the need to be treated as an equal to the man of the house was important to her. This unsatiated need made her feel inadequate and incomplete, a feeling that overflowed into the other aspects of her life. No matter how well she did her job, she found herself wanting. It was time to make herself complete. 

Shakti was no stranger to divine powers. After all, she and her husband were one of the three foremost divine couples in the Hindu world.

She thought to herself, “If I cannot use my divine power now, a day will surely come when I will regret my hesitation.”

She got down to work. She got some turmeric paste and moulded the figure of a handsome boy. As the figure evolved under the magic of her hands, Parvati’s joy multiplied at each stage. Her son was slowly but surely growing out from the depths of her soul. This boy would be a part of her. He would put her and her needs above everyone else’s.

Soon, the figure of the boy was finished. He was handsome with smooth, unblemished skin and sharp features. His eyes seemed to shine with a light of their own. She ran her fingers through the whole statue ensuring every little part felt the life force of her touch. 

She stood back and admired her work of art for a while. It was now time for the final touch. She placed her right palm on his chest and chanted a few magic words. She then breathed into him. 

As the mother’s breath of life touched the boy’s heart, he came to life. He opened his beautiful black eyes and saw his mother looking at him. Seeing his smile for the first time, Parvati’s heart seemed to burst with happiness.

She hugged her handsome son as tears of joy sprang forth from her eyes and flowed copiously down her soft, luscious cheeks. He hugged her back and said, “Mother!” That’s it! That was all that Parvati needed to complete her, the sound of her son calling her “mother!”

She wished Shiva was here so they could both revel in the birth of their son. Shiva and Parvati had gotten their moniker “ardhanarishwara” for a reason. Their life forces intermingled in each other. She had half of her husband’s energy and he had half of her’s. So this child was theirs and not her’s alone.

And yet, a tiny doubt bothered her. Will her husband accept this child as his? Or would he feel offended that she chose to bring a son into the world without his consent?

But Parvati had to wait to see her husband’s reaction because he had gone out and was not expected to be back home until late in the day. 

She decided to focus on her son for the moment and revel in the joy of giving him life. She told him, “Welcome home, my dear boy!” 

“Now I need to go and have a bath in the spring that flows in our backyard. I want you to stand guard outside the main door of our home and not let anyone come in until I finish my bath.”

“As you command, mother!” Replied her son.

She gave him another hug. She also gave him a golden staff as a token of authority to stop anyone who tried to enter her home. Her son took his position in front of the main door as his mother went in and closed the door behind her. 

Soon, Shiva returned with Nandi. 

Both were discussing the intricacies of the wrestling match they saw today. So engrossed were they in their conversation that neither of them noticed the young boy standing at the entrance to the house until they were very close.

“You can’t go in,” said the boy politely using the staff to bar them.

Shiva was taken aback. He asked in surprise, ” Who are you?”

The boy replied, ” I am my mother’s son.”

Shiva and Nandi exchanged condescending smiles and moved towards the door, plainly ignoring the boy’s request. 

“Don’t you dare enter the house?” This time, the boy’s voice was not so polite. There was an unmistakable commandeering tone to it. 

Shiva looked angrily at the lad. “You dare stop me from entering my own home! I am the master of this house, and so order you to step back and let me enter.”

“I take orders from no one but my mother!”

“Do you know who I am?”

“You can be anyone. But, for me, my mother’s commands come above all else.”

“Nandi, move him out of my way!” Thundered Shiva.

Nandi walked towards the boy and tried to push him down. Nandi’s physical strength was of lore quality in Kailash. Yet, he couldn’t move the boy an inch from his position. He seemed to be glued to the ground like a mountain.

Nandi pushed with all his might. The boy didn’t even struggle for breath as he leaned forward and countered Nandi’s mighty push with ease. 

Strangely, Shiva was angered at the sight of the boy holding back Nandi with such easy alacrity. He never stopped to wonder who this strong boy might be! At the moment, livid rage was the only thing that mattered.

He took out his trident and hurled it at the boy’s neck. The severed head rolled off and lay at a short distance from the body.

Suddenly, a feeling of dread overpowered Shiva. Rage was replaced with an inexplicable fear of impending doom.

The door opened and the voice of Parvati floated through, “I’ve had my bath, my son. You can let people in now.”

As her eyes fell on the headless body of her son, Parvati’s agonized screams spread like a terrorizing blanket threatening to uproot Mount Kailash and everything on it.

Shiva’s face turned pale as he whispered, “Our son!”

Yes, the powers of Shiva and Shakti were inextricably intertwined. And anything created by either one became theirs. Despite her agony, Parvati did not miss the ‘our son”. She chided herself for doubting her completeness. She ran to her husband and they held each other close.

Then she said in a steely voice, “You need to get our son back!”

“Yes! I should!” replied Shiva in an equally determined voice.

Word had spread through Kailash and the rest of Devaloka. Everyone who was anyone was there standing in respectful silence as they watched one of their most favourite divine couples share a few moments of extreme grief. 

Shiva commanded, “Nandi, I have to get my son back. I want the head of the first creature lying on the ground with its head facing north. Send your ganas in all directions and find me a suitable head.”

The head of a recently-dead baby elephant was brought back. It was Shiva’s turn to breathe his life force into his son. He placed the head of the baby elephant on the headless body and brought his son back to life. The world rejoiced as the elephant-headed boy got up from the ground and prostrated before his parents.

Shiva made him the head of the ganas and gave him the name of Ganapathi. His more popular name is Ganesha. This divine child went on to perform multiple miraculous deeds making him one of the most revered divinities among the pantheons of gods and goddesses worshipped in India. 

Photo by 360 Ganesh on Unsplash

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Ratna Prabha

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