How Ganesha Was Born
Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is the most beloved of all Hindu gods. He is benevolent, even tempered, generous and wise. Ganesh Chaturthi, is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Ganesha.
Legend has it that once Lord Shiva was away from Mount Kailasha, his home, for a long while, tending to matters of the world. Alone and lonely, Goddess Parvati wished she had a child to keep her company. So taking dust from the ground, she mixed it with the perspiration from her body. Using this clay, she molded the figure of a boy and infused life into him. The boy was like a son to Parvati, and entirely devoted to her.
One day, while Parvati was bathing, Lord Shiva happened to return from his long journey.
Not knowing that Shiva was Parvati’s husband, the boy stopped him from entering the house. A battle ensued. Being born of Parvati, the embodiment of Shakti, the boy was very powereful. He defeated Shiva’s guards, the ganas, was well as Lord Indra and his army. Infuriated at the strange boy who dared to challenge him, Shiva severed the boy’s head with his trident.
When Parvati returned from her bath, she was distraught at discovering the headless body of her son. She demanded that Shiva at once restore the life of the child. Unable to find the boy’s head, Shiva ordered the ganas to bring back the first head they came across. The ganas returned with the head of a dying elephant, which Shiva placed on the boy’s body. He breathed life into him, and so was born Ganesha, Lord of Ganas.
The Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated by Hindus all over the world. On this day, a statue of Ganesha is brought home and installed with much pomp and vigour. The statue, made of clay and decorated brilliantly, is worshipped anywhere from a day and a half to 11 days. It is then released into the sea, to return again the next year.