वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सूर्यकोटि समप्रभ | निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा || Vakra-Tunnda Maha-Kaaya Surya-Koti Samaprabha | Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryessu Sarvadaa ||
‘Vakra Tunda’ means one with a crooked trunk. ‘Mahakaya’ means one with a large, fat body. ‘Surya koti samaprabha’ means one with an aura of a million suns. “Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryessu Sarvadaa’ means please remove all the obstacles from my path, and bless me to success in my works.
But, who is this boy who has a crooked trunk, a large-fat body and an aura of a million sons and has the power to remove the obstacles from my path and lead me to success? Let’s find out.
Once upon a time, there was no time. Before the conception of this universe, there was just eternal darkness in the space, with a flame in the centre. This flame is Adiyogi. ‘Adi’ means ancient. ‘Yogi’ means one who pursues yoga. Yoga is not the physical exercise or kitten yoga or hot yoga, but it’s an eternal quest to know oneself. Adiyogi has no form. Adiyogi has no beginning. Adiyogi has no end. Adiyogi is the God, has three distinct human manifestations. Brahma – the creator, Vishnu – the preserver and Shiva – the destroyer. Shiva is Adiyogi himself.
Now, Shiva is a mendicant who lives in the cremation grounds with his friends and smokes weed, or when he is not smoking weed, he meditates deep in the mountains of the Himalayas, at Kailasa. Devoid of any desires, he would stay in the state of meditation for years at a time. His one year is our 3 trillion years. Shiva had a wife – Shakti, also called Parvati. Parvati completes Shiva; she’s one half of his, hence, equally powerful. – how they got married is another story for another day.
Once upon a time, about a million moons ago, Parvati was taking a bath in a pond. She didn’t have a shower gel or shampoo or anything. She would smear turmeric on her body before the bath. Since she didn’t want to be disturbed, she took the turmeric paste from her body and modelled it in the form of a boy and breathed life into him. Parvati instructed him to guard the door and not let anyone in until she’s finished her bath.
Shiva, who had just come out of his extended meditation, wanted to go and see Parvati, who was now resting after the bath. She had instructed her son to stay on the door and make sure that no one should disturb her. Shiva, Adiyogi himself, is stopped by this strange boy. Shiva tried to reason with the boy saying that he was Parvati’s husband, but the boy, he won’t listen. His behaviour baffled Shiva. But, he was following his mother’s instructions. Angry Shiva decided he would have to fight the boy to get through him. In a fury, Shiva severs the boy’s head with his Trident and kills him instantly. He killed his own son, in a way.
When Parvati learns of this, she is enraged and decides to destroy the entire universe. All gods appear and plead to convince Parvati to overturn her decision. But, she is not listening to anyone. She wants her son back alive. Shiva looking at her face, enraged, like a typical husband, backtracks and agrees. But, his agreement means nothing. The boy is dead. And as per his own law of the universe, one who is dead can not be brought back to life. Brahma, the creator, who is seeing all this, thinks deep and suggests, if we can get a new head, maybe we can bring the boy back to life. Shiva then sends his friends to North and orders them to bring the head of the first young one they see without his mother. They soon returned with the head of a strong and powerful elephant. They bring the head of an Elephant.
As per his promise, Brahma places the elephant’s head onto the boy’s body and breathes new life into him. A body of a human and the head of an elephant, the boy lived. But, the mother was not satisfied, and she feared everyone would make fun of him for the rest of his life. When he’d go to school, or play a game of hockey, or to work, everyone would bully him, humiliate him. Shiva and Brahma after deep thought. To make up for that, they declare the boy the status of being foremost among all the gods and announce him the leader of all the ganas, with the name Ganapati (the leader of ganas) or as we know him today, Lord Ganesha – the original, boy who lived.
Feature Image: Biswajit Das