Friday, 24 June 2011

Sri Gajanana


It was Dwapara Yuga. The Lord of Kailash, Sri Mahadeva, one day paid a visit to the abode of Brahmaji, the Creator. Brahmaji was having a seista then; he woke up, stretched him self up and yawned. And lo ! from his yawning face manifested a big and beautiful male form. As soon as he materialised, he roared and his roaring rent the skies, upset the oceans and shook the mountains. Brahmaji recovered from his sleep and asked him : “Who are you, and wherefrom are you? What do you want?” The male said : “You are the knower of everything and why do you ask me these questions? I am your son, born out of your yawning face. Please accept me, give me my name, allot me a place to live, grant me my food, and tell me my duties.” Brahmaji was enchanted by the ravishing handsomeness of his son, and said : “Because of your flawless pink complexion, your name shall be SINDUR; you shall have the power to conquer all the three worlds. Whomever you would catch hold of in anger will drop down in a hundred pieces from your arms. You shall not fear anyone anywhere in all the three words, and you are free to roam about wherever you want.”

Sindur was happy and wandered through the worlds, setting waves of fear wherever he went. As he went about, a thought came to his mind : 1 did not perform any penance or undergo even the rudimentary education. How is that Pitamaha bestowed on me all these boons? How can I verify whether they are true ? He did not find anyone on whom he could experiment his strength. So he returned to Brahmaji and wanted to try the strength of boon on him. Brahmaji was taken aback. He said “Sindur ! I was enticed by your beauty and gave you all the boons, little knowing that behind your charming form was concealed a crooked mind. You have become a demon now. Lord Ganesh will soon incarnate as Gajaanan and destroy you.”

But Sindur did not leave Brahmaji in peace. He chased the Creator. Brahmaji took to his heels and ran all over the three worlds. He reached Vaikunta, the abode of Vishnu and sought shelter. Vishnu stopped the demon who was close behind Brahmaji and said : “Calm down, my son ! Your father is such an old person that it does not behove a man like you to fight him. Leave him alone.” “All right, then you fight with me I” said Sindur. Vishnu was in a predicament. He said : “Look I am a Satwic person and am engaged in the maintenance of this universe. To defeat me is not at all a problem for you. Well, if you really want a good fight there is Lord Siva in Kailash and He is an equal to you.’

“Be it then Lord Siva”, said Sindur and went straight to Kailash, He saw the Lord sitting in meditation there and thought : “This is a forest-dweller, an ordinary mendicant, with matted locks. He is not fit for a fight with me. But then his wife is a beautiful woman. I would rather have her.” And so he caught hold of Mother Parvati and carried Her away. The Ganas of Lord Siva gave a stiff fight but they were all defeated by Sindur. The commotion woke up Lord Siva from His Samadhi and He became red with anger at the act of Sindur. Immediately Mother Parvati thought of Mayuresh, and He appeared between Siva and Sindur. With a few powerful blows. Lord Mayuresh vanquished the demon and sent him down to the worlds below. He then assured Mother Parvati that as promised earlier. He would be born as Gajaanan through Her and redeem the world from the cruelties of demon Sindur; so saying He disappeared.

In the lower worlds, Sindur, the personification of brute force and blunt intellect, easily became a hero of the demons. He organised them into a powerful gang and let loose a reign of terror in the world. The pious and learned ones left their homes and took shelter in mountain caves. The gods were also not spared by Sindur and his gang. The helpless victims of his tyranny assembled together and sang hymns on Lord Ganesha.

In Kailash, Mother Parvati developed signs of pregnancy. After a few months, She told Lord Siva of Her wish to go down to the plains. And so they all came down, and while moving about, they spotted a beautiful lake surrounded by deep woods, and set up their camp there. In due course, Mother Parvati gave birth to a divinely beautiful child. It immediately took the form of the Supreme Lord in all His replendence.

The Mother praised Him with divine hymns, and at Her request, the Lord changed Himself into the form of a small child, but with a difference. It developed a round bulging head, its eyes were small, its ears were like two windows, and its nose was like the trunk of an elephant. It had four arms, its stomach was pot bellied and its legs were short and its complexion was red.

The Mother was sad to see the distorted form to which the child had turned. All the people around Her were expecting to see the handsome child of the divinely beautiful Mother Parvati and the Supreme Lord Siva. How could $he show this deformed child to them? They would all laugh at this ugly form, and would even say : ‘Is this the end result of all careful tendering and nursing with which the Garbha (foetus) was protected and developed by Mother Parvati ?’ When she was thus lost in Her thoughts, Lord Siva came there, and immediately understood the mind of Parvati. He said to her : “Please don’t be carried away by the external appearance of things. By looking at the external appearance, no one can know the inner make-up of people. Who do you think this red complexioned, four-handed elephant faced, pot-bellied form is ? Remember the Lord’s promise to you that He would be born as your son in Dwapara Yuga as Gajaanana to kill the demon, Sindur ? How is it that you are not able to recognise Him in all forms; for He is the One in Whom all these worlds exist, and all forms are His only. And He is again going to be born of you in Kali Yuga with the complexion of smoke (Dhoomra Varna)”

The child turned to the Mother and said : What the Lord has said is true. I have been born to kill the demon Sindur. Now, you have to do a job for me. Please transport me immediately to the palace of King Varenya in the city of Maahishmati on the banks of river Narmada.

Varenya and his queen Pushpika are both deeply devoted to me. Pleased by their devotion, I had promised them that I would be born as their son. Pushpika has just given birth to a baby, and she is lying unconscious by the pains of labour; and the baby has been stolen by a demoness. If the queen comes to know of that, she will die of sorrow. So before she gains consciousness put me by her side, so that she will be convinced that I am her child”. Lord Siva immediately summoned Nandi, the chief of the Ganas, and asked him to carry out the mission.

When queen Pushpika came to her senses, she saw her newborn child lying by her side. She was aghast to see the weird form of the child, which had four arms, an elephant face, potbelly and of red complexion. All the people who came to see the child were taken aback by its ugliness. The court astrologer predicted that the child would be the cause of destruction of the royal dynasty I So they decided unanimously to abandon the child in the forests where it would be eaten up by wild animals. And thus the child was carried to a deep jungle and left there.

Sage Paraasara had his ashram nearby He spotted the child laughing away in its innocence, and was struck with wonder at its strange form. He took a close look at the child and saw divine signs on its legs, hands and forehead. With least hesitation he lifted the child, embraced it and took it home. He explained to his wife, Vatsala, the strange signs on the child. They brought him up with all tender love and care. Lord Siva and Parvati were happy to know that Gajaanan was safe in Sage Paraashara’s ashram. They decided to return to Kailash.

Gajaanan mastered all the knowledge and arts which his foster father imparted to him. When he was nine years old, a strange thing happened in the ashram. A huge mouse appeared there and it set about destroying everything that came its away. It was so big and powerful that all creatures in the forest were afraid of it. Mother Vatsala and sage Paraasara were helpless against the ferocious mouse. Gajaanan who was playing outside, came in and saw the terrified parents.

On seeing Gajaanan the mouse disappeared into the lower worlds. Gajaanan however, made a loop with the rope in his hands and threw it down and entangled the huge body of the mouse in it. The mouse tried to wriggle out, but in vain. Gajaanan pulled it up to his side and subdued it. He then mounted it and made it his vehicle The humbled mouse then narrated its story. It said “I am a Gandharva; once, while hurriedly getting out of Indra’s durbar, I happened to trample on sage Vamana, the short statured tapaswin. and he cursed me to be born as a mouse. When I appealed for mercy, he said that his curse could not go in vain, but that I would meet Lord Gajaanan in sage Paraashaa’s ashram and would become his vehicle, whereby I would become worthy of worship even by gods.” So saying, he surrendered to Gajaanan, and became his vehicle.

Gajaanan now decided to fulfill the mission of his life After taking his foster parents’ permission, he equipped himself with Arnkusa, Parasu (axe), Paasa (rope) and Padma (lotus flower) in his four hands, mounted the mouse, and reached the eity of Sindur and challenged the demon. In the fight that followed, Gajaanan strangled the demon by his powerful hands and killed him. The Rishis and Devas showered flowers on the victorious Gajaanan and sang his praises King Varenya who had abandoned him because of his ugliness, repented and prostrated to the Lord. Gajaanan then gave a sermon to the king, which came to be known as GANESH GEETA. And then. He disappeared from the mortal world

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