Ganesha’s wisdom


Part one of a series of entries retelling Hindu legends about different Gods in my own words. While there are over 330 million Hindu gods, I’ll just tell stories that I encounter, or stories about particular gods that fascinate me. This entry, and the next three after this will be about Ganesha.

A Hindu legend about Ganesha. Probably one of my favourites about this popularly worshipped God. Now keep in mind that I have rephrased it in my own words, with the utmost respect for the lessons contained within it.

Ganesha’s Wisdom

Shiva and Parvati had two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya.

One day, the parents presented their sons with a competition. The prize was a fruit containing the nectar of Supreme Knowledge and Immortality. The competition? The sons had to race each other: running around the world three times, with the winner getting the fruit.

Now, it wasn’t really a fair competition. Kartikeya is the embodiment of perfection, and a war god. His companion is a peacock. So he jumped right on his peacock and took off, around the world, stopping at every sacred place along the way worshipping the Gods and asking for blessing.

Ganesh on the other hand, is a rather portly being, with a huge Indian paunch and a large elephant head. His companion is a mouse. Thus, he knew that he would not be able to beat his brother.

However, he turned around to his parents, and showing signs of deep devotion, he walked around them three times.

Just after he had finished this, Kartikeya arrived back after his third turn around the Earth. He started celebrating, thinking that he had won: after all, his brother had not even moved from that place.

However, wishing to understand his actions, Parvati and Shiva asked Ganesha why he had not even tried to race. To which he replied:

I am your son, and to me, you both make up my whole world. Why should I go any further to win the contest?

Thus, Ganesha won the race.


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