Part 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 is part three of a four part retelling of legends concerning Ganesha.
Ganesha and the Moon
Ganesha is offered sweets by his devotees. Everyone knows that Ganesha loves sweet things. One day, he was offered a particularly large amount of sweets, and he ate them all up – until he was so full he was almost bursting at the seams. After filling himself with sweets, Ganesha got on his mouse and started riding back home. However, it was sunset, and in the darkness the mouse stumbled over a snake, tossing Ganesha to the ground.
He’d eaten so much that day that his stomach burst, and the sweets tumbled everywhere. So he collected them all back up, put them back into his open belly, and picked up the snake and used it as a belt to hold everything in.
At this time Chandra the Moon shone brightly every night. Shining down on these events, Chandra burst out laughing. This annoyed Ganesha, who felt offended that the Moon was laughing at him. So he broke off his right tusk and threw it at the Moon’s face, cursing her so that she would disappear from the night’s sky.
The empty night sky upset everyone on Earth: young lovers lamented and bewailed, old people grumbled. They could not get used to the empty night sky. The gods found the night sky unbearable as well, so they came to Ganesha to ask him to remove the curse, and restore Chandra to her rightful place.
Ganesha being the indulgent character that he is, granted their wish. However he was still hurt by the Moon’s laughter, so he decided that she should not be allowed to shine every night as she previously did. He decided that she would wax and wane and not see the events of every night on Earth.
The night every month that the Moon is invisible, known as amasvaya, is considered an inauspicious day. If you look for the moon in the sky on this day, you gain bad luck: the only way to get rid of this bad luck apparently is to throw stones at your neighbours house, to dispel Ganesha’s annoyance. I’m not sure how effective this would be though!