|“OM SHRI GANESHAYA NAMAH” It is the mantra of Lord Ganesha which is repeated at the commencement of every undertaking or spiritual Sadhna, for the removal of obstacles and attainment of success.
Ganesha is the god of wisdom and prosperity and is invoked before the beginning of any auspicious work by the Hindus. According to mythology he is the son of Shiva and Parvati, brother of Kartikeya - the general of the gods, Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth and Saraswati-the goddess of learning. This elephant-headed god, whose vehicle is the Mooshak or rat and who loves Modaks (round sweets) is associated with several humourous tales and lores. Tales of how he beat his brother Kartikeya, in a race which involved going around the world thrice, without even moving out of his house, of how he lost one of his tusks are known to children all over India.
Legend has it that Parvati created Ganesha out of the sandalwood dough that she used for her bath and breathed life into him. Letting him stand guard at the door she went to have her bath. When her husband, Shiva returned, the child who had never seen him stopped him. Shiva severed the head of the child and entered his house. Parvati, learning that her son was dead, was distraught and asked Shiva to revive him. Shiva cut off the head of an elephant and fixed it on the body of Ganesha.
Another story says that the Gods decided to choose their leader and a race was to be held between the brothers‘ Kartikeya and Ganesh. Whoever took three rounds of the earth first would be made the Ganaadhipati or the leader. Kartikeya seated on a peacock, his vahanam (vehicle), started off for the test. Vinayak or Ganesh was given a rat, which moves swiftly. Vinayak realised that the test was not easy, but he could not disobey his father. He reverently paid obeisance to his parents and went around them three times and completed the test before Kartikeya. According to him, “my parents pervade the whole universe and going around them, is more than going round the earth.“ Everybody was pleasantly surprised to hear Vinayak’s logic and intelligence. Meanwhile, Kartikeya was amazed to see Ganesh completing the holy bath at each river that he reached at and ready for another round of the universe.
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