Ganesh Chaturthi Speical: Popular belief behind Lord Ganpati’s elephant head


Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the important Hindu festivals celebrated throughout India with a great devotion. This day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesh is the symbol of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on Shukla Chaturthi of the Hindu month of Bhadra (generally falls between August and September). This festival is celebrated by Hindus with a great enthusiasm. People bring idols of Lord Ganesh to their homes and do worship. The duration of this festival varies from 1 day to 11 days, depending on the place and tradition. On the last day of the festival the idols are taken out in a colorful and musical procession and immersed traditionally in water.

As per Hindu mythology Lord Ganesh is considered as “Vigana Harta” (one who removes obstacles) and “Buddhi Pradaayaka” (one who grants intelligence). This festival is very important for students, they worship Lord Ganesh to illumine their minds.

Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati have two sons namely Kartikeya, Ganesha and a daughter Ashok Sundari. Lord Ganpati is hailed as the remover of all obstacles and the god of new beginnings. Lord Ganesha is worshipped as the ‘Lord of the Lords’ and before every important work, people seek his blessings.

There are different beliefs and legends behind the god having the head of an elephant. Here some of the popular one:

The legend from the Shiva Purana
It is believed that Parvati also known as Gaura, wife of Lord Shiva wanted to take a bath without any disturbance but there was no one present at that time to guard the door. Unwilling to wait for someone to come, Goddess Parvati created a boy out of the turmeric paste that was applied to her body. She instructed the boy to keep a check on the door from outside and not to allow anyone to enter. While he was guarding the door, Lord Shiva came and demanded to meet his wife, telling the boy that she is her wife. The boy, reluctant to allow anyone to invade his Maa Parvati’s space and personal time refused to let Shiva in.

Angered by the boy, Lord Shiva ended up beheading him which took his life instantly and he fell flat. When Parvati came to know about the death of the boy she created, she threatened Shiva to destroy the mankind. Lord Vishnu tried to convince her not to do so and in order to convince her he fulfilled the two conditions kept by her which were to bring the boy back to life and that he must be worshipped by the people like other gods. It was then that an elephant face was brought in by the Lord as the animal was the first creature to have appeared on the path.

Therefore, the elephant head was joined with the lifeless body of the boy, bringing him back to life. This is how Lord Ganesha got the head of an elephant.



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