Do you know that Lord Ganesha once made the moon invisible? On Ganesh Chaturthi, here are some interesting stories about the beloved Elephant God. And there are valuable takeaways too for your kids!
By Amrita Gracias
Lord Ganesha, the God of Wisdom, is one of the most popular Hindu gods and the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated all over the country with much pomp and enthusiasm. Children are especially fond of the large-bellied Elephant God, known for his love for ladoos and modaks, and his trusty vehicle, a tiny mouse!
In mythology, Lord Ganesha is the son of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, and is known as the god of new beginnings. Here are five interesting stories about Lord Ganesha, from which your children can learn some valuable lessons.
1. Ganesha’s Wisdom: Lord Ganesha and his brother Lord Karthikeya often argued and fought with each other. One day, they stumbled upon a fruit in the forest and each wanted it for themselves. When they reached Mount Kailash, their father Lord Shiva, recognised the fruit — a special kind that when eaten, bestows immortality and knowledge. He told them that whoever could go around the universe thrice, and come back to Mount Kailash the fastest, would get the fruit. Karthikeya quickly jumped onto his vehicle, the peacock, to fly around the universe. Ganesha, short and stout, realised he would never catch up on his mouse. So, he simply walked thrice around his father and mother. He told them that to him, they were his universe! Impressed by Ganesha’s wit and wisdom, his father, Lord Shiva gave him the fruit.
Takeaway: You can use your intelligence and wit in tough situations. And, it is important to respect your parents.
2. Ganesha at Kubera’s Wedding: Kubera was a proud and greedy God known for the huge wealth he had amassed. Once, he invited several guests to a wedding feast. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati sent Ganesha and he decided to teach arrogant Kubera a lesson. He quickly ate up all the food at the feast leaving nothing for the other guests. He then went on to eat up the furniture, vessels and even Kubera’s wealth! Kubera ran to Mount Kailash for Shiva’s help. Lord Shiva advised him to humbly offer Ganesha a bowl of cereal. Ganesha’s hunger was finally satisfied. Kubera learnt that he was wrong to be so greedy and proud.
Takeaway: It is not good to be proud and greedy. Be happy with what you have.
3. Ganesha and the Moon: Once, Lord Ganesha ate too much and his stomach became quite big! Since he could barely walk, he stumbled and fell. The moon, who was watching Ganesha, found this very funny and laughed out loud. This angered Ganesha and he cursed the moon, making it invisible. The moon realised his mistake and begged the lord for forgiveness. But Ganesha couldn’t take back the curse. So, he said that the moon would grow bigger for the first 15 days of the month and then, become smaller over the next 15 days. And that's how we have the waxing and waning phases of the moon.
Takeaway: It is never polite to make fun of someone. Instead, try and help or show empathy.
4. Ganesha and the Kheer: Once as a little boy, Ganesha went to a village with some rice and milk. He begged for someone to make him some kheer. A poor old lady agreed and invited him to her small hut. She put the milk and rice in a pot to cook and fell asleep while Ganesha went out to play. When she woke up, the kheer was ready and smelt delicious! She couldn’t wait and decided to eat some. But before doing so, she placed a bowl of kheer before an idol of Lord Ganesha. And, no matter how much she ate, the pot never got empty! When Ganesha returned, she told him she had already eaten some because she was hungry. He told her that he had also eaten the sweet dish, when she placed the bowl near his idol. He appreciated her honesty and blessed her with health and wealth.
Takeaway: It is important to share no matter how little you have. And remember to always tell the truth.
5. Ganesha and Goddess Parvati: Lord Ganesha was a very naughty child. Once he saw a cat nearby while he was playing. He caught the cat and teased it cruelly by pulling its tail. The cat meowed in pain. When he was tired, the Elephant God let the cat go and went back to Mount Kailash. On reaching home, he saw his mother Lord Parvati hurt and in pain. He rushed to ask her what happened, and she told him that it was he who had done this to her. For it was actually Parvati, in the form of a cat, who had wanted to play with her son! Ganesha realised that his terrible actions had caused his mother a lot of pain. He told her that he would never hurt an animal again.
Takeaway: You must respect animals and never harm them.
Lord Ganesha is the epitome of knowledge and intelligence. He is also the god of new beginnings. That is why he is worshipped before the start of a new venture, so that he will bless us with prosperity and success. He is the remover of obstacles and celebrated for his wit and wisdom. Reading stories about Lord Ganesha to your children will not only entertain them but teach them many important morals and life lessons.
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