and the River Kaveri
In order to supply water to the arid southern regions, the Sage
Agastya, with the blessings of Brahma, got from Shiva a few sacred
water which filled his kamandalu .
He journeyed to southern regions of the country, hoping to find
a suitable place to create a high flow river. Thus he reached
the Kodagu (Coorg) mountains.
On the way, he hailed a young boy who was passing by. In fact,
the boy was Ganesh disguised. The Sage requested the boy to carry
carefully his water pot, because he wanted to find an isolated
Ganesh was aware that Agastya expected to create a river; the
place where they were seemed to be favorable. So, he put the kamandalu
on the ground.
A crow, passing by, landed on the pot edge. When he came back,
Agastya expelled the bird which, taking off, spilled the kamandalu.
When it poured, this small quantity of water became the Kaveri
The place, still considered as a sacred one, is known as Talakaveri.
Ganesh and Kubera
Kubera, the god of wealth, was very proud of his boundless fortune.
One day, he organized a gorgeous dinner; among other famous guests,
the divine couple, Shiva and Pârvatî, with their son
Ganesh, were present.
The later, still a child, started to eat and he appeared quickly
to be insatiable. Soon, the other guests found plates and dishes
empty. Alas ! Not satisfied with all the available food, Ganesh
started to devour plates and dishes, the furniture and all the
content of Alakapuri, the main city of Kubera.
When he achieved to gulp down the whole, the child Ganesh threatened
to swallow Kubera himself. Frightened, the god of wealth rushed
forward to Shiva's feet to implore his help, since the Ganesh
voracious appetite seemed to be unlimited.
The remedy was simple but spectacular : Shiva gave his son a handful
of roasted cereal grains. Ganesh ate it and, wonderfully, his
hunger stopped immediately.
This legend teaches us that a handful of common food, given with
love, and eaten with devotion, is more important and more sustaining
that the banquet offered by Kubera to impress the gods. From a
different angle, this story shows that properties cannot bring
peace and satisfaction to anybody. The only path to self-realization
requires to burn our vasana . The destruction of the vasana is
symbolized by the consumption of the grilled rice; indeed, when
the rice has been cooked, he loses his germinative capacity. Moreover,
the seeds of our hidden desires lose strength and possibility to come back further.
Ganesh and the Goddess Parvati
One day, the child Ganesh diverted himself in tormenting a cat,
pulling his tail and rolling him on the ground. All of us know
that children are able to injure animals but are not aware to
Just a moment after, he left the cat peaceful and went away. He
even did not think about what he had done. He arrived at mount
Kailash to meet again his mother Parvati. He found her badly suffering,
covered with wounds and dust.
He asked her about what happened; she replied that he was responsible
of this situation. Indeed, she was, just before, that cat tormented
This story teaches us that all the living beings are of divine
essence. If we injure a living creature, one of our companions,
human or animal, we injure God Himself.
Ganesh learned this lesson and we also must learn it during our
Ganesh and Ravana the Demon
One day, the devil Ravana undertook very difficult tapas .
As a consequence, Shiva appeared to him. Ravana requested a favor.
He wanted that his kingdom and himself could never be damaged
or destroyed. As a present, Shiva gave him a Shiva Lingam , the
symbol of Shiva; he ordered to bring it back to his kingdom and
to place it in a temple after adequate rituals.
After that, he would become unconquerable. But there was a prerequisite
: whatever happened, he ought not to lay down the Lingam on the
floor, under pain of not be able to displace it later.
Overjoyed, Ravana welcomed the Lingam. However, the Deva (Gods)
felt afraid of the power that Ravana; could obtain. They invoked
Ganesh before any action.
Then, Varuna , the god of Waters, penetrated into the Râvana's
abdomen, causing him troubles which forced him to stop on his
way. Râvana was convulsed with pain, but careful not to
lay down the Lingam on the ground, as requested expressly by Shiva.
Râvana called a young Brahman coming that way; he asked
him to keep the stone Lingam just for a moment.
As soon as Râvana entrusted him the Lingam, the boy cried
out for help three times. Getting no reply, he put the Lingam
on the ground.
When Ravan came back, he was very angry and he dismissed the boy
who just appeared to be Ganesh in reality. But Râvana had
the power of the Lingam. Then Ganesh could easily subdue the devil,
kicking to the sky.
Râvana realized his limitations and admitted the huge power
The place where the Lingam was deposited is called Gokarna, and
is located on the Karnataka western coast; it is a worshipping
place till nowadays.
This story teaches that the demon is always defeated at the very
end, specially when he thinks himself very powerful.
Wisdom of Ganesh
Shiva et Parvati used to play with two sons, Ganesh and Kartikeya.
The gods had given them a marvelous fruit. Each boy wanted to
get it for him alone.
Their parents explained them that the nectar of the Supreme Knowledge
and of Immortality was hidden in that fruit. To get the fruit,
both had to compete. The winner should run three times around
the world and come back first.
Kartikeya left at once. Riding his peacock, he flew in the sky,
stopping at every sacred place on his way, praying and worshipping
Ganesh was fully aware of his stout body; it slackened off him
badly. The rat, his vehicle, was rather slow and would not be
able to beat Kartikeya.
But his wisdom suggested him the right solution. He turned round
his parents, Shiva and Parvati, showing a deep devotion. When
they asked him why he did not start his journey around the world,
he replied :
"My parents Shiva and Shakti are the Whole Universe. In Them
is located the World. He do not need to go further".
Of course, he won the contest, ... and the fruit.
This legend emphasizes the importance of cleverness; Ganesh is
a strong symbol of this quality which is always the best against
force, speed or physical strength.
Ganesh and Lord Shiva
One says that neither peace nor war action, nor daily business
can succeed unless Ganesh has previously been worshipped.
This is not only true for human beings, but also for celestial
When Ganesh appeared, as the son born from Shiva's mind, the later
decided that Ganesh should be worshipped by anybody wishing to
get success. Even worshipping other gods would be inefficient
if prior worship to Ganesh had not been achieved.
Thus, when Shiva left to fight the demons of the Tripura city,
he forgot his own rule and rushed to the battle. However, when
he embarked on his carriage, the wheel peg broke and the car was
Abashed that such an accident could happen to him, Shiva realized
that he had forgotten to pray Ganesh before his departure, and
this was the cause of the obstacle... Thus, he worshipped his
son's name and could proceed to the Tripurâtanka battle
which he won successfully.
The Broken Ganesh Tusk
Several legends explain how Ganesh broke his right tusk, which
gives him the name of Ekadanta "The Lord who has only one
The first legend (in the Brahmanda-Purana) is related to a battle
between Ganesh and Parashurâma. Parashurama was one of the
Vishnu incarnations (avatara), born on earth to teach wisdom to
the governing class, the Kshatriya , who had become arrogant and
oppressed people. Parashurama meditated on Shiva and got the divine
axe, Parashu. This axe helped him to fight against all the corrupted
princes, inspired by devils.
Deeply grateful to Shiva, he went to Mount Kailash to bow to his
guru. But Ganesh, who was guarding the entrance of the palace,
did not allow him to proceed. Ganesh told him to wait for the
Parashurâma thought : "I am a Shiva devotee, such a
rule cannot be applied to me".
Ganesh persisting to bar the way, Parashurama, usually peppery,
stroke violently the Ganesh tusk with his axe and broke it.
Then Shiva and Parvati arrived and blamed Parashurâma who
bowed down before Ganesh and supplicated to obtain his forgiveness
and blessing. Then Ganesh was named Ekadanta "The Lord with
According to another legend, Ganesh broke himself his tusk during
the battle against Gajamukhâsura (the elephant-headed Asura
). Taking the advice of Shukracharya, the Asura guru, this demon
followed severe penances. Thus, he got unconquerable powers from
Shiva. But he misused those powers to harass the gods who went
to Ganesh and requested his help.
Ganesh did not hesitate to give battle to this demon. During the
fight, he understood that the demon could not defeated, because
of his particular powers. Then, Ganesh broke his right tusk and
threw it to Gajamukhâsura. He pursued him and converted
him in a mouse. Then he rode this mouse, which he used as a mount,
keeping it under control.
According to another Purana story, the Ganesh rat was actually
the Gandharva Krauncha. One day, at the Indra Court, Krauncha
insulted the Sage Vâmadeva who revenged himself, making
him a big rat. This rat, as all the rats do, went in the ashram
of the Sage Parâchara and caused a lot of damages in the
house. The Rishi invoked Vinayaka (an other name for Ganesh) to
safeguard his modest dwelling. Ganesh appeared, rode the rat as
his vehicle and mastered it.
A Purana legend imputes the loss of the tusk to a fight between
Ganesh and Shiva himself.
Finally, there is the story between Ganesh and the Moon narrated
Whatever the version of these puranic stories, Ganesh chose the
rat as a vehicle for an obvious reason : this animal is really
a detrimental one and Ganesh was able to keep it under his strict
and Lord Vishnu One
day, Vishnu found out that his Valamburi Shankha had disappeared.
He felt himself very annoyed. After some time, he heard the typical
sound of a conch far away and recognized immediately that it was
his own instrument. The sound
came from the Mount Kailash.
He meditated on Lord Shiva who came in front of him and declared
that if he wanted to get his conch back, he had first to address
a invocation to god Valamburi Ganesh (a Ganesh form with a right-turned
Thus, Vishnu performed the puja and Ganesh sent back the conch
to his owner who was very happy to recover it.