A little known account of the divine origin of Lord Ganesha

This description of the appearance of Lord Ganesha is given in Ganapati Khanda of Brahma-vaivarta Purana. The popular story of how Mother Parvati created Lord Ganesha from her cosmetics is given in Rudra-samhita, Kumara Khanda of Shiva Purana, where Lord Brahma confirms the version presented below. The different versions mentioned in the Puranas are due to variation in pastimes that took place in different yugas.

Birth of Ganesha

Srila Narada Muni inquired Lord Narayana about Ganesha’s birth and his qualities.

Lord Narayana explained that after the birth of Kartikeya the commander-in-chief of the demigods mother Parvati requested Lord Shiva for one more son. On the request of his beloved wife, Mahadeva asked her to perform a punyaka ceremony (vrata) to Lord Krishna. The procedures include singing kirtana, offering bhoga, flower garlands, Tulasi lamps to Lord Hari.

After explaining the details, Lord Siva, who can award the fruit of penances, went to perform meditation on Lord Hari.

Following the order of Lord Siva, Mother Parvati arranged for all the paraphernalia required to be used in the ceremony, with Sanat-kumara the head priest of the ceremony.  On the day beginning a year long observance, everyone arrived on Mount Kailasha, including Lord Vishnu, to greet and offer their blessings upon Mother Parvati for the successful completion of the ceremony. The host Lord Shiva made comfortable arrangements for the guests.

After satisfying the guests, Lord Shiva requested Lord Vishnu to sit on the elevated throne and inquired: “O all cognizant Lord Srinivasa, kindly instruct us on the performance of this ceremony.” Smiling gently, Lord Vishnu replied: “O master of Parvati, the essence of performing any activity or any ceremony is devotion to Lord Sri Krishna which is very rare. It is by His devotees’ mercy only one can get devotion to Him. A devotee becomes qualitatively equal with the Lord, he never perishes even after annihilation of this world and returns back to the Lord’s abode Goloka Vrindavana. O Siva, you devastate the whole world, but you cannot harm My devotee, nor does powerful illusory energy delude them because of My mercy upon them.”

“Your wife is mother of all living entities in this material world. By the influence of this ceremony, Parvati will beget the child who will be the partial representative of Lord Krishna. He will be known as Ganesha (master of all devagana), Vighnanighan (remover of obstacles), Lambodara (whose belly is stretched out due to offerings made in ceremony), Gajanana (elephant-faced) and Ekadanta (one who has only one tooth). And by My blessing, he will receive the first worship in any auspicious occasion.”

After completion of the sacrifice, the head priest Sanat-kumara requested Mother Parvati to give Lord Shiva as his remuneration. On hearing this demand Mother Parvati fell unconscious. When brought back to  consciousness she said, “Just like the worship of a tree is useless without worship to Mother earth, who is the cause of tree, similarly, what is the use of any benediction to me, if my husband is taken away from me?”

While this argument was going on, Lord Narayana descended from the sky. His beautiful form was seen by everyone assembled. The Lord cannot be seen by anyone who does not have devotion to Him, even after millions of births. He told Mother Parvati that for the completion of ceremony and to obtain the result of it, she should fulfill the desire of sage Sanat-kumara. She should give Lord Shiva in charity, but then exchange her husband with the offering of a cow to the sage. Mother Parvati did as instructed and her husband was returned.

 Lord Krishna Appears

At that time a brilliant globe of light appeared there which was brighter than crores of suns. All the present demigods glorified that effulgence of Supreme Lord, Krishna. After Mother Parvati’s prayers, Lord Krishna became pleased with her and revealed to her His charming, eternal, youthful form, holding a flute, decorated with a forest flower garland, peacock feather on his head, yellowish garments, and an enchanting smiling face. His beauty defeated the beauty of millions of Cupids. Seeing this form, Mother Parvati desired a son like Him. Instantly granting that boon Lord Krishna disappeared.

Birth of Ganesha

Then Mother Parvati distributed immence charity, and after the ceremony, she and Lord Siva  spent time together at their residence. When they were engaged in union, a brahmana knocked on the door desperately calling for food. His body was emaciated by penances, and he was very hungry. Both Shiva and Parvati received the untimely guest. The brahmana explained his condition and asked for food which was prepared in the punyaka ceremony. Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati went to bring the foodstuff, but suddenly the brahmana disappeared. Shocked, they lamented for not being able to serve him. At that time, a divine voice spoke from the sky, “O Parvati. Do not lament. Go inside the residence and see the new-born child that has appeared there. The brahmana was none other than Lord Janardana.”

Parvati rushed inside and to her amazement a beautiful child had appeared on the bed. Delighted, her heart filled with joy just like a poverty-stricken person becomes happy after getting a big treasure house, or like people suffering from drought become happy upon the arrival of rain. She called for Lord Shiva to see the child and both of them embraced the child heartily.

Sanideva’s Arrival

Lord Siva, then distributed  charity to the brahmanas. Hearing the news of a new-born baby in the home of Lord Siva, all the sages, demigods, Gandharvas, and Kinnaras arrived at their residence to see the child and offered their blessings upon him.

Amongst them was the son of the sun-god, Sanideva. As he arrived he offered his obeisances to Lord Visnu, Brahma, Siva, Suryadeva, Yamaraja and asked permission to see the child. His face was gently bowed down, eyes were half closed in meditation, his mind was fixed on Lord Krishna and internally and externally he was remembering Lord Krishna. He went in the chambers where Mother Parvati was sitting with her child, Ganesha but did not glance at them. Mother Parvati asked him, “What is the matter? Why have you lowered your head instead of seeing the new born child?”

Sanideva replied: “Everyone in this world suffers the reactions of his own activity (karma), by either enjoying or suffering. These activities decide one’s birth as the king of demigods, Indra, or an insignificant insect. One gets a beautiful attractive body or an ugly one based on his activities performed.

“Since my childhood, I was a devotee of Lord Krishna, and was always engaged in his meditation. Once, my wife desired to have a union with me while I was in meditation on the Lord’s lotus feet. Being oblivious to the surroundings I could not respond to her desire and she cursed me, saying that whomever I glance at will be destroyed. To avoid violence now I don’t glance at anyone.”

Birth of Ganesha

 Mother Parvati remembered Lord Hari, “Everyone is controlled by the Lord’s desire,” she replied, and asked Sanideva to look at her and her son. Confused, Sanideva hesitated. Avoiding the mother, he just glanced on the child from the corner of his left eye. At once, the child’s head got separated from his trunk and went back to Goloka, where it merged into Lord Krishna. As Mother Parvati saw her dead son, she fell unconscious. Everyone stood stunned, including Lord Siva.

Seeing this condition, Lord Hari went to the northern side of the bank of the River Puspabhadra where an elephant was resting in the forest facing north. The Lord immediately cut off its head with Sudarsana chakra and brought it back to Mount Kailasha. He placed that head on the trunk of the dead child and revived his consciousness.

Seeing the child alive, the whole atmosphere filled with joy and bliss. In this way, the child became known as Gajanana.

Lord Visnu said to Parvati, “Everyone has to face the result of his own karma. Only Lord Krishna is the bestower of the results of karma, the controller of death, time, the supreme protector and ultimate sheltor. We Brahma, Visnu, and Shiva are His expansions. In that Sri Krishna is Vinayaka situated.