‘Happy is the son whose faith in his mother remains unchallenged’—Louisa May Alcott
The unexplainable relationship that exists between a mother and a child goes back far in time. Even the gods took refuge under the wings of their mothers’ love when their powers refused to work wonders for them. On this Ganesh Chaturthi, let us try and delve deeper into the beautiful mother-son relationship between our beloved ‘Bappa’ and Maa Parvati.
Hindu mythology would be incomplete without the reference of ‘Shakti’, as an embodiment of womanhood, power and all that is considered to be feminine. However, it is this ‘Shakti’, which when coupled with ‘Shiva’, forms the ‘Shiva-Shakti’—the supreme power of Lord Shiva and adi Shakti Maa Parvati.
The followers of ‘Shiva-Shakti’ know for a fact that out of the Trinity constituting, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh—it is lord Shiva, who is considered to be the perfect family man (worshipped as an ideal figure). In this complete family comprising Maa Parvati, sons Ganesh, Kartikeya and daughter Ashok Sundari in the picture, my keen interest is in exploring the mother-son relationship of Ganapati and the supreme mother.
There are enough stories and legends associated with Lord Ganesh, Kartikeya and mother goddess Parvati. The very basis of Ganapati’s existence came from the fact that he was formed by the mother goddess herself. Legend has it that once when Parvati wanted to take a bath and there was no attendant to be on guard for her, she created an idol from the turmeric paste which she had made to cleanse her body while bathing. After making the idol, she thought of infusing life into it — hence our lord Gajanan was born.
The legend further has it that Parvati kept the newly-born Bappa standing outside and ordered him not to let anyone in, until she finishes her bath and the effervescent lord loved to obey his mother, come what may. As we all know, Shiva, the father, was unaware of the fact that he has been blessed with a child, who has technically been made by the goddess herself.
Ganapati, in order to keep to his mother's word, didn’t even allow his father to enter the bathing area. An obedient son that he was, he didn’t even realise that the man he is stopping is none other than the Mahadev himself. However, what resulted was a long battle ending with baby Ganapati’s head being cut off by Shiva.
There are innumerable instances to showcase how much Gajanan loved his parents—especially his mother. The moment when he lost his head and stood still, it was Maa who compelled the Mahadev to put life back into her piece of heart that very moment. It was then that an elephant’s head was fixed on Bappa’s body. Lord’s love for his mother was so much so, that he didn’t mind being called the ‘elephant lord’ after that time—something which even Mahadev found tender and pure.
In fact, there is another famous tale of a competition between Ganesh and brother Kartikeya, to win the fruit of knowledge. This also depicts how Ganapati put his parents ahead of everything. The legend has it that once Narada Muni visited Kailasa and gifted the fruit of knowledge to Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati, asking them to give it in turn to anyone they liked.
The god and goddess decided to give the fruit to either of their sons—Kartikeya and Ganesh. But what followed was a test, to decide who wins the fruit. The condition was to circle the world thrice and whoever completed the task first, would win the knowledge fruit. Kartikeya flew the world on his vahana (peacock), whereas Bappa’s vahana (Rat) was way too slow for him to win it any which way.
But what Bappa did, made him the most-loved son forever. The lord took three rounds of lord Shiva and Maa Parvati—father and mother, who for him were his world.
Ganapati, at every given point, has set examples for humans to learn from. He earned a place for himself amidst the gods; he became the one who gets worshipped even before the Trinity is invoked.
Lamboodra, not only loved his mother to the extent that he was ready to fight his own father for her honour, but also established a very affectionate relationship with his brother lord Kartikeya and sister Ashoka Sundari. Of course, all are aware about his powerful and at the same time lovable bond with father Mahadev.
What Bappa did for mother Parvati, is probably an act of courage and valour—setting an example for the generations to come and learn from. Letting go of your head for the honour of your mother, is a feat that we rarely hear today. The love that Ganesh has for his mother is unmatched in today’s time. It’s not just the sons but the daughters too can put their thinking caps on and remember—when was the last time that you said, “Mom I love you”? The answer lies in your eyes and your heart knows when it was.
This Ganesh Chaturthi, celebrate this festive season with a renewed sense of love. Experience the love that you have for your mother and share the way Bappa would with his Maa Parvati.
“Ganapati Bappa Moriya Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar yaa”!