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Ganesh Chaturthi special: Popular beliefs behind Lord Ganpati's elephant head

There are different beliefs and legends behind the god having the head of an elephant. 

Ganesh Chaturthi special: Popular beliefs behind Lord Ganpati's elephant head
Pic Courtesy: Pixabay

New Delhi: The arrival of Lord Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati is celebrated in the form of Ganesh Chaturthi wherein people welcome him in the form of an idol to their homes and offer prayers. The festival goes on for ten days and is celebrated across the country and majorly in Maharashtra. 

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 are some of the popular ones:

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. 

The legend of the gaze of Lord Shani

It is believed that Goddess Parvati fasted for a year to please Lord Vishnu so that she must be blessed with a son. After a year of sacrifice, Lord Vishnu incarnated himself as her son. Everyone had come to congratulate and bless the child. Lord Shani (The Saturn god) the son of Surya (Sun God) was reluctant to look at the child because his gaze is believed to be destructive. However, he was convinced by Goddess Parvati to bless the child. As soon as Shani put his eyes on the child, his head fell off leaving the parents grief-stricken.

Lord Vishnu sent Garuda, the eagle to bring back the head, who got an elephant head which was then mounted by the lord on the body of the lifeless child, bringing him back to life. This is how according to the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Ganesha acquired the head of an elephant. 

Here's wishing our readers a Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!