Ganesh Jee | Miscellanea-4
[From Aangiras, p 119-120]
Ganapati means, the status of who it represents, and the form of the god it represents have evolved over time. Originally the term was used for Dev Guru Brihaspati calling him Ganapati - the lord of hosts. The first line of Rig Ved S verse 2-23-1 is "Ganaanaam twa ganapatim havaamahey". Later the Yajur Ved verse 23-19 was composed with the same first line wherein Ganapati is considered the formless Lord of all men, the one who is All-wisdom, owner of all there is, and the one who knows all about us. In the third development Ganapati was given a human figure with a human head. He was worshipped in this form for at least up to the time of King Kanishk (c 100 AD) who put the pictures of Ganesh on his coins. It appears that as the Aarya moved southward, they met with enormous tribal populations. Possibly in Mahaaraashtra are the tribes were worshipping an elephant-headed god. It appears that they thought that the best way to assimilate the tribe into Aarya was to combine the god of tribe into the god of Aarya. Thus the elephant-headed god of the tribe was granted the name Ganapati or Ganesh. Later on many mythical stories were added to Ganesh fable by unauthorized interpolators of the Puraan.
In 1,600 AD, or later Shiv Rudra Puraan put up a fictional story about Ganesh being the son of Shiv and Paarvatee. This era coincides with the downfall of Hindu culture. Shiv Rudra is not even among the major Puraan. The story put was, that Paarvatee went for her bath and told her son Ganesh to watch at the door of the house and not let anyone enter while she was taking bath. Shiv wished to enter but Ganesh did not let him enter, so in anger Shiv cut the head of his son not knowing that Ganesh was his own son. When Paarvatee came to know about this she cried a lot. Shiv, to pacify her, replaced it with an elephant head, the first head he could come up with.
Ganesh is further depicted with only one tusk, having lost the other one in the fight with Parashuraam. Some of these stories appear in Brahm Vaivart Puraan (c 800 AD). Ganesh is also said to be riding a mouse as his transport. These stories are not only absurd, they insult Shiv, Paarvatee and Ganesh and will go, hopefully, out of circulation forever. The image of Ganesh with an elephant's head can be tolerated, because elephant is the biggest animal and in spite of being the largest animal it is very humble with a desire to help others.
Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on May 17, 2013