My superstition (?)

September 11, 2006

Story goes that one day Lord Ganesha was playing about in his house. Mother, Parvati, was busy with domestic work. She wanted to take her bath, but was sceptical of leaving young Ganesha all alone as Lord Shiva was not at home. Not seeing any signs of Lord Shiva returning she decided to go ahead, and left Ganesha with very strict instructions-“No letting anyone in while I’m taking my bath”. Ganesha nodded his head vigorously. Feeling assured, Parvati left and Ganesha continued his play.

After a while, Shiva returned. As he was about to enter the house, Ganesha saw him and was in a fix. Mother did not say anything about making an exception. Could he let his father in? Parvati’s words were like command for Ganesha. He couldn’t let his mother down. So, he stopped Shiva and told him that mother had asked him to not let anyone in. Shiva was amused, he smiled at Ganesha and was about to step in when Ganesha drew his weapon. Shiva was not going to take any nonsense and asked Ganesha to stop fooling about and let him in. But, Ganesha was not ready to budge. In a fit of anger, Shiva beheaded him. Shiva is quite famous for his short-temper. He gets angry in no time and the very next moment he will cool down and will regret his doing.

So, here was Ganesha beheaded, lying in a pool of blood. Seeing his son lying at his feet, Shiva came to his senses. He sat down with his son in his lap and started lamenting. Parvati heard him weep and came running down. Seeing what had happened while she was away, she was grief stricken. She admonished Shiva for what he had done and clearly told him that she wanted her son back. Shiva summoned all the Gods and asked them for advice on what could be done. People gave different suggestions, but nothing seemed like a good solution. Someone suggested that if a head of another child, about the same age as Ganesha could be obtained and fitted on Ganesha, he would come alive. Someone in the crowd added that if they managed to get the head of a child, whose mother did not love him, it would be a lesser evil. Everyone agreed that it was indeed a good idea. So,people were sent in all directions to look for a child about the same age as Ganesha, whose mother did not love him.

People rushed in all directions to find a appropriate head for Ganesha. One tired group was roaming around in a jungle when they spotted a family of elephants napping in the shade. The father elephant was lazing under one huge tree and the mother elephant was napping with her two baby elephants under another tree. One baby elephant was lying near her tummy and the other one was lying near her back. The men sighed on seeing the family relaxing in the cool shade and were about to move away when a thought came to their mind. The mother elephant probably did not love the baby elephant lying near her back as much as the one near her tummy! How could she let him sleep unattended and uncared for! There was no doubt about her partiality for the one sleeping in front of her. And the baby elephant looked the same age as Ganesha. But,there was a small problem, would a elephant head be acceptable. Time was running out and they couldn’t take a chance. And besides no one had told them that they needed a God/human head. So, they went ahead and beheaded the baby elephant and carried his head to Lord Shiva.Gods and Shiva rejoiced on seeing the men return in time. However, when they saw what the men had got, everyone was aghast. Parvati started crying even louder. Time was running out. The Gods advised Shiva that they had no option left and would have to go ahead with the baby elephant’s head. After some anxious moments the head was fitted. The Gods sprinkled some water on Ganesha’s face and waited for him to show signs of life. Ganesha stirred and within moments opened his eyes and looked about him, surprised at the crowd that had gathered around him, not knowing what had transpired. Shiva and Parvati hugged him. The Gods rejoiced. Everyone went away happily. No one gave a thought to the sorrow of the mother elephant who had lost her child.

I heard this story when I was small. It left an impression on me. So much so that, if I ever saw any mother sleeping with her back towards her child, I would feel sorry for the child. However, I never realised how deep the impression was. After Aru arrived, I would never sleep with my back towards her. And even if I did, I could never sleep in that position for long. I know many of you are going to laugh your hearts out on hearing this, but even today I’m not comfortable sleeping with my back towards Aru 😦

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One Response to “My superstition (?)”

  1. Reena Says:

    Being a parent makes a person paranoid. There were so many things I used to just laugh at but after my son was born I was not ready to take the risk. I did not become overly superstitious, but I have developed all other kinds of paronia. For instance I’m not ready to travel in the same car or any vehicle with my husband when my son is not traveling with me. I’m always afraid that we would get into an accident and leave my son orphaned.

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