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What is the truth about Ganesh's head?

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prasad1

Well-known member
In a thread in scholarly Discussion and Philosophy
http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/showthread.php?t=27541&p=319012#post319012
I had a not so scholarly comment that was not posted as it needs a review.
So I am posting my comments here for common members to interact.
TKSji posted

4. Ganesa as created by Goddess Parvathi from turmeric is like a person in this creation who has ego (sense of individuality) like you or I and therefore cannot recognize the presence of Isvara (Siva). He fights with all his might and does not recognize presence of Isvara.
5. When the ego is cut off (or rather the sense of individuality is cut off ) all that remains is Isvara in the absence of ego. Siva cutting off head of Ganapathi is like cutting off the ego at which point the appearance of creation ceases to exist (which is the result symbolized by Goddess Parvathi as Nature ceasing appearance of this universe and going into dissolution)
6. In the endless cycle, from dissolution to creation, Ganesha is given a head of elephant which represents enormous wisdom required to understand the presence of Isvara (Siva).

This explanation runs counter to the argument of our PM and the Hindutva Brigade.

According to the text of the speech posted on the PMO website, he said, “Hum Ganeshji ki pooja karte hain. Koi to plastic surgeon hoga us zamaane mein jisne manushya ke shareer par haathi ka sar rakhkar ke plastic surgery ka prarambh kiya hoga. (We worship Lord Ganesh. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery).” - See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/pm-takes-leaf-from-batra-book-mahabharat-genetics-lord-ganesha-surgery/#sthash.3bNLS2kM.dpuf


Is the story symbolic or factual?
 

sangom

Well-known member
In a thread in scholarly Discussion and Philosophy
http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/showthread.php?t=27541&p=319012#post319012
I had a not so scholarly comment that was not posted as it needs a review.
So I am posting my comments here for common members to interact.
TKSji posted

4. Ganesa as created by Goddess Parvathi from turmeric is like a person in this creation who has ego (sense of individuality) like you or I and therefore cannot recognize the presence of Isvara (Siva). He fights with all his might and does not recognize presence of Isvara.
5. When the ego is cut off (or rather the sense of individuality is cut off ) all that remains is Isvara in the absence of ego. Siva cutting off head of Ganapathi is like cutting off the ego at which point the appearance of creation ceases to exist (which is the result symbolized by Goddess Parvathi as Nature ceasing appearance of this universe and going into dissolution)
6. In the endless cycle, from dissolution to creation, Ganesha is given a head of elephant which represents enormous wisdom required to understand the presence of Isvara (Siva).

This explanation runs counter to the argument of our PM and the Hindutva Brigade.

According to the text of the speech posted on the PMO website, he said, “Hum Ganeshji ki pooja karte hain. Koi to plastic surgeon hoga us zamaane mein jisne manushya ke shareer par haathi ka sar rakhkar ke plastic surgery ka prarambh kiya hoga. (We worship Lord Ganesh. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery).” - See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/pm-takes-leaf-from-batra-book-mahabharat-genetics-lord-ganesha-surgery/#sthash.3bNLS2kM.dpuf


Is the story symbolic or factual?

I can say one thing, and that is, no Youngster today will believe any of these cock &elephant stories! Only ambys, brainwashed sufficiently, will swallow
All such stories!
 

tks

Well-known member
Sri Prasad - Obviously as I said, there are people who believe in Puranic stories though Puranas are not history documents.
The only thing we teach our children is to demonstrate respect to believers and non-believers alike provided neither is causing harm to others. That means we do not teach them to mock either side.

If one were to view such stories as real, there will be all kinds of contradictions violating all kinds of laws of science while also making the Gods appear as mean entities!

The only question for me then is if there is some metaphysical content that points to some of the unique aspects of Hinduism. On this point the answer is seemingly yes, at least based on one explanation.

Now regarding the speech posted at PMO website - I am unaware of it until now. I understand the point he is making as a completely different one. In anycase he is forcefully saying that he believes something as true. But it is a belief only and we respect it and leave it at that. In any case he is addressing other believers only and is not expecting other non-believers or other religion to follow his word.

Someone may not believe in the factual aspects and that is fine too.

Based on science, such things are not possible from what we know. In matters of beliefs, no one can prove or disprove such things as events of a mythological story. In my thinking it is not the right question.

The useful question is if there is any value one has for certain religious traditions rooted in a Puranic story.

The value question will mean that there is an objective and vision for life. Also one will need an explanation for tradition that is rooted in some doctrines that is helpful to attaining that vision of life. On these areas, some of our traditions have concrete guidance.

I personally do not care for views of disrespectful believers or disrespectful non-believers.

However if one examines some of our traditions with open mind to only understand I think there is lot of wisdom embedded in them.
 

Govinda

New member
I can say one thing, and that is, no Youngster today will believe any of these cock &elephant stories! Only ambys, brainwashed sufficiently, will swallow
All such stories!
No sangom sir, that was the previous generation a decade who are egoistic enough to not believe. But this gen. They would love the v iolent part, to use it for the fulfillment of their ego and desire. These days what the video games teach them is to boost their ego/false confidence to win over everything/everyone incl. Of their parents. The only slogans these gen knows.. I know better..I win..
 
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Govinda

New member
Tks sir,
BGTilak started the ganesh murti procession as a means of promoting freedom movement to gather support. There was no such worship for ganesh. BrahamOtsavam is the only worship ordained in the vedas. It is still ok to take your worshipping deity for a procession. But I have an important question on ego! If ganesh is a symbol of removing ego, why are the devotees
without understanding the philosophy behind, compete themselves, and carry hundreds of ganesh mUrtis? Are they trying to compete among themselves or compare which ganesh is best? Why cant they make one for a locality and worship him? Isnt it madness or overdoing?
 

Govinda

New member
Tks sir,
I have a logical /philosophical question regd this.
"If ego is cut off, all that remains is Isvara".
If so, ego is different from isvara, then ego is more powerful and separate from isvara, and where did ego come from and how/why did ego stick to Isvara??

Is ego a living thing (conscious like humans, animals etc.) ? Or just matter, non-living?
 

prasad1

Well-known member
Now regarding the speech posted at PMO website - I am unaware of it until now. I understand the point he is making as a completely different one. In anycase he is forcefully saying that he believes something as true. But it is a belief only and we respect it and leave it at that. In any case he is addressing other believers only and is not expecting other non-believers or other religion to follow his word.
That was not only posted on PMO website, it was speech to a gathering of scientist and doctors.
“We can feel proud of what our country achieved in medical science at one point of time,” the prime minister told a gathering of doctors and other professionals at a hospital in Mumbai on Saturday. “We all read about Karna in the Mahabharata. If we think a little more, we realise that the Mahabharata says Karna was not born from his mother’s womb. This means that genetic science was present at that time. That is why Karna could be born outside his mother’s womb.”

Modi went on: “We worship Lord Ganesha. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery.”
While much of Modi’s speech was devoted to how to improve healthcare facilities in modern India, he also dwelt on ancient India’s “capabilities” in several fields.
“There must be many areas in which our ancestors made big contributions,” he said. “Some of these are well recognised. If we talk about space science, our ancestors had, at some point, displayed great strengths in space science. What people like Aryabhata had said centuries ago is being recognised by science today. What I mean to say is that we are a country which had these capabilities. We need to regain these.”
This is not the first time that Modi has publicly articulated such ideas. But he did so earlier as chief minister of Gujarat state, and not as prime minister. He also wrote the foreword to a book for school students in Gujarat which maintains, among other things, that the Hindu God Rama flew the first aeroplane and that stem cell technology was known in ancient India.
Modi’s claims at the Mumbai hospital initially went unreported in the Indian media, except on the website rediff.com.
But on Monday night Headlines Today TV talk show host Karan Thapar focused on it in his primetime programme, with opposition politicians criticising Modi. The speech has also been posted on the prime minister’s official website. No Indian scientist has come forward as yet to challenge him.

A "hocus-pokus" in the name of tradition must not be basis of science. If you want to appeal to the modern educated intelligent youth, we must have believable story. I have no problem with TKSji explanation. It is meaningful and viable.
 

renuka

Well-known member
I look at the Ganesh story as symbolic.

1)Parvati represents Prakirti

2)Shiva represent Iswara

3)Now Parvati(Prakirti) created a being(Ganesh) to guard herself..that is symbolic of nature and its creation.

4)Now Ganesh did not have a mind of his own initially..he was just taking orders from Parvati(Prakirti)..this symbolizes delusion thinking that Prakirti is real.

5)Along comes Shiva(Ishwara)..and Ganesh who was merely taking orders failed to recognize Iswara.
Reason he could not recognize Iswara is becos he was under the spell of Prakirti the phenomenal world.

6)Now one can also ask why Shiva being Iswara did not recognize Ganesh too..wait..will come to that later.

7) Ganesh... I would like to relate as Jeevatma.. In order for Jeeva(Ganesh) to recognize Shiva(Ishwara) the Ahamkara has to be shed..the Ahamkara is best depicted as a head.

8)A battle ensures cos the Ahamkara is the most difficult to shed..finally Iswara decapitates the Ahamkara..the head of Ganesh.

9)Ganesh's head is then replaced by an elephant's head..when an elephant walks the trees fall down at times and a path is cleared..therefore an elephant's head symbolizes clearing of obstacles ..Viveka.

10)Then he is able to recognize Iswara.

11)Now coming to the fact why Shiva did not recognize Ganesh....it symbolizes the needed action to be taken by Jeevatma to realize Iswara and Iswara remains a witness till the Ahamkara is shed.
 

tks

Well-known member
I look at the Ganesh story as symbolic.

1)Parvati represents Prakirti

2)Shiva represent Iswara

3)Now Parvati(Prakirti) created a being(Ganesh) to guard herself..that is symbolic of nature and its creation.

4)Now Ganesh did not have a mind of his own initially..he was just taking orders from Parvati(Prakirti)..this symbolizes delusion thinking that Prakirti is real.

5)Along comes Shiva(Ishwara)..and Ganesh who was merely taking orders failed to recognize Iswara.
Reason he could not recognize Iswara is becos he was under the spell of Prakirti the phenomenal world.

6)Now one can also ask why Shiva being Iswara did not recognize Ganesh too..wait..will come to that later.

7) Ganesh... I would like to relate as Jeevatma.. In order for Jeeva(Ganesh) to recognize Shiva(Ishwara) the Ahamkara has to be shed..the Ahamkara is best depicted as a head.

8)A battle ensures cos the Ahamkara is the most difficult to shed..finally Iswara decapitates the Ahamkara..the head of Ganesh.

9)Ganesh's head is then replaced by an elephant's head..when an elephant walks the trees fall down at times and a path is cleared..therefore an elephant's head symbolizes clearing of obstacles ..Viveka.

10)Then he is able to recognize Iswara.

11)Now coming to the fact why Shiva did not recognize Ganesh....it symbolizes the needed action to be taken by Jeevatma to realize Iswara and Iswara remains a witness till the Ahamkara is shed.
I hope you will post this simple explanation in the scholarly section as well .. Thanks
It is more direct and to the point.
 

tks

Well-known member
Tks sir,
BGTilak started the ganesh murti procession as a means of promoting freedom movement to gather support. There was no such worship for ganesh. BrahamOtsavam is the only worship ordained in the vedas. It is still ok to take your worshipping deity for a procession. But I have an important question on ego! If ganesh is a symbol of removing ego, why are the devotees
without understanding the philosophy behind, compete themselves, and carry hundreds of ganesh mUrtis? Are they trying to compete among themselves or compare which ganesh is best? Why cant they make one for a locality and worship him? Isnt it madness or overdoing?
Sri Govinda,

My knowledge is limited when it comes to what is ordained in the first three sections of the Vedas dealing with upasana, karma/rituals etc.
So I can offer only my opinion which is that rituals and stories must have relevance to the underlying teaching (the (4th) knowledge section of the Vedas).
In addition it must also make sense to us.

In fact, understanding is even more important than even alignment with Upanishads. What one will discover is that the teaching embedded in specific sections of Upanishads cannot be bested. So all efforts at personal opinions usually will have contradictions but what is taught if understood will be found to be free of contradictions. This can be discovered by any sincere sadhakas and no one has to take my word.

With this said, worshiping of any kind, when done with sincerity and shraddha even if it is for a materialistic gain that is not adharmic, can be helpful in this Vyavaharika world. This is emphasized in B.Gita also.

So worshiping by procession as an act is not the issue, but the attitude of those doing such a worship is the key.

Ganesha is the presiding deity of all the Ganas which can represent all the million factors that helped us to reach thus far as a human being. Our way of showing gratitude is but one form of checking our 'sense of doer-ship' often called ego. Therefore people worship Ganesha for expression of gratitude and to help one further along without impediments.

Now in the scholarly section I do want to go into more detail as to why Ganesha is not worshiped as just Isvara to remove our obstacles but also as one who puts the obstacles :) That will be in the future post.

Ganesha's big head is symbol of wisdom as well and hence it is about someone not controlled by own ego.

Most common people do not care about symbolic and doctrinal significance. I think in today's world what exist in most religions (and not just in Hinduism) is delusional worship. One can see what Christmas has become. Today's politicians and even the Church is focused on control and power contrary to what Jesus taught by own example. Budhism is all about rituals though what Budha taught was anything but that.

Worship and rituals are about show of ego. Upanayanam functions is about photo-op moments.

The one who is super ritualistic and even an expert can be afflicted by Damba - feeling of superiority arising from the knowledge of rituals. Sri Krishna in B.Gita chapter 13 discussed impediments to true Bhakthi which includes overcoming Damba.

Delusional worship rules the world by and large in my view.
When one begins the effort to understand Isvara with clarity, delusional worship becomes nectar of Bhakthi (attained without requiring any faith) :)
In the future I will have thread on this

Not sure if I answered your question though I tried to answer what may have given rise to your question.
 

tks

Well-known member
Tks sir,
I have a logical /philosophical question regd this.
"If ego is cut off, all that remains is Isvara".
If so, ego is different from isvara, then ego is more powerful and separate from isvara, and where did ego come from and how/why did ego stick to Isvara??

Is ego a living thing (conscious like humans, animals etc.) ? Or just matter, non-living?
Let me attempt to communicate using a metaphor. Now metaphors are not proofs and have limited scope to just convey an idea.
The Upanishads and B.Gita do provide much more rigorous and precise teaching.

With that said, let us take a pencil and put in beaker of water (as in a middle school class experiment).

The pencil appears as broken when immersed in water and looked through the glass beaker.

In this limited example, the pencil is like Isvara.
The appearance of broken pencil is ego (often referred to as Jiva).

Broken pencil does not have its own independent existence. It appears so only as long as it is immersed in water.
The original pencil is unaffected by this appearance and did not even participate in causing the broken pencil.

Refraction property of light that causes this appearance did not cause this pencil to break.

When one understand (read as knowledge) the refraction properties of light one knows that the pencil was never broken. But even for a science person it will still appear as broken.

Now some Q&A

1. Are there two entities - pencil and broken pencil?
NO, one is just an appearance.

2. If so, ego (broken pencil) is different from Isvara (pencil) ?
Yes, but they cannot be compared since broken pencil is but an appearance

3. Is ego (broken pencil) more powerful and separate from isvara (pencil),
Will not make sense since broken pencil does not have independent existence.

4. and where did ego (broken pencil) come from and how/why did ego stick to Isvara (pencil)??
Broken pencil appeared to come into existence for a duration for time while in the beaker of water. It was never stuck to the Pencil

5. Is ego a living thing (conscious like humans, animals etc.) ? Or just matter, non-living?
It appears to be the conscious thing but upon examination (knowledge with right teacher) it is found to not have an independent existence.

Cutting off ego is like removing the pencil from water and one finds that there was only one unbroken pencil all along.
 

tks

Well-known member
That was not only posted on PMO website, it was speech to a gathering of scientist and doctors.
“We can feel proud of what our country achieved in medical science at one point of time,” the prime minister told a gathering of doctors and other professionals at a hospital in Mumbai on Saturday. “We all read about Karna in the Mahabharata. If we think a little more, we realise that the Mahabharata says Karna was not born from his mother’s womb. This means that genetic science was present at that time. That is why Karna could be born outside his mother’s womb.”

Modi went on: “We worship Lord Ganesha. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery.”
While much of Modi’s speech was devoted to how to improve healthcare facilities in modern India, he also dwelt on ancient India’s “capabilities” in several fields.
“There must be many areas in which our ancestors made big contributions,” he said. “Some of these are well recognised. If we talk about space science, our ancestors had, at some point, displayed great strengths in space science. What people like Aryabhata had said centuries ago is being recognised by science today. What I mean to say is that we are a country which had these capabilities. We need to regain these.”
This is not the first time that Modi has publicly articulated such ideas. But he did so earlier as chief minister of Gujarat state, and not as prime minister. He also wrote the foreword to a book for school students in Gujarat which maintains, among other things, that the Hindu God Rama flew the first aeroplane and that stem cell technology was known in ancient India.
Modi’s claims at the Mumbai hospital initially went unreported in the Indian media, except on the website rediff.com.
But on Monday night Headlines Today TV talk show host Karan Thapar focused on it in his primetime programme, with opposition politicians criticising Modi. The speech has also been posted on the prime minister’s official website. No Indian scientist has come forward as yet to challenge him.

A "hocus-pokus" in the name of tradition must not be basis of science. If you want to appeal to the modern educated intelligent youth, we must have believable story. I have no problem with TKSji explanation. It is meaningful and viable.
Sometimes people give pep talks based on audience. This is purely my guess and opinion.

Many scientists and doctors I know are very religious bordering on superstitious ideas ( and I am not talking about just Hindus).

PM Modi admires works of Swami Vivekananda. He wanted to be a monk and shared rooms with the now president of Ranakrishna Mission (I have no proof but heard from someone known to be reliable).

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/Modi-wanted-to-be-Ramakrishna-monk-rejected-thrice/articleshow/19468165.cms

In other words, PM Modi is well aware of Vendatic teaching. He may be giving a pep talk to tell people they can accomplish anything building on our past.

You and I (as well as PM Modi possibly) know that this kind of extrapolation of mentions of some imagination in Purana as real accomplishment is nonsense.
 

yesmohan

New member
Faith is a Faith.
If you go deep into the faiths of the world, all look , in one way or other look just like a " Logic Illaatha Magic "
 

sangom

Well-known member
Tks sir,
BGTilak started the ganesh murti procession as a means of promoting freedom movement to gather support. There was no such worship for ganesh. BrahamOtsavam is the only worship ordained in the vedas. It is still ok to take your worshipping deity for a procession. But I have an important question on ego! If ganesh is a symbol of removing ego, why are the devotees
without understanding the philosophy behind, compete themselves, and carry hundreds of ganesh mUrtis? Are they trying to compete among themselves or compare which ganesh is best? Why cant they make one for a locality and worship him? Isnt it madness or overdoing?
Even in Maharashtra only the upper castes used to observe the "Gauri-Ganesha" festival. People used to make small idols at home for this and the immersion used to be in nearby ponds or even wells inside the home compound.

As you have observed, Tilak thought that the lower castes who had been kept scrupulously outside the ambit of hindu religion, were not at all enthusiastic about the freedom movement and so as a first step, he thought of making the Ganapathi festival as "sAtvajanik" that is, common for all people. But even earlier, there were one or two wealthy families in Pune who were doing the Ganpathi festival in a very grand manner, open to the public; it is not however clear whether the low caste people had access to even view these idols.

When the vedic aryans came into the interiors of the sub-continent, they must have met with different primitive tribes each having its own "totem" animal which was held in sacred respect and awe, usually. Some large tribe might have had elephant head as its totem. In order to "engulf and devour" this tribe into the vedic cult, the aryans must have included an elephant headed god in their vast repertoire of deities and, to give legitimacy to such inclusion, concocted the upapuranams Mudgalapuranam and Ganeshapuranam, which were the "core" scriptures for the gANApatyas. All the rest of the high talk, philosophical pontifications etc., are nothing more than "cover up" strategies.
 

sravna

Well-known member
Dear Renuka,

I do not think I can contribute more to the explanation but I think I will give my views on whether these really happened. From my own experiences let me give my views

An important question is whether Lord Ganesha exists, Lord Shiva exists and whether all the gods that we worship in some form exist? I would say that spiritual forces definitely exist and spiritually evolved people like the sages get spiritual thoughts spontaneously. The spiritual forces that exist would have been instrumental in giving the spiritual thoughts to the sages in a way that spiritual messages are conveyed. This also explains why there are different religions giving seemingly different views. I would say the spiritual messages would be the same if one is able to see them. Only the presentation and the physical imagery that the evolved people get would be different, probably in accordance with space, time and purpose .
 

sangom

Well-known member
In a thread in scholarly Discussion and Philosophy
http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/showthread.php?t=27541&p=319012#post319012
I had a not so scholarly comment that was not posted as it needs a review.
So I am posting my comments here for common members to interact.
TKSji posted

4. Ganesa as created by Goddess Parvathi from turmeric is like a person in this creation who has ego (sense of individuality) like you or I and therefore cannot recognize the presence of Isvara (Siva). He fights with all his might and does not recognize presence of Isvara.
5. When the ego is cut off (or rather the sense of individuality is cut off ) all that remains is Isvara in the absence of ego. Siva cutting off head of Ganapathi is like cutting off the ego at which point the appearance of creation ceases to exist (which is the result symbolized by Goddess Parvathi as Nature ceasing appearance of this universe and going into dissolution)
6. In the endless cycle, from dissolution to creation, Ganesha is given a head of elephant which represents enormous wisdom required to understand the presence of Isvara (Siva).

This explanation runs counter to the argument of our PM and the Hindutva Brigade.

According to the text of the speech posted on the PMO website, he said, “Hum Ganeshji ki pooja karte hain. Koi to plastic surgeon hoga us zamaane mein jisne manushya ke shareer par haathi ka sar rakhkar ke plastic surgery ka prarambh kiya hoga. (We worship Lord Ganesh. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery).” - See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/pm-takes-leaf-from-batra-book-mahabharat-genetics-lord-ganesha-surgery/#sthash.3bNLS2kM.dpuf


Is the story symbolic or factual?
There are many mythological stories about the elephant head of ganesha; all these are from different puranas. To try to give some "scholarly" explanations to this purely mythological 'story' is a fool's pompous job and nothing more. A more plausible and un-scholarly explanation will be the one given in this post.

Just to give some directions to the scholarly discussions here's what Matsya Purana says about Ganesha and his elephant head:

"We have quite a different account of the origin of Ganesa in the "Matsya Purāna." * When Pārvati was bathing, she took the oil and ointments used at the bath, together with the impurities that came from her body, and formed them into the figure of a man, to which she gave life by sprinkling it with the water of the Ganges. This figure had the head of the elephant. The "Siva Purāna" relates that, after giving Ganesa life, Pārvati placed him at her door to prevent intrusion
whilst she was bathing. On his refusal to allow Siva to enter, a struggle ensued, in which that deity cut off Ganesa's head; but when Pārvati showed her husband that it was by her orders that the door was closed, and wept because of the loss of her son, Siva ordered the first head that could be found to be brought to him; this happened to be an elephant's, which he fitted to the headless trunk and resuscitated his son." (http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/hmvp/hmvp35.htm)

Again,Brahmavaivarta Purana has two accounts. The first one is :—

"Pārvati, after her marriage with Siva, being without a child, and very desirous to obtain one, was advised by her husband to perform the Panyākavrātā. This is the worship of Vishnu, to be begun on the thirteenth day of the bright fortnight of Māgha, and continued for a year, on every day of which flowers, fruits, cakes, vessels, gems, gold, etc., are to be presented, and a thousand Brāhmans fed; and the performer of the rite is to observe most carefully a life of inward purity, and to fix the mind on Hari (Vishnu). Pārvati having, with the aid of Sanat Kumāra, as directing priest, accomplished the ceremony on the banks of the Ganges, returns after some interval, in which she sees Krishna, first as a body of light, and afterwards as an old Brāhman, come to her dwelling. The reward of her religious zeal being delayed, she is plunged in grief, when a viewless voice tells her to go to her apartment, where she will find a son who is the lord of Goloka, or Krishna, that deity having assumed the semblance of her son as a recompense for her devotions.

"In compliment to this occasion, all the gods came to congratulate Siva and Pārvati, and were severally admitted to see the infant. Amidst the splendid cohort was Sand, the planet Saturn, who, although anxious to pay his homage to the child, kept his eyes stedfastly fixed on the ground. Pārvati asking him the reason of this, he told her that, being immersed in meditation upon Vishnu, he had disregarded the caresses of his wife, and in resentment of his neglect, she had denounced upon him the curse that whomsoever he gazed upon he should destroy. To obviate the evil consequences of this imprecation, he avoided looking any one in the face. Parvati, having heard his story, paid no regard to it, but, considering that what must be, must be, gave him permission to look on her son. Sani, calling Dharma to witness his having leave, took a peep at Ganesa, on which the child's head was severed from his body, and flew away to the heaven of Krishna, where it re-united with the substance of him of whom it formed a part.


"Durgā, taking the headless trunk in her arms, cast herself weeping on the ground, and the gods thought it decent to follow her example, all except Vishnu, who mounted Garuda, and flew off to the river Pushpabhadra, where, finding an elephant asleep, he took off his head, and, flying back with it, clapped it on to the body of Ganesa; hence the body of that deity is crowned with its present uncouth capital. On the restoration of Ganesa to life, valuable gifts were made to the gods and Brāhmans by the parents, and by Pārvati's father, the personified Himālaya. The unfortunate Sani was again anathematized, and, in consequence of Pārvati's curse, has limped ever since."
(http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/hmvp/hmvp35.htm)




"In another part of the same Purāna, further particulars are given somewhat at variance with the above. Siva, offended with Aditya (the sun), slew him, and although he restored him to life incurred the wrath of the sage Kasyapa, who doomed his (Siva's) son to lose his head. The elephant whose head was placed upon Ganesa's body was Indra's elephant, which was decapitated because Indra threw over his neck the garland of flowers which the sage Durvasas gave him, and the disrespect of which, with the consequent degradation of Indra, is noticed in various Purānas, although with different results. Indra was no loser of an elephant by this transaction, as Vishnu, moved by the prayers of his wife, gave him another in place of that which he took away." (http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/hmvp/hmvp35.htm)

It should be a full-time exercise for some people to adduce "philosophical" or sAmkhya explanations to everyone of these gossippy stories.

(Note: If one goes through all the puraanas one will find many more stories. I am not giving more stories for fear of making this post unwieldy.)
 
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