Monday, September 19, 2011

Varaha - The Wild Boar




Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu were both sons of the sage Kashyapa, born of his second wife, Diti. Strong and valiant from childhood, they grew to be extremely powerful, and as their power grew, so did their ego. Hiranyaksha’s thirst for invincibility led him to perform great penances to Brahma in search for immortality. However, even the creator couldn’t bless a mortal with immortality, so Hiranyaksha settled instead for immunity from all creatures – human, divine and animal. To make doubly sure that he would indeed be safe from all creatures, he enumerated each creature he thought of! Brahma had no choice but to agree, bound as he was by the power of the sacrifices and penances Hiranyaksha had performed.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ganesha and Kaveri


Kaveri is one of the major rivers in India and figures among the seven holiest of rivers. In south India, she is considered to be even holier than the Ganga! She originates in the heart of the Western Ghats, amidst the picturesque surroundings of Coorg, at Talakaveri, from where she flows down through the plains of Karnataka and Tamilnadu, before finally merging into the Bay of Bengal at Poompuhar. As with all rivers in India, she is considered to be a goddess and her origin at Talakaveri has an interesting story behind it, in which Ganesha plays a small, but pivotal role!

The Story of Kaveri as shown in a temple painting
(Image from http://ganeshway.blogspot.com)


The king Kavera ruled over South India. Though he and his wife were kind and well loved rulers, they were sad because they were childless. They prayed to Brahma, who blessed them with a divine baby girl, who came to be known as Kaveri – the daughter of Kavera. When Kaveri was of marriageable age, she refused to marry any of the kings who presented their suit. She wanted to be the wife of someone exceptional, someone who could compare with even Brahma, the creator, who had given her in blessing to the king. She went off to the Sahya mountains (the Sahayadris in the Western Ghats) to meditate on the creator to get her wish fulfilled.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How Ganesha Broke His Tusk


Ganesha is usually depicted with one of his tusks broken. Have you wondered when and how the elephant headed god managed to break just one tusk? Was it an indication of ivory being used even then? Or did he get it broken in a fight? As with most other features of Ganesha, there are two stories to explain this too!

Sage Vyasa dictating the Mahabharata to Ganesha
(Image from the internet)


The first and the more popular story is related to the sage Vyasa and the Mahabharata.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why Ganesha Loves Dhurva Grass


The first and main offering for Lord Ganesha is the Dhurva grass. The grass grows wild all over India, and is rarely used for anything else. Why then is it so important for Ganesha? Read this story to find out!

 
A depiction of the story of Dhurva at a pandal last year

There once lived a demon named Analasura, whose evil acts had the Gods worried.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Novel Methods of Obeisance


In South India, devotees have two novel methods of worshipping Lord Ganesha. The first one is where they tap their temples (side of the head behind the eyes) with their knuckles (making a fist). The second is where they cross their arms and pull their ear lobes, while performing sit ups! Do you know how these interesting methods of obeisance came about?
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