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22. 10. 2018
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Sons of Lord Shiva - Ganesha & Kartikeya

Lord Shiva and Maa parvati has two Sons , Kartikeya and Ganesh in hindu mythology. Kartikeya being eldest and ganesh younger one. Many poets and scholars have praised to these two verypowerful sons of lord shiva.

Praise to Ganesha my beloved Ganesha.. The Sacred king with a single tusk with his broad forehead decorated with vermilion And wearing a glowing necklace of pearls

— Swami Tulsidas 16th Century Poet, in praise of Ganesha


Ganesha is the benevolent and benign god of wisdom and remover of all obstacles.

As the bestower of Siddhi, success, he's one of the *tnost beloved gods of the Hindu pantheon, acjored by his dev<^tees jn Spjte 0f his elephant head and single tus^ Gentle, calr^ and propitious, he epitomises prudence an(|is also a patrcKn of literature. In the Vedas, Ganesha began as uanapati, lord^ of the Ganas, the group of minor deities wl,0 serve the an*^ god Ruira Originally the Ganas were theturbulent hos.ts of Rudra and were usually invoked to avoid misfortune and ward off evil

However, over the years he has become a deity with his own cult, temples, and festivals. His worshippers are called Ganapatyas and hymns to his praise are found in the Ganapati Prakarana of the Yajnavalkya Samhita and sects worshipping Ganesha had appeared by the time of the Guptas. His special festival is Ganesha Chaturthi in the month of Ashvin just after the monsoons, when giant images are worshipped, especially in Maharashtra.

Ganesha is a presence in all temples as the worship of all the gods must begin with an invocation to him. Kind and generous Ganesha is always invoked before any important work is undertaken, be it the starting of a business, the building of a house or the writing of a book or even undertaking a journey. He is the eldest son of Shiva and Parvati though some myths say that his brother Kartikeya is older. In the east, Lakshmi and Saraswati are believed to be his sisters.

Ganesha is an endearing though odd looking deity. First of course is the elephant head on a human body. Then he obviously loves food because he has a golden skinned, plump figure with a prosperous belly and is often depicted carrying a pot of sweetmeats called modakas. In his four hands he carries a conchshell, a chakra, an elephant goad, and a lotus. Sometimes he is shown reading a book or writing on a palm leaf manuscript. His elephant head, belly, and a rat as a vehicle probably mean that he was originally the deity of a tribal cult.

Ganesha is depicted as sitting in the asana pose, standing, in the sthanaka and dancing in the nritya posture. Like his parents Shiva and Parvati, he also possesses a third eye but he is not known to open the eye in anger. In him it is more 192 / £Pevi~devata a wisdom. Also as Shiva's child he wears a snake li^e a sacred thread and is also a dancer but unlike his volatile ? Parent> his dance is one of joy and not destruction.

Ther"^ more than one myth to explain the anachronism of an el^eP^ant head for the son of such good looking parents. It is sai-^d that a son was born to Parvati after many prayers and the f gathered to admire the new born child. Parvati noticed t'lat Sham, the god of Saturn refused to look directly at tlie cfhild, keeping his gaze fixed to the ground. Parvati • ste(5^ that he look at her son, forgetting that Shani

possessed an eviI ^e. , moment a reluctant Shani looked at the baby its head was bur/nt to ashes. As a frantic Parvati began to cry, Brahma ordered ^ndra to go out and bring the head of the first living creatur^ could find. The first creature Indra saw was Airavat - own elephant and he cut off its head and brought it to Br^ma P^ced it on the shoulders of the child and brought ^ t0 Looking at this bizarre apparition Parvati „„ n more distressed and cried even louder. At which was eve Brahma ordamed that from then on, the child would be worshiped before all gods and he would become the most beloved ^d of the people.

Anot^er myth says that Ganesha was formed by Parvati from th^ dew of her body mingled with oils and unguents. Once wPen was having a bath she left Ganesha guarding the doof orders that he was not to allow anyone to enter. Just thet4 Shiva came along and found his way barred by his stubborrf son would not let him enter. His angry glance burnt offthe head of the child and then Shiva had to face a very and distressed wife. He rushed out to find a living creature and unfortunately all he could find was a sleeping elephant.

Even Ganesha's single tusk has generated some interesting myths. When the sage Veda Vyasa was composing the Mahabharata, he needed a scribe to take down his dictation and asked Ganesha. The god was willing but he had one condition. Vyasa was not allowed to stop even for a moment or Ganesha would leave. Then the little competition began, Vyasa dictating as fast as he could as Ganesha sat bent over the manuscript his pen flying over it. At times when Vyasa ran out of breath he would say a couple of lines of very difficult words and as Ganesha pondered over their meaning or spelling, he would take a quick rest. Then Ganesha's reed pen broke but Vyasa refused to stop. At which Ganesha broke off one of his tusks and used it as a pen.

Another myth about the missing tusk again has Ganesha guarding the door while his mother Parvati is bathing. Parashuram the seventh avatar of Vishnu, came to visit and was not pleased to discover Ganesha in his way and insisted on a duel. Ganesha immediately wrapped up Parashuram with his trunk and threw him to the ground. An incensed Parashuram then aimed his battleaxe, the Pashupata at Ganesha. Recognising the axe as one given to Parashuram by his father Shiva, Ganesha did not repel it but respectfully received the blow on one tusk that was broken. Ganesha is called Ekadanta, single tusked; Gajanana, elephant headed and Heramba, boastful. He is Lambakarna, long eared; Lambodara, with a big belly and Vigneshwara, remover of obstacles


Kartikeya, son of Shiva and Parvati is the commander of the army of the gods and after Indra their greatest warrior against the asuras. Unlike his brother Ganesha, Kartikeya is not a universally worshipped deity. He is unknown in the Vedas but as Skanda he is a full-fledged god in the epics. In the east there is a festival dedicated to him called Kartik Puja and in the South he is worshipped as Subramanya or Murugan and is a popular rural deity in Tamil Nadu. In great contrast to the calm and benign Ganesha, he is a forceful, martial god reminiscent of the deities of the Rigveda.

Kartikeya was born destined to defeat the demon Taraka (see: chapter on the Devi). Another version of this myth explains why he is sometimes shown as Skanda, with six heads and twelve arms. For Taraka to be defeated Shiva and Parvati had to produce a son but Shiva was meditating in a forest far away from his wife. So Agni went to him to receive his seed but it was too hot to carry and he dropped it in the Ganga. Six boys were delivered by Ganga and when she saw them Parvati was so pleased she embraced them. However, she held them so tightly that their bodies merged into one but the six heads remained.

Another myth says that the child of Ganga was fostered by the six wives of rishis called Krittikas and as each of them wanted to nurse him the child grew six heads. Brought up by the Krittikas he became known as Kartikeya and he defeated Taraka, the asura king of the three cities of Tripura. The Mahabharata admits the confusion in the parentage of Kartikeya and says, "Some say he is Maheshwar's son, some of Agni. Some say he was born of Uma, others of the Krittikas and still others of Ganga".

Kartikeya is depicted as a handsome god riding a peacock, carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows. In Bengal they say he is an eternal bachelor and his good looks are considered the ideal of male beauty. Other traditions give him a wife named Kaumari or Devasena. Subramanya's consort is called Valli. His figure as the generalissimo of the gods was used on coins by kings in ancient India. The Somaskanda carving in the South shows a boy Skanda sitting between Shiva and Parvati. The month of Kartik in autumn has the Pitripaksha, the fortnight when Hindus remember and worship their ancestors and also the period of the Navaratri with the celebration of the Durga Puja and Dussehra. Like Ganesha, who was probably a tribal elephant god, Kartikeya may have been a peacock deity later absorbed into the Shiva cult.

There is an amusing tale of a battle of wits between the brothers Ganesha and Kartikeya. The energetic Kartikeya challenged Ganesha to a race around the world and their parents were to be the judges. While Ganesha was still planning his trip, Kartikeya took off immediately on his peacock. Plump and sedentary Ganesha was not too interested in all this strenuous activity and to top it his rat could never keep up with the peacock. So he used his knowledge of books to discover all about the world and then spoke so knowledgeably about it that Shiva and Parvati were convinced that he had actually seen all these places. So when a travel weary Kartikeya returned, he discovered that his parents had already declared Ganesha to be the winner. Another version of the myth says that Ganesha walked his parents and then decIared that he had now seen 4e whole world.

Kartikeya is known an SShadanana, the six headed; ilahasenapati, the great commmander in chief and Kumara, lie divine boy. He is Shakiktidhara, the spear holder; Gmgaputra, the son of Ganga;a; Tarakajit, the vanquisher of iraka and Rijukaya, with a slstraight body.


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