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Ganesha and His Broken Tusk!

Have you ever wondered why the Ganesha has one broken tusk?

Well, here is the thing, it’s confusing because there is more than one story! I honestly don't know why and I will tell you of all three of these at some point, but today I will tell you my favorite of the three stories!

It started like this…. As all stories tend to start….

Once upon a time in ancient Hastinapura, also known as the City of Elephants, lived a royal family with five brothers of divine origin on one side, and their one hundred cousins on the other. They were at war with each other. This tale has been told to us for thousands of years. It happens to be the beginning of one of the greatest poems ever written in Hindu Spiritual History, the great Mahabharata! This poem or epic story is known to be the most important of all Hindu writings and for generations it was known to be told only verbally, as it had been handed down for thousands of years, until …….

Brahma, the Creator, had decided that it was way to important to continue in this fashion. So, they called upon the Lord Vyasa to recite this epic story to someone that could not only write it down, but understand it in such a way that it would reveal the 7 layers of understanding it was meant to convey to humanity. Someone of noble birth was needed to write this most important story down.

The greatly glorious Vyasa, addressing Brahma Parameshthi, said, "O divine Brahma, by me a poem hath been composed which is greatly respected. The mystery of the Veda, and what other subjects have been explained by me; the various rituals of the Upanishads with the Angas; the compilation of the Puranas and history formed by me and named after the three divisions of time, past, present, and future; the determination of the nature of decay, fear, disease, existence, and non-existence, a description of creeds and of the various modes of life; rule for the four castes, and the import of all the Puranas; an account of asceticism and of the duties of a religious student; the dimensions of the sun and moon, the planets, constellations, and stars, together with the duration of the four ages; the Rik, Sama and Yajur Vedas; also the Adhyatma; the sciences called Nyaya, Orthœphy and Treatment of diseases; charity and Pasupatadharma; birth celestial and human, for particular purposes; also a description of places of pilgrimage and other holy places of rivers, mountains,, forests, the ocean, of heavenly cities and the kalpas; the art of war; the different kinds of nations and languages: the nature of the manners of the people; and the all-pervading spirit.”

At this stage Brahma said,”Call on Ganesha. He is the one fittest to take down your poem as you recite it’.

Ganesha, the god with an elephant head, accepted the assignment on one condition, that there should be no pause in the dictation. The author, Vyasa accepted this condition, provided that Ganesha realized and understood the meaning of every word before putting it down in writing.

So they began…

Vyasa kept up his dictation at a breathless speed, and Ganesha took it down with matching zest. When at one point, his stylus failed, he broke off one of his tusks and continued the writings!

For the Lord Ganesha, it was a gesture of honor and respect toward the writings of the most epic poem ever told to continue writing as it was recited without pause or contemplation, which might have changed the meaning of the words written .

We honor the Lord Ganesha for many reasons, but the symbolism of his tusk is that the wise person is beyond duality, the single tusk of Ganesha symbolizes this non-duality. Wisdom allows us to see all as one and ourselves an integral part of the whole.

Ganesha is often shown sitting with one foot on the ground and the other resting on his knee, above the ground, riding atop of a mouse!!!

Check back next week as to why The Lord Ganesha rides around on a small Mouse!


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Love these stories - you cover so much in our times together, but I found both of these to be fascinating - thank you!

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