There are many stories of Lord Ganesha, but one particularly stands out for me. The story goes that the Devas (Gods) talked about the qualities of the brothers, Ganesha and Karthik and a doubt arose in the mind of one of them, “Who is the wiser of the two brothers, Ganesh or Karthik?”. One of the other Devas suggested asking Lord Brahma as he is the creator of the world.
Brahma said he didn’t know who was wiser because he was the creator of mankind and not divine beings 🙂 but offered his son Narada’s help. Narada, the son of Lord Brahma, is a mischievous sage who is famous for creating trouble, but the great thing about his pranks and mischief was they usually ended on a happy note. Sage Narada agreed to help and flew to Mount Kailash to meet with Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, Ganesha and Karthik’s parents. He takes a magical Mango with him and offers it to Lord Shiva saying, it was the sweetest Mango in the world and whoever ate it will also get eternal wisdom. The only condition was the person cannot cut and share it. He had to savor it alone. Just when this is happening, both Ganesha and Karthik come there. Seeing the Mango, Karthik jumps up and says he wants it as he loves Mangoes. Ganesha says he is the elder brother and he too loves Mangoes so he should get it.
Sage Narada suggests that they hold a competition between the brothers and whoever is the winner gets to eat the Mango. The brothers agree and the competition is set as “the one who circles the Universe thrice, fastest, gets the fruit”. Karthik is happy as his vehicle the Peacock was much faster than Ganesha’s mouse. Karthik immediately sets off and starts circling the Universe. Ganesha in the mean time requests his parents, Lord Shiva and Parvati, to stand and starts going around them thrice !! When Lord Shiva asks him why he is going around them, Ganesha says, they represent the Universe so going around them was going around the Universe. Obviously he wins the magical Mango and the Devas get their answer, thanks to Sage Narada’s smart game.
It’s a simple story, but it brings out the important aspect of “thinking on your feet” or basic common sense helping you to win even if the circumstances are stacked against you. In this story, Lord Ganesha is huge and the little mouse cannot obviously beat a lithe peacock carrying the even more lither Lord Karthik. Lord Ganesha could have accepted defeat and just sulked, but no, he thought on his feet, was quick to realise that his parents were actually the Universe and used the spirit of the competition rather than the letter, and won … How many times in life, at work, in relationships, we just give up the minute the chips are down or we feel an adversary is stronger than us ? Everytime you feel like the odds are against you remember the friendly Lord Ganesha and use your common sense. The magical Mango can be yours.
Ganpati Bappa Morya !! Happy Ganesh Chaturthi.