“ एकदंताय वक्रतुण्डाय गौरीतनयाय धीमहि । गजेशानाय भालचन्द्राय श्रीगणेशाय धीमहि ॥ ”
The divine power that is evoked before every beginning is the elephant headed God, Ganesha, the son of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. He is the symbol of knowledge, wisdom, new beginnings, success and remover of obstacles. Lord Ganesha took different forms to warn humankind of destructive emotions that can cause harm to the self and the surrounding. On the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, here are the eight avatars of the Lord and the story that follows.
Vakratunda is the incarnation of Lord Ganesha to free humans from the evil spirit of Matsara, meaning jealousy and selfishness. Matsarasura was a demon who came into existence due to the carelessness of Lord Indra. When Lord Indra rejected him, he was filled with jealousy and vowed to conquer the three worlds. He performed severe penance and achieved the boon of fearlessness by impressing Lord Shiva. Along with his sons Vishaypriya and Sundarpriya, he caused devastation everywhere. Thus, all the Gods prayed to the Lord with a curved trunk, Vakratunda, who killed the sons of Matsarasura. The aftermath doomed the demon and he realised his mistake. Later he turned to a devotee of Vakratunda.
Jealousy overwhelms our minds the moment we sense a loss. Thus emerges the want to compensate for that loss, giving birth to selfish motives, and the path of desolation is paved. Lord Ganesha in his Vakratunda avatar spreads the message of being down to earth despite acquiring all the powers, and to develop understanding power instead of comparison between oneself and others.
The guru of Asuras, Shukracharya had a brother known as Chyavana. His son Madasura was fond of alcohol. One day he told his uncle, as well as his teacher, about his ambition to rule the three realms of the universe. Shukracharya gave him a special mantra, “Hrim”, to please the goddess. After getting blessed by the superpowers, high on alcohol, he set to rule the three worlds. Invoked by the gods, Ekadanta emerged as a saviour. In front of the valourant form of Lord Ganesha, he lost his courage and surrendered.
The engagement with intoxication can fill one with irresistible pride. Pride makes one feel that he is the best and no one is above him. This arrogance blinds the person and leads him to his own destruction. Lord Ganesha in his Ekadanta avatar preaches to give up pride.
Some believe Mohasura was Daitya Raj, the king of Asuras because of his devotion to the Sun God. Others believe in the legend that Shiva was in deep meditation and the gods needed him. The gods asked Parvati to break his meditation. So, Parvati took an appealing configuration to distract Shiva. When Shiva came out of trance, Parvati removed her charming mould. This form went on to become Mohasura, the embodiment of delusion and confusion. Devastated by his activities, the gods resorted to God Surya. He advised them to please Mahodara for rescuing them. Later Mahodara descended and fought with Mohasura. Lord Vishnu suggested Mohasura to stop the war and Mahodara would forgive him. Understanding the words of Lord Vishnu, and realising the powers of Lord Mahodara, Mohasura gave up war. Later he became an ardent devotee of Mahodara.
Confusion and delusion can lead to unwanted repercussions. Mahodara is the formation of Ganesha which makes us aware to come out of delusion and accept reality, the only truth.
The treasurer of heaven, Kubera, once visited Kailash, and there he saw Goddess Parvati. Her charismatic appearance filled Kubera with lust. His lustful look enraged Goddess Parvati, afraid of her anger Kubera started trembling with fear. The energy of fear and lust transformed into Lobhasura. This asura took classes from Shukracharya, and gained invincible powers by performing penance. This was the time when Rishi Raibhya suggested the gods pray for Gajanana. The moment this avatar of Lord Ganesha appeared, Lobhasura lost all his courage to continue the conquest of the three realms and asked for forgiveness.
Lust is a poison for our souls. It is another self-destructive force which makes us greedy. Wanting to get more, harms not only the surrounding but also the inside. Lord Gajanana teaches us to be satisfied with what we have as satisfaction is the only key to happiness.
It was the time for churning of the ocean to get divine ambrosia. On one side there were demons and on the other the gods. The divine drink if acquired by the asuras would be misused. So, Lord Vishnu took an alluring embodiment of Mohini to distract the asuras. Unfortunately, Lord Shiva was deeply enchanted by Mohini’s looks. When Vishnu returned back to his normal appearance, Shiva became sad and angry. This energy took the form of Krodhasura, who followed the same routine as other asuras. He took classes from Shukracharya, pleased God, gained enough powers, and started misusing it. Hence Ganesha took the build of Lambodara. He had a potbelly large enough to contain all the anger of Krodhasura. Later this demon of anger became the follower of Lambodara.
Anger is the opposite of calmness. A mind that is encompassed with anger is not effective in action. Things done with annoyance only make it worse. Hence, the framework Lambodara of Lord Ganesha tells us to keep our mind in control and stay free of anger.
Kamasura, the demon of desire and trickery was the reason for havoc in all the three worlds. His desire to rule everyone was at the top. While everyone was suffering from his wrath, sage Mugdala advised the gods to chant “OM” in Mayuresa Kshetra. So, Vikata, another guise of Lord Ganesha, seated on a peacock, came to their rescue. He defeated Kamasura and saved everyone from suffering.
Lord Ganesha, in his Vikata avatar creates the image of desire blurring our vision to the extent of burning our own conscience.
A handsome boy, born from the energy of Goddess Parvati’s laughter was named “mama” meaning “mine”. Taught by Parvati to follow the path of righteousness, he was an ardent supporter of goodwill and was deeply devoted to Ganesha. Sambara, a demon, lures him to enter the monstrous world, thus converting Mama to Mamasura. He overthrows the gods and starts his reign in Swargaloka. The gods summon Vighnaraja, the remover of all obstacles to save them from the demon. The Lord arrives on Sheshnaag, and frees Mamasura from the obsession with ruling.
The Vighnaraja form of Ganesha awakens humankind to stay away from obsession, as it is harmful for people around and also destroys the within.
Lord Brahma, gave Lord Surya the authority over the world of actions. Since, the world revolved under the cycle of Karma, this arose the pride in Surya. Ahamkarasura was born from the ego of the Sun God. He started causing havoc, and to save the world from chaos, Lord Ganesha arrived on Mooshika in his last disposition of Dhumravarna. He defeated the demon of ego and restored the tranquillity in the universe.
Ego is yet another weapon of self-destruction. It has the power to break the strongest of bonds and weaken the most powerful mind. When hovering over someone, it has the strength to show the most wrong direction to achieve success. Thus, the Dhumravarna avatar of Lord Ganesha enlightens us to give up ego and spread love. http://www.rtdjournal.com https://rtdjournal.com/lesser-known-10-interesting-facts-about-puri-rath-yatra-festival/