Why is Ganesh's Tusk Broken?

With Ganesh Jayanti around the corner… It’s certainly time for stories on Ganesh our beloved elephant god... The Jai Jais Way. 

Oooopps he’s got a broken tusk…ouch we wonder how he did that? As he is super strong, how could anyone break his tusk? As always there is not only one story, here are two... The Jai Jais way.

Bhargava lived in a forest with his father Sage Jamadgni and his mother Princess Renuka from the Ksatriyas clan. There was a king who ruled a palace next to the forest. One day whilst hunting in the forest, the king lost his way. One of the soldiers found an Ashram, when they approached the Ashram, they were welcomed by the Sage and his wife. Sage Jamadgni offered them to stay at the Ashram and have a meal. The king accepted, and enjoyed a magnificent meal. He thought the food he had eaten was the best he has ever had. Even better than any feasts at his own palace. He asked how they cooked such a delicious meal? Sage Jamadgni told them they had a cow which was gifted by the gods. The cow gave them everything they had.  The king asked the Sage to give them the cow for his palace. The sage refused and told them this cow was like a mother to him.  The king commanded his soldiers to take the cow to his palace as a king’s order!! 

Bhargava returned from the forest and his father had told him what had happened. Bhargava told his father he would go to the palace and bring the cow home. He went to the palace to request to bring the cow home. The king refused, and told the guards to throw him out.  Bhargava killed the king and took the cow home. His father told him he had to seek penance to remove his sin.

Bhargava sought his penance and prayed to Lord Shiva. One day Lord Shiva appeared before him, and told him to open his eyes.  Bhargava pleaded to Lord Shiva to bless him with the secret of weapons. Lord Shiva agreed and spent time teaching Bhargava about various weapons and gave him an axe called ‘Parsu’, which had divine powers. Lord Shiva then renamed Bhargava, ‘Parasurama’. Lord Shiva then left Parasurama.

After a few days the king’s sons killed Parasurama’s parents in revenge for the death of their father. Bhargava took a vow to erase the whole race of Ksatriyas. Every time he killed a member of the Ksatriya clan he sought penance and prayed to Lord Shiva, to remove his sin. Parasurama took the axe and continued to fulfil his vow. He started to take revenge and kill all the Ksatriyas. To ask for forgiveness and apologise for his deeds he continued to do penance. Years passed, he wanted to thank Lord Shiva and pay his respects.  He began his long journey to Mount Kailash where Lord Shiva lived. 

After travelling for may days, through forests, mountains rivers and sea, he reached Mount Kailash. The door to Shiva’s abode was guarded by Ganesh. He tried to enter and was stopped by Ganesh. He told Parasurama he cannot enter as Lord Shiva was resting, and no one may enter without his permission. Parasurama had travelled many days to meet Lord Shiva and did not like being told he could not enter.  He told Ganesh he is a faithful devotee of Lord Shiva and he was his guru. He began to get angry and told Ganesh he did not need anyone’s permission to meet his own guru. Ganesh still refused to let him in. Parasurama pleaded that he would not disturb Lord Shiva. He just wanted to seek blessings and return home. They started to argue which then led to a fight. Ganesh threw Parasurama down with his mighty trunk, Parasurama became furious and immediately threw his axe towards Ganesh. Ganesh recognised the weapon as the gift his father had given Parasurama. Before Ganesh could think the axe hit Ganesh and broke his right tusk. He fell to the floor unconscious. In the commotion Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati came out and saw their son lying in the floor with a broken right tusk. Parasurama realised his mistake and felt so ashamed. Parvati was so upset and asked him what he had done. Ganesh was only following his father’s request. Parasurama begged Parvati for her forgiveness.  Lord Shiva revived Ganesh from his state unconsciousness. Parasurama pleaded to Ganesh to forgive him. Lord Shiva, Parvati and Ganesh forgive him due to his dedication to worshipping Lord Shiva and seeking his blessings. They knew he was sorry for what he had done.

Ganesh and the writing of the Mahabharata

When Sage Vyasa began composing the Mahabharata, he asked Ganesh to be his scribe. Ganesh agreed on one condition: that Vyasa would recite without stopping. Vyasa posed a counter: that Ganesh would not write down the meaning of a verse that he did not understand. Ganesh agreed and work on the epic began. As the sage recited, Ganesh wrote. Whenever he needed to rest, Vyasa would sneak in a complicated verse. Ganesh had to stop to figure it out and Vyasa would take a breather and compose more verses. And so it went on. One day, Ganesh’s pen broke while writing. Now, under the terms of their agreement, he couldn’t stop. So he just broke off his tusk and used it as a pen. Thus the epic was finished.

Ganpati Bappa Morya!

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