Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ganesha's broken tusk

We have read many posts about Ganesha. In the post Ganesha the God of Wisdom you can read about Ganesha’s broken tusk in briefly. There is several myth about his broken tusk, so in this post I will share some Stories behind how Ganesha lost his one tusk.

Ekadanta GaneshaThere is a Sanskrit name for Ganesha is Ekadanta (right picture) or one tusk Ganapati, read 32 forms of Ganesha. Some of the earliest icons show him handling his broken tusk. We can find many stories about how Ganesha lost his one tusk. In this post you will read three story behind it.
GANESHA battle with Parashuram
GANESHA Battle With ParshuRam
Ganesha said to have lost his one tusk in a fight with Parashuram

He said to have lost his tusk in a fight with Parashuram. "When Parashuram one of Shiva's favorite disciples, came to visit him, he found Ganesha guarding Shiva's inner apartments. His father being asleep, Ganesha opposed Parshuram's entry. Parashuram nevertheless tried to urge his way, and the parties came to blows. Ganesha had at first the advantage, seizing Parashuram in his trunk, and giving him a twirl that left him sick and senseless. When Parashuram recovering, he threw his axe at Ganesha, who recognizing it as his father's weapon (Shiva having given it to Parashuram) received it with all humility upon one of his tusks, which it immediately severed, and hence Ganesha has but one tusk.

A different legend narrates that Ganesha was asked to scribe down the epic of Mahabharata, dictated to him by its author, sage Vyasa. Taking into note the enormity and significance of the task, Ganesha realized the inadequacy of any ordinary 'pen' to undertake the task. He thus broke one of his own tusk and made a pen out of it. The lesson offered here is that no sacrifice is big enough in the pursuit of knowledge." In Some Ganesha Image, the broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata.

Another Story I found in the web is from Ganesha Chaturthi (the birth day of Lord Ganesha), which tells a third story:
"Indra, the god of the rain and skies, invited Ganesha to a feast. Taking his vehicle (his mouse), Ganesha began his journey to Indra’s palace. Because the mouse could not carry all his weight, he lost his balance and fell. The moon, shining in the night sky, laughed at him. Angered by this insult,Ganesha broke off his left tusk and threw it to the moon. And that’s why he may be called Ekadanta (means “with one tooth”). Ganesha also cursed the moon “that whoever looked at the moon on the Ganesha chaturthi night, they would undergo privations.” Even today, devotees avoidlooking at the moon on Ganesha days."
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Hope you have enjoyed reading these stories. If you have some different stories about Ganesha, you can share your stories in this blog.
Recommend Books On Ganesha

Also read WHY GANESHA HAS ELEPHANT HEAD and Ganesha Symbolism

Friday, July 3, 2009

Dharmapala Mahakala

Mahakala Thanka by Mukti If you visit this blog regularly you may have notice with some deities’s statues or thanka paintings, which is in terrifying or wrathful forms. Wrathful deities looks terrified, hideous and hair raising and different then other Buddhist ideals. But They are not personifications of evil or demonic forces. Wrathful deities are kindly gods who symbolize the tremendous effort it takes to vanquish evil, the violence that is a fundamental reality of the cosmos and the human mind and protect the faithful by instilling terror in evil spirits. In Sanskrit, the wrathful deities are known as Dharmapalas, which means "Dharma Protector".

Mahakala Panjaranatha face
There is a group of eight Dharmapalas. Dharmapalas are divinities with the rank of Bodhisattva who wage war without any mercy against the demons and enemies of Buddhism.

Mahakala Mahakala is one of the eight dharmapala of the Buddhist pantheon. Mahakala's name translates as the "Great Black," one, or "Great time." The latter is a reference to the deity's ability to transcend all time. In Tibet we can found more then seventy five manifestations of Mahakala. As dharma protector, images of the wrathful deities are given a good position at the entrance doors of home and Buddhist Shrines.
Mahakala is one of the most popular terrific protectors in Tibetan Buddhism. Mahakala is worship in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He frequently appears at the inner entrance of a temple or is afforded a special shrine. His myth speaks of his having been tamed by Avalokiteshvara. He is sometimes even considered to be a fierce form of that Bodhisattva of Compassion.

Origin of Mahakala