Also, what is the logic of using an elephant’s head and not the real head ?

The question is apt. Why is the head chopped off? Why is Brahma’s head chopped off? Why is Daksha’s head chopped off? Why is Mahishasur’s head chopped off? Why does Chamunda chops off heads of Asuras and wear them as garland? What is the fascination with chopping off the head in Hindu lores?

The head is where the mind resides, upon which the aham (ego) feeds. In Shiva Purana, while following order of his mother, Ganesha becomes extremely violent. Even Shiva and Vishnu are unable to defeat him in a fair duel. Finally Vishnu distracts Ganesha while Shiva chops off his head. They have to submit to trickery to defeat the son of Parvati.

But why does it happen?

Everytime, it has to do with Prakriti, the Nature, represented as the Goddess. The Purusha (mind/consciousness) is represented as the God, Shiva.

Brahma wants to make Prakriti dance to his whims and wants to gain control over her. Daksha wants to manipulate on Prakriti. Ganesha blocks the access of Purusha to Prakriti. Chand and Mund want to curb Prakriti. Mahishasur underestimates Prakriti.

And whenever Prakriti is ill-treated in any way, the beheading happens! Nature can never be controlled or manipulated. It has no favourites and is forever sovereign.

But this time, the twist is that Parvati herself appoints Ganapati as her guardian. He’s not any Asura who obstructs access to her!

Earlier, when Nandi was guarding door of Parvati, Shiva just walked inside without obeying her wife’s wish. Parvati feels upset at this nature of Shiva. He simply cannot force his way to her every-time. Not all secrets of Nature can be made accessible to human mind. Prakriti does not want itself to be taken for granted. She needs some space, for not all space can be invaded by consciousness.

When the war happens between Ganesha and ganas of Shiva, Devi wonders why is Shiva showing such impatience to meet her? Earlier, when she needed him for producing a child or making a home, he ignored her. But now when she’s demanding some space and privacy, why is Shiva not respecting her wish? Why this impatience? Why does Shiva gets angry when his son refuses to acknowledge him, the very same thing he had been doing all this while to his wife?

And when she sees her son beheaded, the anger materialises out of her. She takes her Prachchand Ugra roop by summoning all her Shaktis. These Shaktis, on the order of Parvati, kick off the gods and cause great terror to them by breaking their hips. It is then Shiva realizes why she’s angry. She’s tired to be taken for granted. And in her fury, not a single God can stand before her!

But another thing to notice is that Ganesha is made up of dirt and grime that had disposed off from Devi’s body. This is significant.

Dirt and grime are what we ignore and cast away. They’re by product of our body, hence ignored. Thus, Ganesh has this idea of ignorance inside him, that climbs up to his head and makes him ignore Shiva. He refuses to recognise his father’s divinity. Ganesha ignores all the requests made by Brahma, Vishnu and other ganas to unblock the entrance. This ignorance is removed by Shiva when he chops off the head. Ganesha clearly cannot just be a guardian of Prakriti, he has to do darshan of Purusha as well. Thus, whereas Parvati creates Ganesha, Shiva completes him. This is a contast to Murugan, where Shiva solely creates him but Parvati completes him.

Why the elephant head?

Elephant has always been a symbol of material affluence. They live in a place that is abundant with greenery, water or in other words, abundance. Hence, they can be seen flanking Lakshmi, the Goddess of fortune. Even Vishnu, who is her husband, is shown to be rescuing and saving the elephant from the episode of Gajendra Moksha.

But Shiva is Gajantaka and he wears elephant’s hide around his waist. He refuses such material aspects of Nature. But now the same Gajantaka becomes the father of Gajanana?

Elephants are a symbol of material prosperity. They flank Lakshmi. They were used by Royal kings in ancient India to show off their wealth and prosperity. Elephants live at place which has abundance of food and water. As Gajantaka, Shiva rejects the material benefits. He shuns the darshan of Prakriti. He remains in his spiritual state of Sat-chit-ananda. He seeks contentment in spirituality.

But when he puts elephant’s head on the lifeless body of his son, this depicts that Devi have become successful. The hermit has transformed into householder. He has learned to be patient with shortcomings of others and has recognised the value of Nature. He follows her request to revive her son. Clearly, he responds to her needs. Devi becomes happy on seeing this. This son now becomes a symbol of material affluence, auspiciousness and contentment, embodying the idea of both of his parents. When this happens, Parvati calms down and smiles. Through Ganesha, her intentions have succeeded. Shiva now does her darshan. This makes Ganesha Mangal murti, the auspicious one.

Author : Unknown (From a Social Media Fwd)

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