Author: K Prakash
Publisher: English Edition Publishers
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8187853972
Who is the boy who got an elephant's Head? His name is Ganesha and he lived in India long, long ago. He is also called Ganpati. Actually, he still lives, because he is considered by the Hindus as one of the Immortals. His is a fanciful story, full of twists and turns and maybe twas and maybe twasn't, but let us follow the tale as best we can, and enjoy!
The boy was born to Parvati, also known as the Divine Mother, the wife of Shiva. She thought him a most beautiful baby (for at time he had a normal head) and he grew to be the darling of her heart in any case, and a very wise boy. In fact, even today he is looked upon as Wisdom itself, among other things. (And you know how smart elephants are!)
Parvati was insisting that Saturn give the baby his admiring glace. At last, yielding to what we today might call peer pressure, Saturn cast his eyes on the boy and sure enough, his head was immediately burnt to ashes. Of course his mother began to weep and wail (although it was mostly her fault) but the god Vishnu, who always want to preserve things, ran quickly and found a freshly-killed baby elephant brought its head and put it on Ganesha's neck.
Growing up like his, he become the one who removes obstacles, watches over the beginnings of things such as books, performances, building of a house, weddings etc. So in India when people begin those things, they appeal to the immortal Ganesha to give them a good start.
Big as he is, he weighs very little, and this makes it possible for him to ride on a Rat. If you want to know why he rides on a rat, you must understand that his rat can get into all the small places where Ganesha cannot go; this helps him in his work of solving and removing difficulties. Ganesha is worshiped all over Southern India. Statues and paintings show him as short, pot-bellied, with four arms and of course two tusks; but one of the tusks is always shown broken off. The Reason for this is that he was protecting the home when his father Shiva was inside.