Ganesha and Ravana (the Asura king of Lanka):
|CHATURBHUJA - THE ONE
WITH FOUR HANDS
Ravana was the king of Lanka. He was very strong. Once there were indications
that the gods would suffer at the hands of Ravana. Ravana was a devotee of Shiva.
Once he performed strict tapas. Pleased with his tapas Shiva appeared before
him and said, "What boon do you desire?" Ravana begged for Shiva's
Atmalinga (Shiva's Atmalinga was the reflection of Shiva in the form of the Linga.
The presence of this Linga is as good as that of Shiva Himself). It was Ravana's
conviction that nobody could defeat him, once he acquired the very power of Shiva.
Shiva had said, "Ask for whatever boon you choose." Therefore he was
bound by his words and had to give away his Atmalinga. He, however, cautioned
Ravana: "Don't put this Atmalinga on the ground even for a moment; once
you put it on the ground you cannot get it back." He then disappeared.
The gods trembled seeing Shiva's Atmalinga in the hands of Ravana. Ravana was
their bitter enemy and a menace to the world; and with the Shivalinga itself
in his possession, they were in great danger. They were troubled not knowing
who could protect them. Then they remembered Ganesha. They went straight to him
and explained to him their troubles. The kind Ganesha consoled them. He put courage
into them saying, "I shall not allow Ravana to get Shiva's Atmalinga Have
no fears." The gods went away and Ganesha followed Ravana to carry out his
Ravana was on his way to Lanka carrying Shiva's Atmalinga in his palms. He came
to the west coast. By then it was evening. It was time for Ravana to perform
to sandhyavandana (the evening prayers). Ravana was in a fix. Shiva himself had
told him that the Linga should not touch the ground. How was he to perform sandhyavandana,
with the Atmalinga in his hands? There was no one in that deserted place that
could help him. He stood there, thinking, 'I must perform sandhyavandana. What
shall I do?'
Ganesha was following Ravana and was waiting for a chance. He understood Ravana's
He appeared before him in the guise of a small boy.
When Ravana saw
him he was as happy as if he had found water in a desert. Ravana called him and
said, "Little boy, will you hold this Linga till I perform sandhyavandana
and return?" Ganesha, in the guise of a boy, said, "It appears to be
very heavy. Please put it on the ground and go." Ravana said, "No,
I cannot do that. It should not be put on the ground. Please keep it in your
hands, till I return."
|VIGNA VINASAKA - THE REMOVER OF DIFFICULTIES
The boy said, "Suppose it becomes too heavy for me?" Ravana spoke softly, "I
will return quickly, my boy. You are a clever fellow, aren't you? Please hold
it in your hands, my good boy." The boy agreed.
Ravana gave him the Atmalinga and said; "Don't forget. This should never
be put on the ground." And then he went towards the sea to perform sandhyavandana.
Hardly had Ravana started when Ganesha cried out, "Alas, it's too heavy!
Too heavy!" Ravana was afraid. But, he could not return without completing
sandhyavandana. Therefore, he cried out, "Boy, I shall be back soon. Don't
put the Linga on the ground whatever may happen." By the time Ravana was
offering holy water to the gods Ganesha cried aloud, "Oh, Ravana, I can
no longer bear the weight of this Linga; I shall put it down here." So saying
Ganesha put the Linga on the ground and ran away. Ravana completed sandhyavandana
in haste and ran back in fear. But Shiva's Atmalinga was firm in the earth. No
matter how hard he tried, Ravana could not take it out.