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Ganesha Home -› Hindu Trinity -› The Destroyer -› Ganesha
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Ganesha - the god of learning
Ganesha and Mahabharata:
Ganesha, the embodiment of wisdom, is also depicted as a scribe to whom sage Vyasa dictated the Mahabharata. He is accepted as the god of learning and the patron of letters.

The Mahabharata is a great epic. It is one of the greatest epics in the world. Vyasa is the author. He was a great jnani (one who has realized God) and a Maharshi. The Mahabharata War was fought between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Vyasa had seen the Pandavas and the Kauravas from the time of their grandfather and he had helped that clan very often. He knew all about the Mahabharata War.

Vyasa was thinking of dictating the Mahabharata to some one. But he wanted some one capable of writing fast and without mistakes. Brahma decided that Ganapati was the only person equal to this great task. He sent Ganapati. He came to Vyasa and said, "Bhagavan, I will take down the story of the Mahabharata." Vyasa said, "My dear Ganesha, I shall dictate the poem quite fast. Can you take down without any mistakes? Ganesha threw a challenge in return, "Bhagavan, I shall write as fast as you dictate and that, correctly. But once you start dictating you should not stop till you complete it. Do you agree?" Vyasa Maharshi accepted the challenge. After they had come to this agreement, Vyasa went on dictating the story and Ganapati wrote down what he said. So the world got the great epic.

Many more interesting legends depict the importance of this god in the Hindu pantheon. His importance and his significance are personified by his stature and in the way he is symbolized.

Ganesha is depicted with having four arms. These symbolize him as the universal ruler establishing four categories of beings, viz., firstly those who can live only in water,
[ganesha with lakshmi]
secondly those who can live in water and earth, thirdly those who can live only on earth and lastly those who can fly in the air. Moreover it is also Ganesha, who instituted the four castes and four Vedas. One hymn in Sri Bhagavat Tathva, an ancient scripture, says: "In heaven this child will establish the predominance of gods, on earth that of men, in the nether world that of the anti-gods and serpents. He causes the four principles of the elements to move and is therefore four-armed; in one hand he is shown to have a shell, in another a discus, in the third a club or a sweet cake and in the fourth a water lily.'

The vehicle of Ganesha is a mouse. As rats generally succeed in gnawing their way through every obstruction, the rat symbolizes this god's ability to destroy every obstacle. Being an elephant he passes through the thickest of wild growth in a forest, uproots and tears to smithereens the thickest trees hindering his path and fells out whatever comes in his way while drilling holes like a mouse he can also slip through the narrowest of spaces and thickest of the walls. Moreover mouse is deemed to be the master of inside everything. The all-pervading Atman (soul) is the mouse that lives in the hole called intellect, within the heart of every being. It hides itself behind the inscrutable shape of illusion.

Ganesha is often portrayed along with Goddess Lakshmi symbolizing that along with intellect and removing of obstacles and difficulties he also bestows good fortune and luck to the people who worship him.

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