Sri Vigna Raja Ganapathi is one of the several names ascribed to Lord Sri Ganesh. “Vigna” literally means “obstacles”. Sri Vigna Raja Ganapathi is the Lord who blesses us to overcome the obstacles.
There are a few legends as to why Sri Vinayak is hailed as the remover of obstacles. One of them is being narrated here. The legend also combines the story with respect to the mouse becoming the vahan (vehicle) of Sri Ganesh. The narration is referred from Sri Vinayak Puran.
Once upon a time, Sage Saubari and his wife Manorama were living at a hermitage at Himalayas. They were devoted to each other. They were contemplating penance there.
One day, the Sage went to the river for bathing. Manorama was cleaning the front of the hut and was drawing rangoli there.
At that time, a Gandhavra (celestial musician) was passing the sky. He saw Manorama and felt attracted to her.
He came down and started flirting with her. She was furious and scolded the Gandharva. At that time, the Sage returned from the bath.
He too was furious with the malafide intent of Krauncha. With his spiritual powers, he had instantly cursed the Gandharva to become a bandicoot.
Karucha (as bandicoot) had realized the enormity of his amorous activity. He fell at the Sage’s feet and asked for pardon.
The Sage said, “I cannot revoke my curse. Sri Ganesh shall soon be born. He will be at the Ashram of the Sage Parashva. You will ger salvation. Till then you have to wait.”
There was a place named Emavathi and it was ruled by the King Abhinandan. He was a good and pious King. He used to conduct various homams / yagnas for the welfare of his subjects.
He wished to conduct a super yagna so that he could attain the post of Indra. He started collecting materials for that. He had built a special mandap for the same.
He had invited vedic pandits from all-over. He had sent invitation to all except Indra himself. Sage Narada had rushed to Amaravathi and told Indra of the developments.
Indra was seriously worried that his post as the Lord of Devas was under peril. He had surmised that he had to stop the yagna of Abhinandan at any cost.
Indra had a servant named “Kalarupi”. He had summoned Kalarupi. He told the servant to go and destroy the preparations made for the homam by Abhinandan. He also asked him to destroy the King.
Kalarupi was capable of taking various forms. Heeding to his master Indra’s orders, he had destroyed Abhinandan and his yagna. He did not stop there.
Kalarupi took into his head that he would disrupt wherever and whenever yagnas were conducted. He created havoc. Due to the stoppage of homams, the Devas were bereft of all offerings.
The Sages the world-over got worried with the activities of Kalarupi. They named Kalarupi as Vigna as he was the disturbing and troubling force.
They all prayed to Sri Vinayak. Sri Ganesh had assured them that He would take appropriate action against Vigna.
There was another King named Varenya. His wife was Pushpaka. The King was a good ruler. The royal couple were pious. They had the single worry of not having a progeny.
Pushpaka was a devout devotee of Sri Ganesh. She had ardently prayed to Him for the blessing of a progeny. Pleased with her prayer, Sri Vinayak Himself was born to her in His own Gajamukh form.
The people thought it was an asura child. Some scholars had advised the King that the Child with the peculiar features might bring bad luck to the Kingdom.
Varenya had ordered that the Child be left in the forest. Though Pushkala was against the proposal, she could not do anything.
The King’s men had put the child in the forest. They made a bed of grass and kept the Child on it and went away without looking back.
Sage Parashva was taking bath at the river near the place where the King’s men had left the Child. The Sage saw a bright radiance in the forest.
He was intrigued. He went to the place from where the brightness emanated. He saw the Child with peculiar features.
He took the child to his ashram. He had handed over the child to his wife Veeryavarkala. She was very much pleased with the Child. She had vowed to bring up the Child.
The child was growing up. The bandicoot Krauncha had reached the ashram. It was destroying anything and everything. Even doing daily Pujas was getting difficult.
The Child was playing with a rope. Seeing the havoc caused by the bandicoot, the Child had cast the rope on it. The bandicoot had reached the paathal lok. There also the rope extended.
The rope had caught the bandicoot and it had dragged it to the presence of the divine Child. The Child then made the bandicoot into a small mouse and made it as His vahan.
Seeing all this, Sage Parashva had surmised that Lord Sri Ganesh himself had incarnated. He and the other Sages bowed before Him and requested His help in controlling Vigna.
Sri Vignesh had promised them that he would take action.
Meanwhile, Indra and other Devas went to Sathyalok and told Sri Brahma about the havoc caused by Vigna.
Sri Brahma then said, “Sri Ganesh is now in the ashram of Sage Parashva. Let us all go there and seek His help.”
They all went to the Ashram and prostrated before Sri Gajanan asking for His intervention in resolving the Vigna issue.
Sri Vinayak then had surmised that the time had come for direct action. He had again sent His rope and summoned Kalarupi who was the Vigna.
Vigna appeared before Sri Vinayak. He did not realize that he was in the divine presence. He thought that it was a mere Child in peculiar form. He thought that he had humored the Child by accepting the summoning through rope.
Vigna was unmoved. He thought that destroying the Child would be a child’s play.
So first he took the form of water and immersed the whole universe. Sri Ganesh had sucked up the entire water and drained it.
Vigna then took the form of a big crow. The crow was flopping its wings ferociously. The flopping caused havoc which uprooted and tilted everything. Sri Gajanan had stopped the flopping.
Then, Vigna took the form of a great fire. Sri Ganesh had doused the fire.
Lastly, Vigna took the form of a mighty wind. Sri Gajamukh took the form of a huge mountain and stopped the wind. Then Vigna started piercing the mountain.
Sri Vinayak had ended the game by using His spear.
Vigna then repented his mistakes and asked for pardon from Sri Ganesh. Sri Ganesh had told him, “You can disrupt only if my name is not invoked at the initiation of any work. If any work or homam is done with invocation to me, you should not disturb”. Vigna was pleased with this and consented. He had requested Sri Ganesh to add his name to His title.
As Sri Ganesh had victoriously overcome Vigna, He is being hailed as Sri Vigna Raja.