Sri Vikata Ganapathi is the primary manifestation of Sri Ganesh. ‘’Vikata’’ means “large toothed” or “unusual” or “huge”. Sri Ganesh is called as Vikata Vinayak for His unusual appearance.
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Sri Vikata Ganapathi
There are several legends pertaining to the birth of Sri Vinayak. As per Sri Vinayak Puran, Sri Vinayak is considered as the origin from which the three Murthies viz., Sri Brahma, Sri Vishnu and Sri Shiv had emerged. However, in some Kalpas, Sri Vinayak had incarnated Himself as the Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi on some occasions. One of the occasions is narrated here.
Sri Brahma’s yawn
Long Kalpas ago, in one of the Kalpas, Sri Brahma got tired one day. So, He let out a yawn. From the yawn came an asura with red body, ten heads and a great fragrance.
Sri Brahma was surprised. Anyway, he named the offspring as “Sindhura”. He said ‘’may you not be defeated by Yaksha, Kinnara, Naga and Deva. Whoever you hug with anger will go to ashes. Go and live wherever you want.”
Sindhura started looking for a place for himself. He had doubts. He was no sage. No pious person. He did nothing good. Yet he was given enormous boons. He was doubtful as to their veracity.
He thought that the best option would be to test the boons. He went back to Brahma. Brahma asked “do you want more boons?”
Sri Brahma’s shock
Sindhura said “I don’t want any more boons. I just want to test their veracity”. Saying so, he got angry and came near Brahma to hug him. Brahma was shocked and dismayed at his treachery. He said, “may you be destroyed by Vinayaka”. Then Brahma disappeared.
Sindhura searched for Sri Brahma everywhere. Sri Brahma was with Sri Vishnu discussing the course of action. When they were discussing, Sindhura came there. He got angry. He wanted to hug both of them.
Sri Vishnu said, “The duel should be among equals. Look at you. You are huge. Brahma is thin. I’m simply floating in the water. What use it will be to you by destroying small fries like us. Go to Kailash. Sri Shiv had done lots of valor acts. If you fight with him, it will be a good credit to you.”
Sindhura proceeded to Kailash. Vishnu and Brahma heaved a sigh of relief. But they did have apprehensions on after effects.
Sindhura directly went to Kailash. Seeing Sindhura, Shiv Ganas withered away. Sri Shiv was in meditation. Sri Parvathi Devi was standing outside. Sindhura saw Her and tried to abduct Her. She surrendered to Sri Shiv.
Sri Shiv got fierce. He got up to fight the menace. Sindhura tried to hug Sri Shiv. Then a Brahmin appeared there. He put a barrier between Sri Shiv and Sindhura.
He said “when there are other methods of fighting, it is not right to get into wrestling. So, use only weapons”. The fight with weapons was fierce.
Sindhura tried to overcome the barrier. He could not succeed. He hugged the barrier. It burnt down and fell on Sindhura. He got scared. Then the brahmin said “Sri Shiv can cut off your heads in no time. You are just a nobody. Get out”.
Sri Uma Devi was aghast at all the fierce fight. She enquired who the brahmin was. The Brahmin appeared as Sri Vinayak. He said, “To destroy Sindhura, I will be born as your Son”. Both Sri Parvathi and Sri Shiv were happy.
Parvathi became pregnant. She and Sri Shiv went to a place named Piriyali for rest. Sri Shiv was in meditation. She was playing with her friends.
The elephant demon named Gajamukhasur had visited Piriyali. He was a good Shiv-Bhakth. However, being born as asura, he was restless.
He saw the building which was made for the dwelling of Sri Shiv and Parvathi Devi. Both of them were out at that time. The demon had pushed and demolished the building.
Sri Parvathi Devi saw the elephant, got terrified and instantly reported to Sri Shiv. Lord Shiva was annoyed at the interruption as well as destruction. He took His trident and beheaded the elephant demon.
While exhaling his last birth, Gajamukhasur said, “Om Nama Shivaaya”. Lord Shiv realized that He had killed a good Shiv-Bhakth.
He asked Gajamukhasur, “I know that you are my Bhakth. I will grant you moksha. Tell me your last wish”.
Gajamukhasur said, “I always want to see you and always be with you.”. Lord Shiva granted his wishes.
He had taken the head of Gajamukhasur and preserved it. He took the hide from the body of Gajamukhasur and worn it. As He has worn the animal skin, He is called as ‘Kiruthi Vaasa’.
In his previous birth, Gajamukhasur was known as the King Mayeswara. He was a good King and a Shiv-Bhakth. One day, Bruhspathi, the Guru of Devas had visited Mayeswara.
Mayeswara welcomed him with all respect and bowed before him. He kept his head on the feet of Bruhaspathi. Bruhaspathi was much pleased with the humility of the King.
He told him, “may your head be worshipped by all. This will happen when you are born as an elephant. You will also attain mukthi in that birth.” Mayeswara was overwhelmed with the blessing.
After the incident, Mayeswara was one day on the Country tour on governance. At some place, he was standing on the path discussing issues with his staff. At that time, Sage Narada went that way. The King did not notice Narada.
Narada was peeved at this non welcome gesture. He told the King, “you were just standing in the path and did not even notice the people who are passing by. Your position as King has gone to your head. May you be born as a mad elephant in your next birth.”
Mayeswara felt very sad and apologized to the Sage. The Sage then relented and said, “even if you are born as an elephant, you shall always remain as Shiv-Bhakth.”
Sri Parvathi’s rest
After the episode of Gajamukhasur, Sri Parvathi Devi arranged for the reconstruction of the structure. She and Lord Shiva were resting there again.
After being booted out of Kailsash, Sindhura destroyed everyone and everything on earth just for the sake of destroying. He was too greedy.
After earth, he targeted Devlok. Indra and other Devas were devastated. All went to Sri Brahma. Even he was scared.
They all prayed to Sri Vinayak. Sri Vinayak blessed and assured them. All the Devas went into hiding.
Sindhura was in his kingdom. One day, he heard a celestial voice which said, “you will be destroyed by Vinayak. Your enemy is growing in the womb of Parvathi Devi”. On hearing this, he became restless. He had decided to do away with the offspring as early as possible.
Sindhura searched for Shiv and Parvathi at Kailash. He could not find them there. He tried even Vaikunt and Sathya lok. He could not find them there.
Then he came to know about their location at Piriyali.
Sindhura took the form of vaayu (wind) and went to Piriyali. He saw Lord Shiva doing meditation. Parvathi Devi was sleeping.
As Vaayu, he reached into Parvathi Devi’s stomach, took the unborn child’s head and came away. He then threw the head at Narmada river. [The place is still called as Ganesh Kund.] The baby was growing without head.
Sri Ganesh’s birth
On the Shukla Paksha Chathurthi of Sravana month, Sri Parvathi Devi had delivered the baby. There was no head. All were devastated.
Then a voice came from the baby. It said, “Lord Shiv had preserved the elephant head. Do bring it and fix it as my head”.
Immediately, people tried to bring the elephant head. None of them could even move it. Then, as ordained, the head had, on its own volition, came and fixed itself to the baby.
The baby with the elephant head came into being. Everyone was pleased to see the baby. As the baby was of unusual beauty and huge, He was hailed as Sri Vikata Ganapathi. As He had the elephant head, He was hailed as Sri Gaja mukha and Sri Gajanan. The baby was also praised as Sri Prasanna Vadhana as He was quite pleasing to look at.
Lord Shiva, Sri Parvathi Devi and Sri Ganesh returned to Kailash. Baby Ganesh was growing up at Kailash.
Sindhura’s end days
Sindhura was not aware of Sri Ganesh’s birth. He thought that he had done with his enemy.
One day, Sage Narada visited Sindhura. Sindhura accorded him a befitting welcome. Sindhura asked him the latest news from his wanderings.
The Sage Narada said, “I had been to many places in my tour. Recently, I went to Kailash. There, I saw a baby boy with elephant head. He is cute and lovable. He is the son of Lord Shiv and Parvathi Devi.”
Sindhura said, “I can’t believe this. Shiv and Parvathi are in Piriyali. Parvathi did not give birth to any son. You must have had an illusion. There is no one in Kailash now.”
The Sage then put Sindhura abreast of the latest happenings. Sindhura understood that the very purpose of his efforts was defeated. He understood that only the elephant headed baby was his enemy.
He told Narada, “I will take care of the Kid”. The Sage said, “He is only a child. What you are thinking is not right.”
But Sindhura did not pay heed to the Sage’s advice. He had decided to directly get into action to eliminate the trouble.
Attack on Kailash
Sindhura directly went to Kailash with a huge army. Seeing his army, the Shiv Gana army fled in all directions.
Sindhura roared, “Where is the kid which is claiming to eliminate me?”.
Sri Ganesh came before him and said, “Hey, it’s me.”
Seeing the Kid, Sindhura guffawed. He said, ‘’ Even Brahma and Vishnu tremble at my sight. You are just a kid. Just go and hide behind your mom.”
Then Sri Vinayak took Vishva roop. In that appearance, Sindhura saw the other worlds of which he was not even aware of.
Sri Vinayak dragged Sindhura by His tusk, smashed him into a paste and smeared the paste allover His body. As Sindhura was very fragrant since he was born, due to smearing on the person of Sri Ganesh, he had permanently remained as the fragrance of Sri Ganapathi.
From then onwards, Sri Vinayak was also hailed as Sri Sindhura Ganapathi.
The events in the article were referred from the book titled Sri Vinayaka Vijayam written by Sri. Vidwan N. Subramanian in Tamil.