Ganesha Mudra and Ganesha and Skanda

In our Yoga Classes this week we have been using Ganesha Mudra. It is said that Ganesha is the remover of obstacles. He helps us to think more clearly and this mudra is said to lift the spirits.

Ganesha Mudra

Turn your left hand clockwise, with thumb down and palm away from you. Take your right hand and place the right palm on the left palm, with right thumb up. Slide the hands gently apart, bend the fingers and grasp/catch the fingers gently together. Then the thumbs can gently rest where they are. The Mudra can then be placed into the heart space.

The Story of Ganesha, Skanda and the Mango

“Take time to listen to your inner guru, to find solutions to the obstacles that are thrown your way.”

I recently heard this story (from Jill Amison) and found it very thought provoking:

Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati lived in Kailash with their two children – Ganesha and Skanda. Skanda was a beautiful boy with strong limbs, whereas Ganesha had the head of an elephant and a boy’s rotund body. Skanda’s vehicle was a peacock and Ganesha’s vehicle was a mouse. But both of them were brave, caring, intelligent and were loved by all.

Sage Narada visited the family. Neither Shiva nor Parvati were fooled. They both knew that Narada was up to some mischief. Sage Narada with a mischievous twinkle in his eye brought out a mango. He presented the mango to Shiva, ‘Lord, this mango is a very special mango. It is sweeter than the nectar of the Gods and whoever eats this mango will become wise and learned.’ Thanking Narada, Shiva was about to cut the mango and give half of it to Parvati, when Narada stopped him. ‘My Lord! Please do not cut the mango! The mango has to be eaten by one person only. If it is cut or shared, it will lose its value.’ Shiva frowned and immediately handed over the mango for Parvati to eat. He smiled, ‘Enjoy the fruit, my dear!’

Parvati hesitated as she too was unwilling to eat something which her husband would not eat. ‘I do not want to eat anything which I cannot share with my husband.’ She said returning the mango to Sage Narada. Narada pretended to be crestfallen that his offering was rejected by the Lord and the Goddess.

The mango looked deliciously ripe and its aroma wafted through the entire home. The boys, Ganesha and Skanda arrived. Ganesha looked at the mango, licked his lips and patted his stomach. Wondering why his parents had rejected such a delicious gift, Ganesha asked his mother, ‘Why did you refuse the mango, mother?’

Parvati explained how the mango could not be shared. She finished saying that neither of them wanted to eat the mango without offering it to the other and so they were returning the gift. The aroma wafted even more strongly as Skanda said, ‘Mother I will take it, it smells so delicious… and I like mangoes too…’

Ganesha interrupted, ‘I saw it first, I want it… I like eating… it is mine….’ Ganesha yelled as he tried snatching the mango from Narada’s hand, only to be stopped by his brother Skanda.

Both Shiva and Parvati realized that Narada had created a rift between the two brothers with his mischief. Shiva angrily shouted at Narada, ‘You came here to start this fight! I hope you are satisfied now…’

Narada shook his head, and said, ‘I had no idea that the children would fight for the mango, my Lord! You cannot blame me for this! Your Lord should remember, I had offered the mango to you and not to the children. If I had known this would happen, I would never have brought the mango here.’

Parvati knew it was time she intervened, as Shiva, Ganesha and Skanda were all angry. She held up her hands, ‘This does not have to be this way. We can resolve this. Stop it….’ Shiva stopped advancing towards Narada and looked at Parvati. Both Ganesha and Skanda stopped their bickering and looked at their mother expectantly.

‘We will organize a competition, whoever wins the competition, gets the mango, OK?’ Parvati said with a quiet smile.

Both the brothers nodded realizing that this was the only solution. Now that his sons were not fighting, Shiva was also pacified. ‘Shall I suggest the competition?’ Narada asked playfully, plainly happy that Shiva was not angry with him any more. Parvati nodded. Then Narada said, ‘Whoever goes around the Universe three times and returns first wins the mango.’

Skanda smiled. There was no way Ganesha could win this competition. Skanda was sure he was going to get the mango. Without saying another word, Skanda ran to his peacock and starting his flight around the Universe three times.

Ganesha was perturbed. He knew that he could not run faster than his brother and neither could his mouse match the speed of the Skanda’s peacock. He was wondering what to do. He sat and was quiet. His parents were worried that Ganesha was not on his way. Then an idea struck him.

Meanwhile Skanda, after circling the Universe three times, came home to claim the mango. Much to his amazement, he saw the mango in his brother’s hands.

Skanda could not believe that Ganesha had circled the Universe faster than him and had claimed the mango! Bewildered he turned to his mother, ‘How did Ganesha complete the race first?’

It was Sage Narada who replied, ‘Ganesha said that his parents, Shiva and Parvati, were his Universe. He asked Shiva and Parvati to stand together and he circled them three times.’

Skanda looked long at his brother who had the mango in his hands. He knew that his brother had beaten him fairly.

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We all follow the path of either Ganesha or Skanda in our lives. Some of us gather knowledge by traveling the world; whereas some of us gather knowledge by staying in the same place and observing people, and quietly contemplating. Ganesha is known to be the ‘remover of obstacles’ and by listening to himself he found a solution that was appropriate for him. He thought outside of the box. Take time to listen to your inner guru to find solutions to the obstacles that are thrown your way.


Adapted from the blog Stories from Hindu Mythology

Posted 13 July 2015