‘Who is the worthy one?’ Shiva’s mind paced frantically as he sat in his abode in the midst of tranquil Kailash surroundings. The time had come to pick a rightful candidate as a commander for his huge valiant army.
His thoughts raced again. ‘Who can lead the largest celestial army of this universe? Who will be able to rightfully steer the most heroic army to its greatest glory and lead it by example?’
Just then his eyes sparkled as a brilliant thought hit his mind. He smiled to himself and asked Nandi to summon both his sons Kartikey and Ganesha. Nandi did as asked. And as Parvati sat beside Shiva, she sensed that her husband was upto something.
‘Pranam Pitashri, Pranam Maatey’. Both Ganesha and Kartikey bowed, eager to know why Nandi rushed them.
Shiva smiled and said ‘Kartikey, Ganesha, I am considering appointing a new commander for our army. Now, you both have grown tremendously, both in knowledge and valour and also possess unique qualities. However I need someone who is agile, versatile and has practical knowledge of the world. Hence to decide, I have come up with a task.’
Parvati along with Kartikey and Ganesha continued to look puzzled as they heard Shiva. ‘Both of you need to circle around the world three times. Whoever returns to me first after finishing the task wins and becomes the Gana Pati – The head of the army’.
Kartikey looked confident and Ganesha determined to win the task, as they both started from Kailash. Kartikey’s vehicle – a peacock was swift to fly and was out of the league for Ganesha almost instantly. As Ganesha rode his vehicle – a tiny mouse, who was further slowed down by Ganesha’s heavy body, he quickly realised that the task isn’t as easy as it seems to be. Nevertheless, he continued.
‘Narayan, Narayan’. A familiar voice rang in Ganesh’s big ears. He hardly crossed a little over Kailash boundary and bumped into Lord Brahma’s son – Narad.
‘O Lord, such misfortune’ Ganesha thought to himself at the sight of Brahmin while on an important journey, while Narad asked him where he was headed. Irritated, yet not wanting to dishonour a Brahmin, Ganesha narrated the task Shiva had laid out to select a suitable chief for his army.
“O Ganesha, Then why are you heading the wrong way?’ said Narad as Ganesha look at him bewilderedly. “ Hei Parvatinandan, this entire cosmos is but a creation of Shiv and Shakti. And they are none other than your parents Shiva and Ma Parvati’.
A thought invoked in Ganesha’s mind. He immediately thanked Narada and returned to Kailash. Both Parvati and Shiva wondered how he was back so soon and if he gave up already.
Ganesha quietly stood in front of them and bowed with his eyes closed. He then took three rounds around Shiva and Parvati. Shiva smiled, knowing immediately how Ganesha smartly carried out the task.
‘What are you doing, my son?’ Confused by Ganesha’s act, Parvati asked him.
‘Hey Ma, Hey Pitashri. You are not just my entire world, but the creator of entire universe. You are the seed from which the life began and everything in this world is a part of you. You represent but a world itself. Hence I finish my task by completing the circle around you seeking your blessings.’
Hearing this Brahma, Nandi, Narad and all the other Gods present , unanimously declared him to be the wisest of all gods and worthy of the title of chief of the celestial armies.
As they declared him the Lord of Ganas, everyone’s voice echoed with a mantra.
Om Gannaanaam Tvaa Ganna-Patim Hava-Amahe, Kavim Kaviinaam-Upama-Shravas-Tamam|
Jyessttha-Raajam Brahmannaam Brahmannas-Pata, Aa Nah Shrnnvan-Nuutibhih-Siida-Saadanam ||
Om Mahaa-Ganna-Adhipataye Namah ||
“Hei Ganapati, the Lord of Ganas, please accept the offerings we submit with our loyal worship. You are but a great wise, the one with utmost glory. You are prime of all Gods, the one with absolute realization. You are the quintessence of a blessed soul and life; we submit our prayers and oblations to you. We kneel and bow to you Hei Mahaganadhipati with unwavered faith.”