Stories Related to Broken Tusk of Ganesha

July 7, 2015, In: Mythological

The god of intellect and inherent wisdom is also an epitome of kindness and strength. He is the destroyer of obstacles and the lord of the lords. Such is the greatness of loving Lord Ganesha, who revered by one and all.

Ekadantaaya Vidmahe Vakratundaaya Dheemahi |
Tannoe Dantih Prachodayaat ||

We devote our thought to the one-tusked Lord. We meditate upon Him who has a curved trunk. May the tusked one guide us on the right path.

Marked by the elephant head and a broken right tusk, Ganesha is known by many names. One of the names he is reckoned with is Ekadantaa – The one with a broken tusk.  It draws many symbolisms like retaining good and letting go of bad and even that the faith is greater than knowledge. However, there are different versions of stories around how Ganesha came to have a broken tusk. Some of them go like this.

As per an excerpt in Brahmanda Purana, after winning the battle against the Kartavirya Arjuna, Lord Parshurama went to Kailash to seek Shiva’s blessings and pay his respect. However as he reached the entrance of Kailash, he was stopped in his path by young Ganesha. Parshurama insisted that he allows him to go through, yet Ganesha did not waver from his resolve.

He insistently said – ‘Hei Gurudev, My father Shiva is resting, hence I cannot allow you to disturb him at the moment. You shall have to wait.’

Enraged by this treatment, he started fighting Ganesha and forcefully hurled his axe towards him. Ganesha at once recognised the axe as his father’s gift to Parshuram. Not willing to dishonour it, Ganesha took the blow of the axe on his right tooth. It immediately broke off and fell on the ground covering it with the blood.

Both Parvati and Shiva rushed to Ganesha’s aid, making Parshuram realise his mistake and humbly surrender. He joined his hands seeking forgiveness and blessed Ganesha ‘Hei Parvatinandan, Pardon me for my ill temper. For your immense patience and righteousness, you will henceforth also be known as Ekadantaa.’

Yet another intriguing story on how Ganesha lost his tusk is related to the epic Mahabharata.  It was Maharishi Ved Vyas who was entitled to write the vivid tale of such magnanimity.  Vyas Muni wanted someone learned and scholarly to pen the classic legend. Upon Lord Brahma’s suggestion, Vyas Muni went to Lord Shiva for help and asked him if the wise Lord Ganesha would agree to such a task.  Both looked at Ganesha who nodded his head and agreed, but with one condition.

Hei Maharishi, I would be honoured to be a part of such a grand undertaking. My only wish is that you narrate the entire story at one go, without a break. If you stop in between, so shall I, and then you shall have to search for another writer.’

Vyas Muni agreed to this odd condition and began with the task. Ganesha was dutifully penning down the story with the same vigour as each verse Muni narrated. Suddenly, in between his pen broke, yet Maharishi did not stop and continued to recite the tale. Not wanting to lag behind, Ganesha broke off his tooth without another thought. He resumed penning the grand story with his broken tusk, which over a period of time became one of the famous epics of ancient India.

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