The Celestial Beings Accompanying Lord Ganesh-Part 2
June 6, 2007
The other companion that never goes unnoticed despite his size is the mouse. He is Lord Ganesh’s Vahan (Vehicle). The word Vahan is derived from the word Vru -Vaha which means to transport.
We all know the characteristics of the mouse – it is quick, alert and can travel practically through all crevices. This symbolically states that every creation big or small holds equal value in the eyes of the creator.
The following tales from the Purana narrates how the mouse was chosen to this position of being His divine attendant.
There was once a demon called Gajamukha who on the advice of his mentor, Shukraacharya performed severe austerities to please Lord Shiva to obtain invincible powers. But unfortunately the fruits of his efforts were used to victimize the gods. Lord Ganesh came to the rescue of these gods and there was an intense battle. The powers derived from Lord Shiva’s boons were of such high magnitude that the demon could not be destroyed. So Lord Ganesh broke His right tusk and threw it at Gajamukha, cursing him to change into a mouse. Once the curse took over, the Lord climbed on to its back and got it under His control. Thus the mouse was made His carrier.
There is another fascinating story that Lord Ganesh’s rat was once a Gandharva (Celestial singer) named Krauncha, in the court of King Indra. One day, Krauncha insulted sage Vaamedeva. The angry Sage cursed him to become a mouse. Krauncha forgot his role as a musician and derived all the characteristics of a rodent. He went to the ashram (Dwelling area) of Sage Paraashara and created havoc. This disrupted the peace and tranquility of the area and the helpless Sage prayed to Lord Ganesh. His unsurpassed and earnest reverence elated our Lord and He brought the mouse under His control.
The Vrihadaarnyak Upanishad states that the mouse is a symbol of all pervasive omniscient Brahman. As the creature of the dark underground, it is also a symbol of ignorance that fears light and knowledge. As the Lord’s close associate, he teaches us to remain alert and illuminate our inner self. Its swiftness can be considered as a hyperactive quality which is symbolic of our Indriyas (Senses). Thus Lord Ganesh sitting on such a vehicle signifies that He is the controlling Lord of all the senses.
In Yajur Veda, it is mentioned that Agni Devta (The God of Fire) was afraid of Lord Shiva and turned into a mouse and went down into the earth. Fire can be hazardous if not handled with caution but when harnessed carefully, it can be used effectively. This symbolically represents the mouse.
In Mudgala Purana, Mooshak is compared to a thief. Just like a thief steals and goes unnoticed. Similarly the mouse creates destruction under the cover of Maya. This can also be compared to our minds, that operates through the senses and if we are not able to realize its potential, it brings about negativity and destruction. Our Lord is the controller of this thief.
Other interpretations reveal that the mouse represents the unlimited, active and dormant desires within us and is enjoyer of all pleasures. Its greed is so intense that it causes endless damage. This symbolizes people who loose control and focus their lives in chasing material gratifications. They get so engrossed that they can never find a way out of the lustful maze of life.
In temples, the mouse is placed opposite the deity. It is said that if one whispers their wishes in his ear, then he swiftly conveys this message to the Lord and the desires are fulfilled.
Lord Ganesh is also depicted with His foot on the subdued mouse. Sometimes the mouse is illustrated gigantic in size and our Lord is shown seated on him in His forms of Vijaya Ganapati, Ekaakshara Ganapati and Shrishti Ganapati. Other times, the mouse is depicted with a plate of sweets with his eyes turned towards Lord Ganesh, clasping a Modaka between his paws. This depicts that the mouse is waiting for a command or permission from the Lord to consume it. This represents those minds which have been completely in sync with the spiritual path. They have fixed their mind, body and soul in Lord Ganesh’s Consciousness and seek His approval in all their endeavours.
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