Shani Bhagavan and the Story of How Ganesha Got the Elephant Head



There are numerous legends in Puranas regarding how Ganesha got the elephant head. One story suggests that Ganesha got the elephant head due to Shani Bhagavan. Legend has it that Parvati longed for getting a child and informed Shiva about her desire.

Shiva asked Goddess Parvati to undertake a penance for one year. She did and then a child was born to Goddess Parvati.

Shani Bhagavan
The child was so glorious that the boy was far more superior to the Tejas of all the demigods (Devas) that assembled to witness the boy.

The Navgrahas including Shani Bhagavan came to visit the divine child. Shani Bhagavan did not look at the baby. There is a popular belief that Shani drishti (look) will cause hardships. Shani also did not want the baby to look at him.

Goddess Parvati was not happy with the behaviour of Shani. She wanted Shani to bless the newborn baby.

Unwillingly Shani looked at the baby and immediately the head of the baby separated and flew to Goloka.

Goddess Parvati let out a huge cry. It shook the universe. There was total confusion all around.

Vishnu the preserver of the universe knew that if Goddess Parvati is not consoled She would annihilate the universe.

Bhagavan Vishnu then looked for a solution and decided to place the head of an elephant on the body of the baby.

A son of Airavata – the white elephant of Indra – who came to know about Vishnu’s decision voluntarily gave his head.

Vishnu then placed the head on the child’s neck. He also gave life to the lifeless body.

Goddess Parvati was happy to get back her child with elephant’s wisdom and power.

Most stories attempt to give a logic to the elephant head of Ganesha. This is for satisfying the logic searching people. There are numerous such stories in Puranas.

The form of Ganesha symbolically represents ॐ (OM). The primordial sound. The beginning of Creation. He is all auspicious. In Him everything is created, in Him everything live and in Him everything return.