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The Manifestation (birth) of Ganesh

Ganesha is the manifestation of Gauri's love for Shiva.

Gauri manifested Her love for Shiva in the form of a child while Shiva was out of the house, performing profound devotions to Gauri. It was the day after Gauri was Herself manifested, and had come home to Shiva's house. After manifesting Ganesh, Gauri took a ritual bath - and asked Ganesh to protect her while performing this ritual bath.

 Shiva returned home during this bath to discover a small child standing at the entrance of his house, denying Him entrance. He did not recognize the child, nor did He see it was the reflection of Gauri's love for Him.  Shiva asked the squadron of Ganas standing guard at the entrance who the child was, and whether anyone had been permitted into the house while He was gone? The Ganas said they had guarded the house, but they did not know who the child was. Shiva commanded the Ganas to open His house for Him - but the small child easily withstood them. Shiva then summoned all his armies of Ganas, but Ganesh withstood them all. Shiva called upon all His devotees, and they all were destroyed by this small child.  Shiva called upon Brahma, and Vishnu, to help - but they too were defeated.  Shiva grew angry, and Himself approached Ganesh - and after a protracted battle, struck off Ganesh's head.

It was at this moment that Gauri heard a disturbance outside, and came to see - Ganesh killed. Gauri was enraged at the disrespect Shiva had paid to her devotion, and manifesting as a very wrathful Shakti, explained the situation to a terrified Shiva: Shakti threatened to destroy the world if Ganesh were not restored to life. But poor Ganesh's head had been destroyed.  Brahma suggested Ganesh might recover if given a new head. The suggestion seemed absurd, and likely only to irritate Shakti further.  Shiva did not know what to do! 

Shakti took pity on Shiva, and resumed her form as Gauri. Gauri ordered the Ganas to search the world and bring Her the head of any creature that was sleeping with its head facing north. The entire world was searched in an instant: only one creature was at that moment sleeping in that position. It was an elephant, belonging to Indra, the King of the Gods. The Elephant woke, and understanding the situation, permitted the Ganas to take his head, sacrificing it to Shiva-Gauri.  The Elephant then put itself peacefully back to sleep, and while the elephant slept, a squadron of Ganas cut off its head and brought instantly before Gauri and Shiva. Shiva attached the head of the elephant to Ganesh's neck.

Understanding the nature of the devotion Ganesh represented, Shiva instructed every being to seek Ganesh before undertaking any significant undertaking, for Ganesh had already proven He was Master of all obstacles. Shiva placed Ganesh, His son, in command of the Ganas - whom He had conquered.

Ganesh would soon have many adventures, and manifest Buddhi, Siddhi and Riddhi - his three wives. With whom he manifested numerous children, each exemplifying satisfaction.