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The three wives of Ganesh

Ganesh and His brother Karthikeya shared the same mother and father. But because their mother was in the form of a goddess when she gave birth to Karthikeya, Karthikeya was a Deva - whereas Ganesh, being a manifestation of the devoted love between Shiva and Gauri, was not.  And with the addition of an elephant's head?  What was Ganesh?

Both brothers commanded a great army: Karthikeya commanded the army of gods; Ganesh commanded the Ganas. However, Karthikeya began to think he was superior because he was a Deva - this was not His reasoning, but by nature of his form as a Deva, He was naturally prideful. The two were always bickering, and so one day Shiva proposed they hold a sporting contest to determine who was superior and settle things once and for all.

Both Ganesh and Karthikeya recalled how Shiva had challenged His own brothers to a race to the ends of the universe when they had a similar dispute: Shiva had burned a pillar of light across all space and time, and challenged Brahma and Vishnu to find the end of it. But by the nature of space and time, the pillar bent back around on itself - and both brothers ended up meeting each other in friendship.  Shiva said, "this race will be different." Shiva told Karthikeya and Ganesh, "whoever can first circle the entirety of space and time as I did will win the race - and Riddhi, Contentment, the fruit of perfect wisdom."

Karthikeya mounted on his peacock (Karthikeya rode a giant peacock, as a human might ride a horse) and was off. Ganesh's mount was a normal-sized mouse - and at first Ganesh felt quite disadvantaged, as a mouse is slower than a peacock. This race would not be won by speed. While His brother rushed off, Ganesh sat down and carefully considered things. He realized His father would not have given Him an impossible task. This caused Ganesh to love his father very much, and so Ganesh sought to make Himself worthy of His father's love. So He devoted Himself to the yoga Shiva had taught Him and perfected Wisdom. This act of devotion manifested Buddhi, Knowledge of Wisdom, the beautiful wife of Ganesh. Ganesh then wholly devoted Himself to Buddhi, and merging with Her, manifested Siddhi, the perfected application of wisdom, His second Wife. Buddhi Ganesh loved Siddhi very much, and She loved Buddhi Ganesh, in turn.

Buddhi Ganesh returned to where Shiva and Gauri waited. Shiva saw the change in Ganesh and smiled benignly, "I see you have found two wives already - have you given up?" "No," said Ganesh as he slowly, deliberately, walked around His father and mother, again and again and again, followed closely by Siddhi, and His mouse. "You exist in all of space and time, you are all of space and time. I am the manifestation of your love, and I love you." Shiva and Gauri awarded Buddhi Ganesh the victory. "Ganesh, there was no need for you to circle Me, you have already won the fruit of Wisdom!"

When Karthikeya returned, he also clearly perceived Buddhi Ganesh's victory, and the way it was won, Karthikeya acknowledged Buddhi Ganesh as the victor, and like a good sport celebrated in the happy marriages of Ganesh. The two brothers were always thereafter reconciled.