There is an interesting story about the God Ganesha in the Puranas. Once, a demon named Gajasura was about to face Lord Shiva in a battle. He decided to pray to Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles, before the battle.

“Get an deity of Ganesha made for me quickly,” thundered the mighty Gajasura. This resolve of the demon got Lord Shiva worried, “If this demon worships Ganesha, then it will be impossible to slay him. He will become invincible.”

Shiva then asked the Goddess Shakti for help, “Assume your Maya form. Disrupt the demon’s thinking by clouding his mind. Make sure he does not pray to Ganesha before he starts the battle with me.”

Maya obliged and entered Gajasura’s mind. The demon, who had gone to the river to perform ablutions, looked at his image and felt immensely proud of himself. Now under the spell of Maya, Gajasura thought, “Look at me! When I walk, the grounds shake. When I punch, big mountains crumble. When I stand tall, my head scatters the clouds. Why am I, the Lord of the three worlds, thinking of praying to an elephant-headed god!” He abandoned the thought of worshiping Ganesha. He went into the battle full of arrogance and got killed by Shiva with his trident.

Lord Shiva defeating Gajasura

Now Lord Ganesha got angry with Maya. “Goddess! You have prevented a devotee from offering his prayers to me. I curse you that from now on you will dwell only in the minds of the ignorant and not in the minds of the wise.”

Now, here is a point to ponder. Our scriptures say that any negative emotion – anger, attachment, greed, lust, or desire – is due to Maya or delusion of the mind. So the next time we are angry, sad, or proud, let’s remember that we are being ignorant and delusional and get Maya out our heads as quickly as we can!

[Editor’s note: Vani Mahesh has a deep rooted interest in the Indian mythology and classics. She is a consultant writer for Amar Chitra Katha where she scripts stories from the Puranas. She has so far authored two comics and a novel published by Amar Chitra Katha. (‘Tales of Creation From the Brahma Purana’, A Kingdom for His Love, a novel based on Bhasa’s play, and now Saptarshi – The Seven Supreme Sages.)]

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