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Be aware of your actions- Learn from Ganesha

Several stories of Ganesha’s childhood and adulthood are depicted in the scriptures. These help in learning important lessons in life that may be implemented. One of the stories that goes back to the childhood of Lord Ganesha teaches us to take onus of our action and try to control them lest the actions cause harm to someone.

One day Lord Ganesha was wandering in the forest in search of an activity to amuse himself. In his childhood he was known for being naughty and impulsive. In the forest of Mount Kailasa he took his bow and arrows and decided to hunt.

While wondering what to hunt for Ganesha came across a white cat. Lord Ganesha started to pursue it and the cat made a run for his life. Ganesha had no intent to hunt the cat and just wanted to play. He thought the cat was playing along and chased it with more vigour. The cat in its escape got scratched off by the branches of the tree. When Ganesha saw the cat hiding behind a tree he shot arrows at the cat. Ganesha got hold of it and flung it to the ground. The cat got mud all over him and Ganesha’s feet were also immersed in mud. As Ganesha tended to his feet the cat made a run for his life and got lost in the woods. Ganesha was now too tired to pursue it and decided to go back to his mother.

At the doorstep he saw goddess Parvati waiting for Ganesha with a plateful of food. Lord Ganesha stopped in his tracks as he saw that Parvati had mud stains all over her and scratches oozing blood. Ganesha got upset and asked the reason behind his mother’s wounds. On being questioned Parvati asked Ganesha if he had done this to her. A perplexed Ganesha answered that he had been playing with a cat in the forest and must have hurt it in the process.

Parvati then explained it to her son that all life on earth constituted her body. As the protector of life she and her father had the onus of taking care of all life on earth. The scratches inflicted on her were because Ganesha had hurt the cat.

When Ganesha was upset and expressed remorse, Parvati explained that it is not possible not to harm anyone or anything. Sometimes we do it without the intent of harming something and sometimes we do it unknowingly. But it is possible to take onus of our actions and think hard before acting on them. It is possible to bring our mind to a state where it is aware of all the actions and cause as little harm as possible.

Ganesha thanked his mother for the lesson and promised to gain the wisdom of controlling his mind. He decided to advocate the same to his devotees and went off to nurse the cat back to its health.

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