Ganesha, Ganapati or Ekadanta, call him by whatever name, the blessings showered shall always be endless. Hinduism is certainly incomplete without the mention of Lord Ganesha. The elder son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha is believed to be the god of knowledge, intelligence and wisdom.
Legend says it that one should take blessings of Lord Ganesha before beginning any new venture. Since he is the remover of all obstacles by seeking his blessings at the start of any new work or project we are requesting Lord Ganesha to protect us from negative energy and help us soar onto the path of success and prosperity.
What is a Vahana?
In this article we shall be focusing our attention on Lord Ganesha’s vahana. Vahana is usually an animal or a mythical entity that is used by gods and goddesses’ as their vehicle. Bull, peacock, lion etc. are some of the vahanas of gods. While some gods and goddess’ are shown riding their vahanas, the rest of them have their vahanas at their side. It is essential to know that the vahanas or vehicles are not just carriers for gods; they have a deep rooted symbolism and characteristics. While some vahanas may appear individually, most of them are depicted in close connection with the respective deity.
It is interesting to see that Lord Ganesha’s vahana is the teeny weeny mouse, also known as the mooshika. A sheer contrast to Lord Ganesha’s size and grandeur his vahana is meek and tiny. In the earliest depictions of Lord Ganesha his vahana – mooshika was not accompanying him. It was only after the Mudgala Purana which talks about the eight incarnations of Lord Ganesha, people found out that five out of the eight incarnations had been depicted with a mouse.
Symbolism of Mooshika
Mouse is generally considered a destructive animal, which if not controlled at the right time can cause great damage to food and crop especially.
Philosophically, the mouse is a connotation of the human mind. Our mind is always full of desires and is often selfish, just like the mouse. The mouse is depicted as an obstacle that we create by negative thoughts and ill feelings. Also our thoughts have great power, both positive as well as negative. Negative thoughts, if not controlled at the right time can be highly destructive.
Lord Ganesha seated on the mouse depicts the lord crushing all negativity when a devotee surrenders himself to the lord with full devotion. The mouse is usually depicted at Lord Ganesha’s feet. This symbolizes that Lord Ganesha is the ultimate power and under his control and blessings a steady mind would always be bowed down with humbleness.
How did lord get his vahana?
Lord Ganesha was known to be a mischievous kid. He would often run and play all over mount Kailash. Contrary to him, Lord Karthikeya was very quiet. He would sit on his vahana – the peacock and deliver his father’s messages to other gods and goddesses. Seeing this Lord Ganesha also urged his mother to get him a vahana. Goddess Paravati refused, stating that he was too young to handle a vahana. Listening to this, Lord Ganesha started crying loudly. His sobs shattered Lord Shiva’s meditation. That’s when Lord Shiva told his son, “I have a perfect vahana for you.” In the past days Lord Shiva’s meditation got disturbed due to a naughty squeaky mouse. Lord Shiva called the mouse and the tiny creature had to obey Lord Shiva’s orders. He dropped him into his son’s hands. “From now on, this mouse will be your vahana” said Lord Shiva.
From that day onwards Lord Ganesha developed a strong bond of friendship with his mouse and would chase him around the house the entire day.
The relation of Lord Ganesha and his mooshika also teaches us another lesson. When god does not discriminate between big and small, then who are we to be judgmental? God sees us as equals and so should we.