The Shiva Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words

This page relates “birth of ganesha” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 13 - The birth of Gaṇeśa

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:—

1. On hearing the marvellously excellent story of the slayer of Tāraka thus, Nārada was highly delighted and he lovingly asked Brahmā.

2. O lord of gods and people, O storehouse of Śiva’s cult, the excellent story of Kārttikeya, far better than nectar, has been heard by me.

3. Now I wish to hear the excellent story of Gaṇeśa, the details of his divine nativity, auspicious of the auspicious.

Sūta said:—

4. On hearing the words of Nārada the great sage, Brahmā became delighted and replied to him remembering Śiva.

Brahmā said:—

5. Due to the difference of Kalpas, the story of the birth of Gaṇeśa is told in different ways. According to one account he is born of the great lord. His head looked at by Śani[1] was cut off and an elephant’s head was put on him.

6. Now we narrate the story of the birth of Gaṇeśa in Śvetakalpa[2] when his head was cut off by the merciful Śiva.

7. No suspicion need be entertained, O sage. Śiva is certainly the cause of enjoyment and protection. He is the lord of all. Śiva is possessed as well as devoid of attributes.

8. It is by His divine sport that the entire universe is created, sustained and annihilated. O excellent sage, listen to what is relevant to the context, with attention.

9. A long time had lapsed after the marriage of Śiva and His return to Kailāsa that Gaṇeśa was born.

10. Once the friends Jayā and Vijayā conferred with Pārvatī and discussed.

11. All the Gaṇas of Rudra carry out the orders of Śiva. They all, Nandin, Bhṛṅgin and others are in a way our own.

12. Pramathas are numerous. But none of them can be called our own. They all stand at the portals, subservient to Śiva’s behests.

13. They also may be called our own but our mind is not in unison with them. Hence, O sinless lady, one, our own must be created.

Brahmā said:—

14. Goddess Pārvatī to whom this charming suggestion was made by the two friends considered it wholesome and resolved to carry it out.

15. Once when Pārvatī was taking her bath, Sadāśiva rebuked Nandin and came into the inner apartment.

16. The mother of the universe, seeing the untimely arrival of Śiva in the midst of her bath and toilet stood up. The beautiful lady was very shy then.

17. The goddess decided that her friend’s suggestion would be conducive to her good and was so enthusiastic.

18. At the time when the incident occurred, Pārvatī, the great Māyā, the great goddess, thought as follows.

19. “There must be a servant of my own who will be expert in his duties. He must not stray from my behest even a speck.”

20. Thinking thus the goddess created a person with all the characteristics, out of the dirt[3] from her body.

21. He was spotless and handsome in every part of his body. He was huge in size and had all brilliance, strength and valour.

22-23. She gave him various clothes and ornaments. She blessed him with benediction and said—“You are my son. You are my own. I have none else to call my own”. Thus addressed the person bowed to her and said:—

Gaṇeśa said:—

24. “What is your order? I shall accomplish what you command.” Thus addressed, Pārvatī replied to her son.

Pārvatī said:—

25. “O dear, listen to my words. Work as my gatekeeper from today. You are my son. You are my own. It is not otherwise. There is none-else who belongs to me.

26. O good son, without my permission, no one, by any means, shall intrude my apartment. I tell you the fact.”

Brahmā said:—

27. O sage, saying this, she gave him a hard stick. On seeing his handsome features she was delighted.

28. Out of love and mercy she embraced and kissed him. She placed him armed with a staff at her entrance as the gatekeeper.

29. Then the son of the goddess, of great heroic power, stayed at the doorway armed with a staff with a desire to do what was good to her.

30. Thus placing her son at the doorway, Pārvatī began to take bath with her friends, unworried.

31. O excellent sage, at this very moment Śiva who is eagerly indulgent and an expert in various divine sports came near the door.

32. Not knowing that he was lord Śiva, the consort of Pārvatī, Gaṇeśa said—“O sir, without my mother’s permission you shall not go in now.

33. My mother has entered the bath. Where are you going now? Go away” saying thus, he took up his staff to ward him off.

34. On seeing him Śiva said “O foolish fellow, whom are you forbidding? O wicked knave, don’t you know me? I Śiva, none else”.

35. Thereupon Gaṇeśa beat Śiva with the staff. Śiva expert in various sports became infuriated and spoke to his son thus.

Śiva said:—

36. “You are a fool, You do not know that I am Śiva, the husband of Pārvatī. O boy, I go in my own house. Why do you forbid me?”

Brahmā said:—

37. When lord Śiva tried to enter the house, Gaṇeśa became infuriated, O brahmin, and struck him with his staff once again.

38. Then Śiva too became furious. He commanded his own Gaṇas—“Who is this fellow here? What is he doing? O Gaṇas, enquire.”

39. After saying this, the furious Śiva stood outside the house. The lord, following the worldly conventions, is capable of various wonderful sports.

Footnotes and references:


Śani (the planet Saturn) is called the evil-eyed (Krūradṛś), for his glance casts an evil effect. The present context refers to a legend of Pārvatī who proud of her son, Gaṇeśa, asked Śani to look at him. Śani looked and the child’s head was burnt to ashes. Pārvatī felt greatly distressed and Brahmā offered consolation advising her to replace the head with the first she could find and that was an elephant’s.


Śvetakalpa, a short form of Śvetavārāha Kalpa, is one of the thirty Kalpas. According to the Purāṇas the legends of one Kalpa are repeated in the other. In this process some modifications in the accounts are bound to happen with the changes in the happenings. The legend of Gaṇeśa as recorded in this chapter belongs to Śvetavārāhakalpa. It is distinct from the one referred to above.


According to this account, Gaṇeśa was born of the scurf of Pārvatī’s body, without the intervention of Siva.

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