The Ganesha Purana (abridged)

Gaṇeśa Purāṇa

by Gregory Baily | 11,149 words

The Ganesha Purana is a Hindu religious text dedicated to the Hindu deity Ganesha (Gaṇeśa). It is an upapurāṇa that includes many stories and ritualistic elements relating to Ganesha. Ganesha Purana – Translated by Prof. Gregory Baily and Edited by C. Devadas...

Chapter 9 - Instruction to the King

Suta Gosvami said, “After contemplating the misery caused by King Somakanta’s previous karma, Bhrgu became very perturbed. Thinking about this for a short time, he again spoke to the King”.

Bhrgu said, “On the one hand we have your bad karma and on the other we have different remedies we can discuss. Still, I will tell you one particular remedy for destroying the reactions of this karma. If you listen attentively to the Ganesha Purana, then you will certainly be released from the ocean of misery. Of this there is no doubt”.

Suta said, “After he had told this to the king, he recited the superexcellent “One Hundred and Eight Names of Lord Ganesha”. He sanctified some water with holy mantras as he sprinkled it on the King. As soon as he had sprinkled the water, a small figure, with a black face fell, emerged from the King’s nostril, and then fell onto the. He instantly grew very big. His gaping mouth measured seven talas. It was frightful. His tongue was terrible and his eyes were fire red. He had long arms and wore braided hair. A huge fire began spewing from his mouth, as did pus and blood, causing everyone’s eyes to become blinded as though it were a very dark night. After seeing this startling being, whose gnashing teeth were everywhere to be seen, all the other inhabitants of the hermitage fled.

Bhrgu questioned the male demon who was standing right before his eyes. ‘Aren’t you clever? Tell me about yourself, and what is your name?’ The demon replied, ‘I live in the body of the King, and my name is Papapurusa. As a result of your sprinkling water on him, I have come out of his body. I am extremely hungry and I need to eat, so give me food! If you don’t I will eat this King and all of these people right in front of you, sage. Also, tell me about this charming dwelling place and where I have originally come from’. The sage again spoke to the demon, ‘Now that you have come out of Somakanta, go, at my command, and stay in the hollow of that straight, sapless mango tree. You can eat the leaves that fall down from that tree. If not, I am going to reduce you to ashes. I tell you the truth, vile creature”.

Suta said, “When the sage had finished speaking to the demon, Brghu touched that mango tree. Merely by his touch the tree became ashes, Brahmins. As a result of the sage’s steadfast gaze, the terrified demon also vanished into ashes. After the demon had disappeared, the sage turned to Somakanta”.

Bhrgu said, “By hearing this Ganesha Purana, your good karma will appear again, excellent King. Until that tree sprouts again, you must remain here day after day in its ashes. When the tree has grown up, King, your bad karma will have been completely eradicated”.

The King said, “I have neither seen nor heard of the Ganesha Purana before. Where was it written, and who is its author, sage”?

The Sage said, “Brahma first told it to the wise Vedavyasa and Vyasa recited this Purana, which destroys all sins, to me. I will now recite it to you. Firstly, perform your ablutions in this sacred lake, and firm-vowed King, make the resolution, ‘I will continue to hear this Purana”.

Suta said, “Encouraged by Bhrgu, and having bathed in the famous Bhrgu-tirtha, Somakanta was overjoyed. Then he undertook his resolution, saying, ‘Henceforth I will listen to any story about Ganesha. As soon as he made this resolution, he became released from his illness. By Bhrgu’s mercy, the King lost his reddish color and became free of his wounds and worms. Appreciating the outcome, Bhrgu embraced the King, who was amazed and thrilled. After sitting down in his own seat, he then offered the King a seat. Then that great King, divinely inspired, spoke to Bhrgu”.

The King said, “Through your favor, and merely by this resolution, all my overwhelming anxiety has gone. Please completely recite this wonderful story of Dviradanana”.

Bhrgu said, “Listen carefully. After you are relaxed, I am going to recite this Purana. Just the desire to hear it arises because one possesses endless good karma. It could not be otherwise. For the wicked, simply by hearing this Purana, slightly bad, grossly bad, or vast, though these karmas may be acquired over many years, they are destroyed immediately because of Ganesha’s blessings. Ganesha is imperishable, immeasurable, without material qualities, and without a material form. He cannot be understood just by speaking about Him or through the mind. His form is comprised of pure consciousness. Brahma, Shiva and the demigods cannot fathom the nature of his real appearance. Even one as wise as the thousand-faced Sesa is unable to completely describe his glories, excellent King.

I have heard this Purana, which bestows such blessings, from the mouth of Vyasa, who is endowed with incalculable spiritual power, and has pure knowledge of the Self. Sick with grief after the destruction of his sacrifice, Daksa heard about Ganesha from Mudgala. He also was told that only a person who has firm devotion to the giver of all success, Ganesha, should listen to this Purana, but should never relay it to others. If everyone were to perform service to Ganesha, then no one would experience the heaps of obstacles and miseries that are created by the mind, therefore causing separation from the Lord.

Vyasa, who is omniscient, wrote these stories millennia ago for those without spiritual knowledge, who had not studied the Vedas, who were lacking in good conduct, and for those who do not understand the true meaning of dharma. As Vyasadev concluded, people living in the iron age of Kali are generally dishonest and mischievous, so he composed eighteen Puranas for the preservation of dharma. He also composed many Upapuranas for understanding God, but one will understand the truth of the Lord’s appearance as Ganesha from this Purana.

Thus ends the ninth chapter of Upasana Khanda of the glorious Ganesha Purana
called “Instruction to the King”.

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