12 September, 2018
Ganesha, Ganapathi, Ganaadipa, Gajaanan, Vinayaka, Vigneshwar, Vignahaarak; these are just a few of the names by which we refer to this god, who is a favourite among the young and old alike. It doesn’t matter that he looks different, and has an elephant head; that only makes him more lovable to us. Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvathi, is the one god whom, we Hindus, pray before we start anything new. He is the one who is prayed to before all, and as such before any new venture like housewarming, new building or office opening, etc., we are used to having a ‘Ganapathi Homa’ to ward away all the obstacles that may come in. That is the belief that people have in Ganesha.
Do you know why people worship him before all else? Well, most of us heard this story of how, god Ganesha is brought back to life with an elephant head and given the boon by Shiva that he will be worshipped before all else. This is the story that we have heard often. However, there is another interesting version as to why he is worshipped before all other gods.
The Alternate Story
It is said that the King Vikramaditya's court had Kalidasa, the great poet as one of the Navaratnas. One day Kalidasa was asked by the King to differentiate between three similar statues that he had put up, as to which was the most valuable and which was the least valuable. The wise poet Kalidasa picks up a straw and puts it into the ear of the first statue, and it comes out from the mouth. He does the same with the second, and it doesn't come out at all. In the third, when he inserted the straw into the ear, it comes out of the second ear. So, Kalidasa dubs the second statue as the most valuable and the first as the least valuable, indicating that the first one tells everything that he hears. The second keeps everything within, and in the third, it goes out the other ear. Hence, as per him, the most valuable one was who could keep everything within himself.
Now, this story has an interesting link to Ganesha being the most revered one, as per this variation of the story. It seems that Ganesha has big ears, so he listens maximum, everything goes in. However, his mouth is a long trunk, and nothing ever comes out. Also, his big his tummy is because he holds everything in :) Hence, it means that Ganesha happens to be the most revered one of all the gods. That is an interesting angle to the story indeed. Of course, there are variations to the straw story too, that it happened with Akbar and Birbal. After these are all mythological stories and we have no idea which version is right. Usually, the popular and often retold versions are claimed to be the correct versions. Whatever the myth, we now have another reason to love the god Ganesha more. Well, Ganesha Chathurthi happens to be this week on 13th September and celebrate it with all fervour and pray that the god removes all the obstacles from our lives. Also, it is said that he loves Modak most of all as an offering, so here is a recipe to try out.
Instant Rava Modak
Like the stories of Ganesha, the Modak too has many variations. Here we bring you an instant Rava (Semolina, Sooji) recipe as compared to the more common rice flour or fried one.
First, prepare the filling for the Modak using jaggery and coconut. For this, melt the jaggery in a pan and add the coconut and cook on low flame, so that it thickens enough to use as a filling. Keep it aside for cooling. Heat the water with salt and ghee and add the rava when it starts to boil. Keep stirring and simmering like we do for the Upma, and let it thicken into little more than a paste consistency. This should be used as dough for kneading. It should not be allowed to cool down completely, but just enough so that you can knead it. Grease your palms before kneading so that it is easier.
Now, prepare lemon sized balls of this dough, flatten it and put the filing and then give the shape as desired. Usually, the edges are joined together in a cone shape. These are ready and need not be steamed further as the rava, and the filling is already cooked.
Stay up to date with information you can use. From health and money to entertainment and special offers, the Samarth newsletter is your weekly source of insights to help get more out of life.
© Copyright 2016. Samarth Community.