There are numerous stories that abound of Lord Ganesh’s life lessons. A very popular one revolves around a grand feast that was hosted by Kubera, the god of wealth. Eager to show off what he possessed, he proceeded to send invitations to other gods and countless
guests. He also went to Mount Kailash to invite Goddess Parvati and her husband, Lord Shiva who had blessed him with the boon of never-ending wealth. Clearly seeing through Kubera’s intentions, the couple declined the invitation but said they would send their son Ganesh over.
Delighted, Kubera made the required preparations in order to dazzle everyone. On the day of the feast, Ganesh arrived at the palace and sat down to eat. He was promptly served with the most delectable dishes and started eating merrily. Kubera rubbed his hands in glee but soon after, that turned to alarm. Ganesh seemed to have an insatiable appetite! He would gobble everything up and would shout’ “More! More!” Kubera ordered his cooks to prepare more food but Ganesh kept eating and asking for more. The cooks could hardly keep pace with Ganesh’s infinite appetite and all the food ran out at the palace. Arrangements were made to bring in food from other kingdoms but that was a futile venture faced with Ganesh’s eating frenzy. It was an extraordinary scene. There was simply no more food left. Angry, Ganesh started to eat the utensils and whatever he could lay his hands on at the palace.
Terrified and embarrassed, Kubera rushed to Mount Kailash to ask for help. There, Lord Shiva gave him a fistful of rice and instructed him to feed that to Ganesh. That being undertaken, Ganesh’s appetite was finally satisfied. Kubera realised his folly and asked for forgiveness. Vanity was leading to his downfall and a few grains of rice constituted the miracle remedy.
What can we learn from this story? Using one’s material possessions to swell one’s ego is self-destructive. There should be no ulterior motives when doing a good deed. The ostentatious flaunting of wealth is a superficial act while humility remains a permanent grounding force. Despite having everything, one can quickly be absorbed into the downward spiral of nothingness. Conversely, one can spring to abundance from nothingness if the intentions are honest. A meaningful life is not centred on ephemeral pleasures. Unchecked, the latter can turn into a never-ending obsession, like Ganesh’s appetite. Fulfilment is a matter of perspective and does not require much, just like the few grains of rice. An act of kindness , a smile or some encouraging words can help brighten up someone’s life. This is indeed one valuable lesson which we can apply to our daily lives, especially as many around us are going through challenging times.
On this note, may the blessings of Ganesh enlighten us. ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya!’