Dhumravarna is Ganesha’s eighth and last incarnation. He slew a demon named Ahamkarasura. The demon has other names such as Ahantasura or Abhimanasura. He embodied evils of ego and pride. He was born out of a sneeze of a self-infatuated person.
Once Lord Brahma called the Sun god, rewarding him with the rule over Karma (deeds). He was elated and started looking over human actions. He was now called the Lord of Karma Rajya. The Sun could feel the power racing through his blood. This feeling consumed his mind. He became arrogant.
Sun thought that he was superior to any mortal and immortal being. At that very moment, he sneezed. His prideful thoughts were so powerful that they came together and took the form of a giant demon.
The demon took shelter under sage Shukracharya, who preached demons. Shukracharya named him Aham and taught him many demonic rituals. The sage had seen Ganesha annihilate many of his disciples over the years. So, he advised Aham to perform penance for Lord Ganesha. Aham completely devoted his time to please Ganesha. For many years, he performed austerities in severe conditions. Ganesha was satisfied with his devotion. He asked Aham for a wish. Aham asked for immortality and sovereignty over the three realms. Ganesha granted him the boon.
When Aham came back to the hinterlands, Shukracharya was overjoyed to see his plan working. Shukracharya made him the King of Asuras (demons). Aham ruled from the city of Vishaypriya. Later he was wedded to Mamata, the daughter of Pramadasur. Mamata was known as the Goddess of Motherly Love. They had two sons, Shreshth (The best) and Garv (Pride).
Acting upon Shukracharya’s advice, he conquered all three worlds. His rule created turmoil in the world. Just like the Sun, this win made him arrogant. He thought that he was a supreme entity. Ahamkarasura turned a blind eye to all the crimes he was committing and shut down every voice of protest. Even his pious wife couldn’t make him see reason.
The gods summoned Lord Ganesha to solve this problem. Ganesha wanted to avoid bloodshed. So, he sent a peace message to Aham through sage Narada. The message read that Ahamkarasura should step down from his rule and end the violence over innocents. This made Aham furious. Arrogantly, he dismissed Ganesha’s request.
At last, Ganesha assumed the form of Dhumravarna. Dhumravarna was riding a mouse this time. He finished off Ahamkarasura’s army one by one. Eventually, Ahamkarasura grew scared. He ran away from the fight to save his skin. Once again, Lord Ganesha saved the day.
Symbolism Of Dhumravarna
Dhumravarna means one with a tawny colour or smoky colour. Thus Ganesha appears to have a dark smoky hue in this manifestation. He also rides a blue horse.
Dhumravarna has some similarities with Kalki. Ganesha Purana and Mudgala Purana say that Dhumravarna will return as Dhumraketu at the end of the Kali Yuga. Along with Vishnu’s avatar Kalki, he will destroy Abhimanasura, the symbol of pride and ego in humans.
Humans are prisoners of their emotions. Ahamkarasura still lurks in our thoughts. We need to get rid of a prideful feeling before it takes over us.