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Mushaka - The Story Of Lord Ganesha’s Vahana

Mushaka – The Story Of Lord Ganesha’s Vahana

While it is easy to get distracted by the aura of Lord Ganesha, we couldn’t possibly think of the beloved deity without his little companion, his vahana (vehicle) Mushaka (Mouse). It also makes us wonder how a small mouse ended up being the big and mighty Ganesha’s carrier.

In written sources, a mouse as a vehicle first appeared in Matsya Purana. Ganesha Purana introduced us to the tale of how Ganesha mounted the rat. It starts with a Gandharva, celestial music god, Krauncha. One day, Krauncha was present at Lord Indra’s court among many sages and Gandharvas. Indra called him to come forward. In a hurry, he accidentally stepped on the foot of sage Vamadeva. Infuriated, Vamadeva cursed him, turning Krauncha into a rodent.

But he became as big as a mountain. He started destroying farms, cattle, everything that came in his way. On his journey of ruin, he ended up on the ashram of Maharishi Parashar, where Lord Ganesha was staying. Ganesha had heard about the giant rat damaging people’s livelihoods. To stop the unhinged mouse, he released his pasha(noose) and looped it around the mouse. That brought the mouse at Ganesha’s feet, at his mercy.

Ganesha said that the mouse deserved severe punishment for the damage it had caused to people. The mouse asked for forgiveness. He said that there wasn’t anything he could do about his size. Thus, Ganesha decided that the mouse would be his vehicle.

When he climbed on the mouse, the mouse couldn’t bear Ganesha’s weight and became smaller. The mouse requested Lord Ganesha to be lightweight so that he could support him. Ganesha agreed to his pleadings. Since then, a mouse became Ganesha’s carrier.

Some legends tell a different tale of Mushaka. There used to be a demon who went by the name of Mushikasura. He had tormented many people. Ganesha wanted to teach him a lesson. So, he challenged him for a dual. Mushikasura, filled with arrogance, agreed to fight. But Ganesha with his wisdom and knowledge won the battle. Mushikasura accepted defeat. He offered to be Ganesha’s vehicle as he wanted to escape retribution.

There is also a belief that Lord Ganesha is present anywhere because his vehicle is a mouse who could slither through holes and find a way even in the darkness.

In ancient times, agriculture was the primary source of income for people. Rodents used to wreck the farms. So it is believed that Ganesha riding a rat is a symbol of him conquering the obstacles which seem to be the most logical reason.

The mouse also represents problems that are being crushed by Lord Ganesha. It shows that any problem can be solved with proper knowledge.

In some texts, Ganesha’s various incarnations are portrayed riding a peacock, lion, and serpent. However, more often than not, he is described as riding a mouse.

The one thing that we can agree on is that this duo of Ganesha and Mushaka has given us loads of entertainment and knowledge from their adventures.

Click here to read the story of Lord Ganesha’s broken tusk.

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