Young World

Race around the world

Illustration: Satheesh Vellinezhi   | Photo Credit: Satheesh vellinezhi

In the last column, we read about Ganesha and his endearing ways. This story is also about him; a charming tale of sibling rivalry with his brother Kartikeya. One day, sage Narada visited Shiva on Mount Kailash and gave him a mango. Now this was not an ordinary mango but a special one given to him by Lord Brahma. The one who ate it would gain knowledge and wisdom. Now Lord Shiva was in a predicament. Which of his two sons should he give the mango to? After consulting with Parvati, he decided to hold a competition between the two boys and make the mango the prize.


Both boys were eager to win the mango. The terms were that whoever circled the world thrice would win. This put Ganesha in a quandary as he was a plump boy and his vehicle was a mouse. How was he going to win over the faster peacock, his brother Kartikeya’s vehicle? Besides, his brother was known for his active go-getting ways.

Kartikeya didn’t waste any time on thought. He jumped on to his peacock and zoomed off before anyone could even blink. But, at certain points, he thought he saw his brother’s rotund figure ahead of him. But it was too fleeting a glimpse for him to be sure so he continued on his way.

In the meantime, back on Mount Kailash, Ganesha called his parents and asked them to sit together. Then he folded his hands and walked around them thrice.

“Now give me the mango,” he said.

Shiva and Parvati looked at him in surprise. “Give you the mango?” they asked. “But you haven’t fulfilled the terms of the competition.”

Ganesha’s eyes twinkled, as he replied, “As my parents, you are the world to me; so when I went around you thrice, it was equal to going round the world.” Pleased with his wit, Shiva and Parvati handed over the mango.

What do you think Kartikeya did when he came back? Well, according to one version, he accepted that his brother was smarter than him and deserved to win the prize. Another story is that he flew into a temper and came down to earth where he sat and meditated on the Palani hills, in South India.

An upset Ganesha, who did not think things would go so far, pacified him and took him back to Mount Kailash. A temple on Palani Hills is dedicated to Kartikeya.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 8:40:31 PM |

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