Ganesha and Kartikeya

“So, children’s stories…basically, a lot of them had to do with Lord Krishna, who is another god that we have. And basically his story is, you know, saving the village he lives in and like his relationship with his wife-to-be, uh, Sita, uh, sorry, Rada, and uh, yeah…actually, you know, the funny thing is, Krishna was very much involved in the story of Mahabharat. So that’s how the various folklore stories intertwine. And a couple of other stories that I know, are based around Lord Ganesha, who I’d say is the most popular god in India – I don’t know why, he’s just very appealing to everybody. Probably because we have a lot of festivals in his name and people have fun at festivals, but, there are stories about how he and his brother Kartikeya travel around the world – do you want me to tell the story? Ok, so the story goes like this: Ganesha’s brother’s name is Kartikeya, or something. And his mother told them that the first person to, uh, go around the world would win a present from me, you know? Like, both of them got really excited and like Kartikeya started running immediately, and he, like, started running around the world, and he was almost there. But, the whole time Ganesha was like, eating food, just chilling, and then just when Kartikeya was about to come back from around the world, Ganesha gets up and like, walks around his mother and says, ‘Done. I went around my world.’ And then Kartikeya arrives and Kartikeya is very excited because he thinks that he has went around the world. But their mother, uh, accepts Ganesha’s act, because technically, Ganesha was right, and Ganesha gets the reward. It’s basically – every story like this has something didactic in it, you know? It teaches you some sort of lesson. It usually revolves around respecting your elders, or not doing anything bad, like killing anybody or creature, and things like that basically.”

This is a story that my informant learned from his parents, but the interesting thing that I found was in the lesson that the story teaches: It teaches children to value all life, even the lives of the animals that most Americans believe to be worthless, like wild creatures. This is something that strikes home for me as I am of the mindset that every creature deserves a chance at life and that no one being is greater than another. Therefore, my informant’s story resonated with me very deeply!