Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati had two sons, Lord Ganesha and Lord Karthikeya (Murugan). While both were very loved, the gods were puzzled over who was smarter. They went out to Bhrama, the creator of the Universe to get an answer, but since Bhrama was just a creator of the Universe, not the divine so he appeared just as perplexed. However, he directed the gods to his son the mischief-maker Narada who could help them with an answer. Approached by the gods, the curious Narada decided to pay a visit to the Himalayas to meet the godly couple. There he presented the couple with a golden mango that was the sweetest of its kind. However he told them that it cannot be shared and should be eaten in whole by just one person. Confused, both parents decided to let their children have the fruit instead. But since only one could have it, and both boys liked the fruit, a fight was bound to erupt. Realizing Narada’s mischief Shiva asked the mischief-maker to come out with a solution. Narada told the brothers to take three trips around the world, he who comes in first will get the mango. The lean Karthika, who rode the Peacock was filled with glee. Not only was he physically better built than his fat brother, his wahan, the peacock was any day faster than his brother’s mouse! Ganesha too knew of his handicap. Instead he starting going around his parents as swiftly as he could. When Karthika returned, he saw Ganesha holding the mango, and he was visibly annoyed. He mother reasoned what Ganesha had done saying that his parents mean the world to him. Being the elder brother, Ganesha offered the fruit to his upset brother, making him not just shrewder but also more benevolent of the two.
About the picture: I got this idol as a wedding gift from my librarian, who brought it for me all the way from Mathura. The idol of Shiva and Parvati with Ganesha on their lap, sits proudly in the temple at my house. I share a special bond with Komal Ma’am, she was the first person to not just recommend books to me, but also get my feedback after I returned it to her in due course. How I miss my fun-filled college days!