Ganapathi Outsmarts Ravana

Ganapathi is well known for his cleverness. At the Gokarna Mahabaleshwar temple, there is an idol of Ganapathi with a dent in his head, courtesy Ravana, who wasn’t very appreciative of Ganapathi’s intelligence on one occasion. Sadhguru tells us the story of this encounter.

Sadhguru: Ravana was a great devotee of Shiva and he worshipped Shiva from down South where his kingdom was. But after sometime he thought, “Why don’t I bring Kailash closer to my home.” So he walked all the way from Sri Lanka to Kailash and started lifting Mount Kailash. This made Parvathi very angry and she told Shiva, “It does not matter how dear he is to you, you cannot allow him to take Kailash to the South.” Shiva was also angered by Ravana’s egoistic nature and so, he pressed the mountain down trapping Ravana’s hands beneath Kailash. Ravana struggled in pain but Shiva refused to release him.

Ravana did a very powerful sadhana and received a powerful Jyotirlinga from Shiva himself.

So, Ravana with his hand stuck beneath Kailash, started pouring out his love for Shiva in various beautiful hymns. After he had formed 1001 hymns of utter love and surrender, Shiva released him and said, “You can have a boon. Ask me what you want.” Once again Ravana’s nature manifested itself and he said, “I want to marry Parvathi.” Shiva said “Ok.  She is at Manasarovar Lake. You can go and marry her.” All the ganas who were around Shiva got excited and wondered, “How can it be? How can Ravana ever touch Parvathi? This is not possible.” They all ran to Parvathi at Manasarovar Lake and told her, “Ravana is coming. Shiva has given him permission to marry you.”

Parvathi called Manduka, the queen of the frogs, and converted this frog into a beautiful woman. Ravana had never set eyes on Parvathi and when he came and saw the woman Manduka, he was so attracted to her, he married her. That woman was Mandodhari.

After this, Ravana did a very powerful sadhana and received a powerful Jyotirlinga from Shiva himself. Shiva does not care whether something is socially approved of or not. He falls in love with anything that happens genuinely. Shiva told Ravana to carry the Jyotirlinga to his land and that wherever Ravana placed the Jyotirlinga, it would remain forever. The one condition was that Ravana could not keep the Jyotirlinga down anywhere else because wherever he put it, it would get established there.

Gokarna Temple

Very carefully, Ravana carried the Jyotirlinga with great strength. The man was such a yogi that he held every aspect – he did not eat, he did not urinate, he did nothing that is compulsive for every human being and just walked down almost 3000 kilometers from Kailash to a place called Gokarna in Karnataka. Because he walked without anything that a human being normally needs, he was feeling weak and he wanted to pee. Maybe he was drinking water because he was not having any food. His bladder must have been a thousand gallons by then and he could not hold it anymore! But he could not keep the linga down and he would not relieve himself – something that he considers a very base act – with the linga on his body.

Then he saw a very cute and innocent looking cowherd boy. The boy looked dull enough. If you give someone who is smart something very precious, they may run away. The boy looked dumb enough, so Ravana said, “I will give you a jewel if you hold this in your hand for a few minutes while I relieve myself. But don’t put it down.” The boy said, “Fine” and Ravana gave the linga to the cowherd and turned around to urinate. This boy was actually Ganapathi who did not want Ravana to take the linga to Lanka because if he did, he would become absolutely superhuman. So Ganapathi just kept the linga down and it sank into the earth. Even today if you go to Gokarna, there is just a small hole in the rock through which you have to put your finger and feel the linga because it has gone in.

Gokarna Ganapathi

Ravana got so angry that he knocked the boy on the head and that is why you will also find a Ganapathi statue with a depression in his skull at Gokarna. Ravana did not have the strength to walk back to Kailash and do his work again and so in great dejection and anger he walked on to Sri Lanka.

Irrespective of whether you are good or bad, if you are willing, divinity is always available to everyone. But whether you make it a curse or a boon for yourself is left to what kind of nature you carry within yourself. What kind of attitude and mind you cultivate within yourself determines how you make use of the existence.

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POSTED IN:Yoga & Meditation, History of Yoga
TAGS: Sadhana, Shiva
  • Aman

    Sadhuru – Please accept my whole hearted bow!!

    Now 1 question.. Why did Ravana went to Gokarna, Karnataka which is not the shortest route from Kailash to Srilanka ? It’s literally opposite coast/route one anybody would take to reach to Srilanka .. ignoring the current roads/highways as well, it’s too west for the Srikanka.

    What do you say?

    • average guy

      also lots of forests i guess

  • shreyas

    To the editor,

    That photo mentioned as Gokarna temple is false. That is the Patan Durbar in NEPAL.

    • Isha Blog Moderator

      Thanks Shreyas for pointing this. Replaced the picture. Please check. Pranam.

  • Ceekaykay

    Lord Ganesha outsmarts one Ravana
    But please tells us dear Sadhguru
    With a million Ravana’s within us
    How do we common folks our sins undo ?

  • sachin

    Beautiful story.. would just like to add one funny version that I have heard..
    While the raavana has this arrangement with the cowherd boy, the boy told him that in case its getting late he would call raavana name 3 times and if he still doesn’t comes back then he will leave the linga there…during the same time god varuna entered raavan’s belly, and so he couldnot finish to pee for hrs..
    Finally as it was getting late, the boy called raavana’s name 3 times, and when he did not come back, he left the linga on the ground… :P

  • KannanR
  • Gautam

    hi,guys don’t get bothered about picture or route try to understand SadhGuru’s point, Namaskar

  • Karthik

    Pranaam to Sadhguru : I have also heard that Sage Agastiyar made a deal with Ravana, after winning a veena musical challenge against him, that Ravana should not set foot in some parts of southern India, that were under his influence.

  • Hemanth Hegde

    he wanted to keep the Linga aside not because he wanted to pee but it was time for sunset..and in Brahmin community usually during the Sunset they are supposed to do some rituals it is called SandhyaVandhane..a ritual to thank the Sun God. After which it was Ganapathi who came in the form of a Brahmin boy..not as a Cowheard. and then the story follows

  • tejas arora

    I though this place is in Bihar, at the Jyotirlinga there, there is pond which is apparently said to be the place where Ravana was peeing and the crushed linga which shows that after Ravana got angry he crushed the linga and it shows his feets mark also. please confirm which one is true.

    • ritesh gupta

      now it is in jharkhand its baidyanath dham one of jyotirlingam in 12 jyotirlingam

      • N.Goswami

        Yeah, I have heard the same. I thought that it was Baidyanath Jyotirlanga. Kindly confirm the truth.

  • ritesh gupta

    namaste sadguru i have read this story . it is correct but the place is mention here is not gokarna.its baba baidyanath temple deoghar jharkhand its also comes one of jyotirlingam in twelve.

  • Ichhit Amin

    Some parts of story is not correct..

  • Shrinivas

    This place gokarna is very near to me …. I have heard story since childhood… I had been to that place before going isha also … But at that time it was just like any other temple . but I had visited it again after samyama … It blew me up and took it different state itself… Its atma linga or anahata linga … Its very powerful .what ever the story may be … For seekers its very supportive … There 5 other temples … They say when ravana tried it up it from earth it came in 5 different forms … And he threw in 5 directions … This story may not be true …but its fact that lingas r Shiva himself the ulimate dimension ….

  • Ram Rajeshwaran

    Thank you

  • Sukanta Nanda

    I would take the story as just a story that has been created around some observable uncommonness ( Like a dent on Lord Ganesh’s head). It is told to highlight divine qualities, human frailties, demonic characteristics and mostly victory of good over evil. The artist who created the Ganapati sculpture is long gone, leaving the folklore to color the story with storyteller’s imagination. No point point in asserting any truth value. Just skim the essence.

  • Bhaya

    How can he walk back to his island Sri Lanka ? There is Indian ocean he has to cross to reach his island.
    We all know in Ramayana epic, Ravana used the flying chariot to abduct Sita. There is no need to walk for him from Lanka to Kailash and back when he can fly.