Once upon a time, Sage Narada visited Lord Shiva at Mount Kailash. “Narayana Narayana!” he came in chanting as was his usual style. Lord Shiva welcomed him with a smile. He knew that Narada had come there with a sure purpose. Narada’s visit was never ordinary.
“Come Narada”, welcomed the Lord. “How are things? And what brings you here?”
“Well, I am fine…. Er… I got something special for you and so thought I should give it and go…” said Narada taking out a delicious looking mango. The aroma of the mango wafted throughout Kailash and the moment when Lord Shiva took it from him, the two children of Lord Shiva, Ganesha and Kartikeya came in.
Seeing the mango in the hands of their father Ganesha said, “I want the mango” “No”, said Kartikeya, I already smelt it before you saw it and so it belongs to me”
“No, Me only”
“I saw it first”
“I smelt it first”
“I want it”
“No, I want it”
The children started quarrelling. Narada was watching amused when Shiva offered to cut the mango into half.
“Nay” said Narada, “The fruit should be eaten wholly by one person only and he will become the most intelligent one in the world”
To the children and the Divine couple who looked at him in dismay, he continued, “Why not have a competition? The winner of the competition shall have the fruit”
“Competition? What competition?” chorused Ganesha and Kartikeya. Lord Shiva and Parvati realised that Narada was up to some mischief but they also decided to watch the fun.
“Well” said Narada, “this mango can be had by one who goes around the world three times fastest and comes back”
The very next moment Kartikeya was rushing towards his peacock, the majestic vehicle of his which could carry him at the speed of a whirlwind. Kartikeya was a handsome boy and was slightly proud of himself and his vehicle. After all, his elder brother was short and had a pot belly and could not even run fast! And the vehicle of his brother was Mooshak, a rat which was no comparison to his peacock. Within a second he had mounted the peacock and was off!!
Ganesha pondered for a while. He knew for sure that he could be of no match to his brother’s speed. But then, he had to get the mango. “Hmm” he said to himself. The next minute, his face lit up and he, gathering all his speed, came around his parents and circumambulated (Pradakshinam) them three times.
Looking at Narada, he said, “You told us to go around the world. My parents are my world and so I went around them and my brother has still not returned. So, I should have the mango”
Narada smiled with pride. Here was this boy who had been so intelligent and it was to witness this that Narada had come there.
Lord Shiva, smiling at his son gave him the mango and just then Kartikeya returned panting and puffing. He was furious to see the mango in the hands of Ganesha.
Angry that the mango was given to him, Kartikeya left the place in a huff. Then Shiva and Parvati had to pacify Kartikeya and bring him back and thereafter Kartikeya graciously accepted defeat and bowed to his elder brother.
This story is very small, but it conveys a lot. For one, it conveys that for children, the world is their parents. They look up to them for everything and learn everything from them. But, the deeper meaning is this. Shiva represents matter, and Shakti (Parvathi) represents energy as the name means. The world is full of matter and energy and therefore instead of going around the physical world full of matter and energy, Ganesha chooses to go around his parents who are the embodiment of matter and energy.
This is the story of Ganesha and Kartikeya and the mango.