Friday, September 6, 2013

Why 21 modaks are offered to Ganapati

We well know that modaks are Ganapati’s favourite sweet food. However, few of us know how the modak came to be Lord Ganesha’s favourite food. Even fewer know why specifically 21 modaks are offered during a puja of Lord Ganesha during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

There is an interesting charming story behind this...

Once when Lord Shiva visited Anusuya at her home in the forest, he was seated for a meal next to a young Ganapati. Lord Shiva was very hungry and impatiently awaited Anusuya to serve Him. However, Anusuya said He would have to wait as Bal Ganesha would be served food first and only when his hunger was satiated would she serve Lord Shiva. 

Controlling His impatience, Lord Shiva waited while Anusuya started serving a variety of food to Bal Ganesha. A voracious eater, Ganapati happily ate what was being served to him, but continued to feel hungry serving after serving after serving.…Even his mother Goddess Parvati was astonished at his insatiable hunger! 

Finally, realizing that Lord Shiva would remain hungry if Ganapati did not feel satiated, Anusuya served him a single piece of food which was sweet. Ganapati ate it and gave a loud burp, indicating that, at last, his stomach was full and he was no longer hungry. Astonishingly, at the exact same moment that he gave the burp, so did Lord Shiva – not one burp, but 21 burps! Both Lord Shiva and Ganapati then simultaneously said that they had their fill and did not want any more food to be served.

Goddess Parvati later asked Anusuya what that sweet was and was told that it was a modak. On knowing about it, Goddess Parvati expressed her wish that devotees of Ganapati would always offer the modaks to him & this wish was granted.

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