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Hindu God Ganesha’s Broken Tusk – What’s it All About?

English: Dagdusheth Ganpati 2005

English: Dagdusheth Ganpati 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Article by Chris T.

There are 3 varying possibilities why Hindu God Ganesha has a broken tooth. If laptops had existed way back when the sacred Hindu epic poem, Mahabharata was written, Ganesha might never had attained a broken tusk.

How so? Sage Vyasa, the author of the epic, needed an assistant who would inscribe his work, someone gifted with an agile mind and nimble hand to cope with the torrent of words that poured out of him. Who better than Ganesha, the god with the smarts?

Sure thing, said Ganesha, but, 1 condition. I get bored very easily. I’ll do it provided you recite everything in one go. Vyasa, taken aback at the youthful scribe’s audacity, agreed, but threw in his own rider.

Fine, I can do that, but on one condition. You can not just write stuff down blindly. You must comprehend everything I say in its entirety before penning it down.

Vyasa thought he could spout something frightfully difficult, then sit back and relax while Ganesha pondered on the verse. Else how could an ancient like him retain his image before Ganesha? The recitation began and Ganesha‘s hand became a blur as it whizzed across the pages.

No ordinary feather pen could sustain that speed. The one in Ganesha‘s hand broke. Could Ganesha live up to his own words? Without pause, Ganesha broke off one tooth and continued to use it as a pen, until the transcription came to an end.

According to the second story, ever the dutiful son, Ganesha took his title as chief (Ganapati) of Shiva’s army seriously. One day, his father was asleep, when a visitor arrived – Parashurama, reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver of Life. Ganesha politely refused to let him in. When Parashurama’s entreaties fell on deaf ears, the great warrior was furious, and lunged at Ganesha.

Ganesha‘s sharp eye fell upon the axe in Parashurama’s hand. Hey, that is father’s axe! he thought. He must have presented it to this person. This means I can’t possibly battle him – he must be dad’s friend! Turning his face respectfully, Ganesha took the blow on his tusk – and that’s how it broke off!

Yet another Ganesh legend suggests an alternate story as to why Ganesha has a broken tusk. One moonlit night, after stuffing himself silly with sweets from his devotees, Ganesha went for a ride in the skies, mounted on his mouse. A snake appeared out of nowhere, causing the mouse to jump in fright. Ganesha fell off on his huge belly. Ganesha picked up the snake and tied it around his belly – a makeshift bandage, if you will.

The Moon, an amused spectator to the chubby child’s antics, broke into giggles. Ganesha was angry. So you think I’m funny, huh? Just you wait. I’ll fix that arrogant grin, says Ganesha. Ganesh snapped off a tusk and threw it at the moon, whose gleaming face was split into two. For good measure, he cursed it as a source of bad luck to anyone gazing upon it. The Moon, realizing the folly of its ways, pleaded for mercy.

Divine curses, though, can’t be revoked – they can only be altered, somewhat. Ganesha, who was really quite a softie, relented. Oh, OK, you’re spared. But you’ll wax and wane every fifteen days. And folks who look at you on my birthday will have a hard time. Now you know why a full moon is so short-lived. And don’t ever forget to keep your gaze away from it on Ganesh Chaturthi (a festival that marks the birth of Ganesha)!

About the Author

Chip is a designer and writer and his work can be found on Ganesh Statues Site. You can read more articles on Ganesha at Ganesh Blog. Visit Hindu God Ganpati’s Broken Tusk – What’s it All About?.

Use and distribution of this article is subject to our Publisher Guidelines
whereby the original author’s information and copyright must be included.

Chip is a designer and writer and his work can be found on Ganesh Statues Site. You can read more articles on Ganesha at Ganesh Blog. Visit Hindu God Ganpati’s Broken Tusk – What’s it All About?.

Use and distribution of this article is subject to our Publisher Guidelines
whereby the original author’s information and copyright must be included.

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