GANESHA’S LESSON - A Story from India
Teaching non-violence, ahimsa

Retold by Sydney Solis

Copyright 2005 All rights Reserved

One day the elephant-headed little boy-god named Ganesha went off to play in the woods of Mount Kailasa where he lived. He was a mischievous little boy and he especially loved to run and play and pretend that he was a warrior.

One day he took out his play bow and arrow.

“What can I hunt?” he thought. He spotted his little white cat and immediately pursued it. He shot his little arrows at the cat, and the cat ran off terrified. But Ganesha thought that the cat was having fun. So Ganesha searched for it and found the little cat, shaking in fear behind a tree.

“A ha! I found you,” he cried, and again shot arrows at the cat. But the little cat, still terrified, ran off. Once again Ganesha found the cat under a log and this time he pounced on the cat, rubbed its little body into the dirt, then threw it up in the air. But the cat ran off and Ganesha couldn’t find it again.

“Well,” Ganesha said. “This is no fun.” And he went back home.

When he got there he saw his mother, the Goddess Parvati. He stopped in his tracks when he saw that she had mud stains on her face and hands and scratches on her arms.

“Mother, what happened to you?” he asked.

Parvati looked at herself and said, “I don’t know. Did you do this to me?”

“ME?” Ganesha exclaimed. “Why NO!” But just then, he looked down at his feet and said, “Oh, but you know what? I was rather rough with our cat today.”

“Oh,” his mother said, gathering him up in her arms. “Now I understand. You know, Ganesha, I am this whole world. My body is this whole earth. Anytime you do anything to it, you hurt me. You see I was that little cat, too. So anything you did to it, you did to me.
”Oh, I understand now. My actions really do matter. I am so sorry mother. I won’t do it again.

“It’s impossible not to do any harm to everything, but we can be very aware of our actions, so that we do as little harm as possible.”

Ganesha thanked his mother for his lesson and went off to play again with the little cat, but without his bow and arrows.

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