Why Ganesha Is Called 'Ekadanta'

By: Sharon Thomas

Lord Ganesha, abound in wisdom and intellect, is referred to by 108 different names in the Hindu mythology. Some of the names include Vinayak, Ganapathi, Haridra, Kapila, Gajanana and many others. Ekadanta is one among them.

The name is derived from the age-old Sanskrit language. You might get alarmed to think that he has only one tooth or rather say one tusk. Yes, the word 'ekadanta' translates as 'one toothed'. Eka stands for 'one and 'danta' means 'tooth/tusk'. Most people don't even know about this fact. The aura that surrounds Lord Ganesha forbids anyone from taking note of his tooth.

why ganesha is called ekadanta

Here, the question arises. How did Lord Ganesha become one toothed? He was not created by Goddess Parvati this way. There are various legends in connection with how Lord Ganesha broke one of his teeth. Three of them are discussed here.

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why ganesha is called ekadanta

Legend #1

It is said that the Gods wanted Sage Vyas to write the epic called 'Mahabharata' and the most knowledgeable person in the world was needed for this task. Lord Brahma asked the sage to visit Lord Shiva in order to get permission to allow Ganesha to take up the task of writing the epic while the sage recited it.

Lord Ganesha agreed but there was a deal between the two - the sage will have to recite the great epic in one go without a pause, else Lord Ganesha will abandon the task. The sage agreed and in return said that the Lord will have to understand every hymn before penning it down.

Ganesha was so abundant in knowledge that he wrote the hymns even before the sage thought of the next. The task was so enormous that the pen used for writing began to wear out. In the place of a pen, Lord Ganesha pulled out one of his tusks to finish working on the epic.

why ganesha is called ekadanta

Legend #2

Once, Lord Vishnu took the form of Parashurama to wage war against the Kshatriyas who were blinded by arrogance. He had used the axe, Parashu, given by Lord Shiva to him for this sake. He came out victorious and had come to visit Lord Shiva.

On his visit, he was stopped at the entrance of Mount Kailash by Ganesha. He did not allow Parashurama to enter as Shiva had been meditating. In a fit of rage, Parashurama, who is known for his anger, struck Ganesha with the powerful axe. It directly hit the tusk which broke and fell to the ground.

Ganesha tried defending himself but on recognising his father's axe, he received the blow instead. Parashurama, later on, realised his mistake and asked for forgiveness and blessings from Lord Ganesha.

why ganesha is called ekadanta

Legend #3

This legend has the moon (Chandra) involved. Lord Ganesha is known for his healthy appetite. One night, he was on his way back home on his vahana - the mouse - after attending a feast. All of a sudden, a snake zipped past the mouse. The mouse ran for his life throwing Ganesha to the ground.

It is said that in this fall, his belly opened up and all the sweets he had eaten came out. Lord Ganesha put them back in and tied his belly with the snake. Moon was a witness to all this and he could not stop laughing.

So, Ganesha hurled one of his tusks at the moon and cursed that he would not shine again. The dismayed Gods asked Ganesha to forgive Chandra for his fault. Lord Ganesha softened his curse. This is why it is said that one must not look up at the moon on the night of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Ekadanta is the 22nd form of Lord Ganesha, of his 32 forms. This avatar was taken by him to destroy Madasura, the demon of arrogance. It is believed that success is assured when a person worships the Ekadanta form of Ganesha and that he is always willing to sacrifice anything for the sake of his devotees.

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