The king of Yakshas was Kubera. The word ‘kubera’ literally means ‘richness’ in this country. Though he was slightly deformed in his body, Kubera made up for it by wearing extra jewels and kilos of gold and diamonds all over himself. And he wanted to do something similar to Shiva.
He came up with a new jewel every day and said to Shiva, “You must wear this.” Shiva said, “The only thing that I wear is ash. I don’t need any jewellery” — but he would not give up. One day Shiva said, “If you want to really treat somebody, you treat my son.” Shiva had a son who was a little overweight, so he said, “Here is my son. He loves to eat. Take him home and serve him lunch till he is satisfied.” Immediately, the moment there was talk about food, Ganapati got up and said, “Yes. Where? When?” Kubera invited the boy home. Ganapati went.
Kubera was overly proud of his wealth, his palace. Ganapati walked into the palace with his dirty feet leaving footprints on polished marble. Servants were wiping the floor right behind him. But Kubera thought, “After all, he is Shiva’s son, so alright.” Ganpati sat down. They served food, he ate. All the food they had got over, and they cooked again and again.
Then Kubera said, “For a boy of your age, I think you have consumed too much. It could be dangerous.” Ganpati said, “No danger. See, I have a serpent as a belt. Don’t worry about me, I am still hungry. Serve. You promised my father that you will serve me till I am satisfied.” So Kubera sent his men shopping all over the place. All the grocery around was not enough. All of Kubera’s wealth was spent — everything was sold, made into food and served — and still he was eating.
Ganpati’s plate was empty, but he was still looking for dessert. He said, “Where is my kheer, where is my laddoo, where is my rasgulla?” Kubera said, “I made a mistake. In my vanity, I boasted about my wealth. When I know and Shiva knows that everything that I have was given to me by him, like a fool I have been trying to offer him trinkets, thinking that I am his greatest devotee.” So he fell at Ganpati’s feet and begged his pardon. Ganpati left without the dessert.
Today is Ganesh Chaturthi. The incredible thing is for these thousands of years, this day has lived on, and Ganpati has become one of the most popular gods from India. He is the one who assimilated all the knowledge that was in the nation. He grasped and wrote down everything. Even today, if you want to start education for a child, you first call upon Ganpati. He was supposed to be brilliant and a great scholar — and he liked food. Usually, scholars are skinny, but this is a nice, well-fed scholar.
(Ranked amongst the 50 most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and bestselling author. Sadhguru has been conferred the ‘Padma Vibhushan’, India’s highest annual civilian award, by the Government of India in 2017, for exceptional and distinguished service.)