Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati lived in Kailash with their two children – Ganesha and Kartikeya. One day, they were paid a visit by a sage called Narad, who loved to stir trouble wherever he went. He brought with him a divine mango, which was blessed by the gods themselves and the one who consumed it would get supreme Wisdom & Knowledge. But this fruit could not be cut into pieces and was meant to be consumed by only one person. This put the parents in a huge predicament, as to which of their two beloved sons would eat this divine mango.
Narad then suggested a challenge between Ganesha and Kartikeya, wherein both of them were to go around the world three times, and whoever came first would be awarded this divine mango. Now it was Ganesha turn to get in a fix as he very well knew that he was no match for Kartikeya. Firstly his vehicle was a ‘mouse’ which could never compete in speed with Kartikeya’s vehicle a ‘peacock’. Also unlike the pot-bellied Ganesha, Kartikeya was more active & athletic. While Ganesha was trying to grasp the situation, Kartikey didn’t waste any time on any thought. He sat on his Peacock and started his journey of revolving around the earth and traveling across the mountains, the sea and the rest of the universe.
Ganesha was always known for his quick wit & thinking so instead of racing he asked his parents to sit together. Then he folded his hands and walked around them thrice. When he was done, he asked his parents for the reward. This completely perplexed both Shiva & Parvati. To which our beloved Vignahartha just smiled and replied, that for him his parents are his whole world. Moreover within them is the whole universe. So by circling around them, he has technically circled the whole world, thrice! Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were pleased with the argument that Ganesha had put forth. So Ganesha got the blessings of his parents and won the divine fruit.
The key moral lesson conveyed beautifully through this mythology is respect for one’s parents. The story leaves a strong impression on the mind and reinstates the truth: one’s parents ought to be one’s world. Symbolically this story also has a very strong meaning: That one doesn’t need to go around the world to gain wisdom and understand the truth. One must look within to find the truth. A wandering mind cannot get enlightened but a stable one certainly will!