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Why does Ganesha like Modaka?

According to our Puranas and traditions, Lord Ganesha is often depicted as having a fo

ndness for modakas (also known as modaks), which are sweet dumplings or pastries made from rice flour, jaggery (a type of sweetener), coconut, and other ingredients. There are a few stories and interpretations that explain why Ganesha is associated with a liking for modakas:

One is a folktale that starts with Lord Ganesha’s maternal grandmother, Queen Mainavati. In her love for her grandson, she would tirelessly make laddoos to feed Ganesh’s growing appetite. This was unsustainable, and as he grew older and bigger, the Queen realised it was impossible to prepare laddoos as quickly as Ganpati could gobble them down. She thought of an alternative – Modaks. Requiring less time to make, she could satisfy Lord Ganesha, who gleefully ate them.

One legend explains why twenty-one Modaks are offered during Ganesh Chaturthi. One day, Devi Anusuya called Lord Shiva, Parvati, and Ganesha for a meal, stating that the others would only be fed once baby Ganesha was content and full. However, Ganesha simply kept asking for more food! At the end of his meal, he was given a single sweet, the Modak. Interestingly, something happened after he swallowed it. Ganesha released a loud burp, a sign of satisfaction. Interestingly, as Ganesh burped, so did Lord Shiva; twenty-one times in fact. Parvati, stunned and curious as to what she had witnessed, asked Devi Anusuya for the recipe of the seemingly magical sweet. Upon learning what a Modak is, Parvati requested that all her son’s devotees offer exactly twenty-one Modaks to him, one for each burp Lord Shiva gave out.

  1. Symbolic Offering: Modakas are believed to be a symbol of wisdom, knowledge, and the sweetness of life. By offering modakas to Ganesha, devotees are symbolically offering their devotion and seeking his blessings for wisdom and success in their endeavors.

  2. Ganesha's Appetite: In some Puranic references, Ganesha is described as having a hearty appetite. It is said that he once consumed a large quantity of modakas, which led to his belly expanding. When he consumed so many that his belly couldn't hold them, Ganesha tied a snake around his belly to prevent it from bursting.

  3. Mother Parvati's Gift: According to one popular legend, Ganesha's mother, Goddess Parvati, created modakas with her own hands and gave them to Ganesha as a reward for guarding her privacy while she was taking a bath. Pleased with his devotion and loyalty, Parvati granted him the privilege of being worshiped first before any other deity.

  4. Symbolism of the Modaka: The shape of the modaka is often said to resemble Ganesha's head, and its taste is associated with his preference. The sweet filling inside represents the sweetness of spiritual knowledge, and Ganesha's inclination towards modakas signifies his choice of the highest form of wisdom.

  5. Cultural Traditions: Over time, modakas have become a traditional offering and delicacy associated with Ganesha Chaturthi, a major Hindu festival celebrating Ganesha's birth. During this festival, people prepare and offer modakas to Ganesha as a symbol of their love and devotion.

Overall, the liking of Lord Ganesha for modakas is deeply rooted in symbolism, mythology, and cultural practices. It's a way for devotees to express their reverence and seek blessings for wisdom, success, and a sweet life.

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