Mahotkata Vinayaka is one of the popular forms of Lord Ganesha
. The Hindu god, also known as Vinayaka, is depicted with illumining red complexion and ten arms in this incarnation. He was born as the son of Sage Kashyapa
in the Treta Yuga
. Mahotkata Vinayaka is also referred to as Kasyapah, the successor of Kashyapa. Lord Ganesha
adopted this form to eradicate the demonic brothers Narantaka
and Devantaka. He also killed the demon Dhumraksha
. His vahana is mentioned as either lion or an elephant
in various sources.
Legend related to Mahotkata Vinayaka
Once there was a beautiful and chaste girl named Sarala who was married with Rudraketu, a Brahmin. The couple lived in the forest and lived a noble life. They had two sons, namely Narantaka and Devantaka. The 2 sons of Rudraketu and Sarala were educated by sage Rudraketu, who taught them the divine knowledge. After the brothers became adults they performed intense meditation (tapas) on Lord Shiva
. The Lord became pleased with their devotion and blessed them with boons. Narantaka and Devantaka wished to become invincible and Shiva granted them the desired boon. Later Devantaka seized heaven and conquered the gods and Narantaka ruled over the earth and the Nether world. Eventually the demonic brother began to torturing the people on earth and the gods in heaven.
Meanwhile, Aditi prayed to Sage Kashyapa to have a son like the eternal Brahman who was the supreme soul and the god of all gods. She already had all the gods as her sons. She followed the advice of Kashyapa and performed tapas and deep meditation in the forest for over one hundred years. Then Lord Ganesha appeared before Aditi. He had ten hands, holding a parasu and a lotus and was adorned with beautiful garments. The Lord had a snake tied around his belly and was ornamented with jewellery and garlands.
Aditi became terrified after seeing the deity and closed her eyes. Ganesha declared that He was the eternal Brahman to whom she prayed and He was much pleased with her devotion. Aditi then wished to have a son like Him who would destroy the demons and save the noble souls. The elephant-headed Lord said that He will be born as the son of Aditi and eliminate all evil. In the meantime, the demonic brothers Narantaka and Devantaka ruled over heaven and earth and unleashed untold miseries on the gods and people. All the gods, demi-gods and people prayed and worshipped Lord Ganesha for protection. Then the eternal Brahman declared that Ganesha will be born in the house of Kasyapa and eliminate the demons and rescue all of them.
Eventually Aditi conceived and gave birth to the Mahotkata Vinayaka form of the Lord. The noble child was born with the face of an elephant and a single tuck. He had ten arms and his forehead was covered with kasturi. Ganesha announced that he was pleased with Aditi and hence became his son. All the sages on earth came to the house of Kashyapa and worshipped the child.
Narantaka and Devantaka knew about the birth of the divine child who would destroy them. The brothers then deputed a female demon named Viraja to kill the child. She attacked Mahotkata Vinayaka but was killed by the elephant-headed god. The demons became terrified by the death of the powerful Viraja. Later the evil brothers sent the asuras Uddhata and Dhundhura to annihilate the noble child. The demons disguised themselves as parrots and went to the house of Kashyapa. Aditi was feeding Vinayaka when the birds appeared. The child immediately caught the parrots by the neck and killed them. Then the asuras or demons took their actual forms. All the sages present there were surprised. Then sage Kashyapa realized that the eternal Brahman was born as his son.
After Mahotkata Vinayaka became 5 years old, the Yajnopavita ceremony was organized. Several Brahmins were invited to attend the ceremony and bless the child. Some of the demons took the form of priests (Brahmanas) and went to the house of Kashyapa. The demons concealed weapons in the kamandalus and attacked Vinayaka while the ritual was being performed. Lord Ganesha took some rice in his hand and threw at the demons who were killed immediately. The Yajnopavita ceremony was then conducted peacefully with Vedic hymns. The gods and deities offered several presents to the noble child and blessed Him.
Sage Kashyapa was the priest of the king of Kasi
. The ruler once went to the ashrama of Kashyapa and requested him to come to Kasi and perform the marriage ceremony of the King`s son. Kashyapa was already engaged in performing an important ritual, thus he requested Mahotkata Vinayaka to go to Kasi and perform the marriage ceremony. The Lord started his journey from the ashrama with the King and his army. The royal chariot came to a forest where Dhumraksa (brother of Rudraketu) and the uncle of Narantaka were engaged in meditation. Dhumraksa prayed to Lord Surya
(Sun God) to acquire powerful weapons to conquer all the lokas. Lord Surya was pleased with his tapas and bestowed the demon with a glittering weapon. Mahotkata Vinayaka instantly jumped on it and seized the divine weapon. The Lord then fought with Dhumraksa and killed him. The king was much surprised with skills of the deity.
The sons of Dhumraksa, named Jrmbha and Manu became infuriated at the death of their father. They attacked Mahotkata Vinayaka and after a fierce battle, the Lord killed them as well.
Jrmbha and Manu, the two sons of Dhumraksa were enraged at the killing their father and tried to kill Mahotkata Vinayaka, who in turn killed both of them. The wife of Dhumraksa went to Kasi to avenge the death of her husband and children. She went to the Lord and worshipped Him. She offered the Lord a bottle of body oil and just as the deity took the bottle, it burst into flames. Vinayaka
threw the bottle on the ground and then threw a coconut at the head of the female demon. She instantly died and fell down on the ground.
After Lord Mahotkata Vinayaka reached the kingdom of Kasi, He killed several other demonic creatures and finally annihilated the demons Narantaka and Devantaka.