This story is from Mudgala Purana, Ekadanta khanda.
It was time for creation.
Brahma was sitting on the lotus that came out from the navel of Sri Hari.
With the permission of Sri Hari, Brahma started meditating.
His body heated up and water (sweat) started pouring out.
Soon, that water filled all around.
Brahma didn’t know what to do.
How to create the world out of this water?
Brahma got out of the lotus and moved about in the water.
He saw a banyan tree.
It was the Akshaya Vata which doesn’t get destroyed even at the time of pralaya.
On one of its leaves, was lying a small child the size of a thumb.
Brahma looked closely.
The child had four hands and the head of an elephant.
He playfully sprayed water upon Brahma with his trunk.
Brahma realized it was none other than Sri Mahaganapathy.
Brahma sang a stuti and praised him.
Ganesha became pleased and asked Brahma why there was worry on his face.
Brahma said: it is just water all around. I don’t know how to create the world out of this.
Ganesha grabbed Brahma with his trunk and swallowed him.
Brahma could see millions of universes inside Ganesha’s belly.
He then came out through one of Ganesha’s hair follicles and stood with folded hands.
Ganesha said: your confusion is because you didn’t remember as soon as you sat on that lotus to create the world. Now, I am pleased with you. Go back and sit on that lotus. Start creating. Everything will happen smoothly now.
Brahma went back and started creation again.
This time, he was successful and our world came into existence thus.
Ganesha removes obstacles and gives success. He also gives intelligence and discretion. Mudgala Purana depicts Ganesha as Paramatma.
The idol of Ganesha worshiped during Ganesh Chaturthi is temporary. It is made of clay. After the puja, it is immersed in water so that it does not become impure.
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