Narada was a young musician who played for Lord Vishnu. He was very proud, but not very good-looking. He wanted a wife but was afraid no woman would accept him. He decided to ask Lord Vishnu, who was the most beautiful of all the gods, if he could borrow his face. Lord Vishnu said, ‘No, this is not possible.’ But Narada persisted, ‘Just for one day’, he begged. Lord Vishnu relented, ‘If you go to the river and wash your face, you will have my face, but I warn you, do not look at yourself.’ Narada did as he was told, washed his face in the river, and went to where the women were. When they saw him, they all laughed and made fun of him. Narada didn’t know what happened. But then he looked at his face in the river and saw it was a Monkey’s face. Embarrassed and angry, Narada went to Lord Vishnu and demanded, ‘Why have you done this?’ Lord Vishnu answered, ‘Your monkey face will become your strength.’ Narada then became known as Hanuman and today we worship him for his strength that comes from his celibacy.
Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva, the destroyer, became lonely when her husband was away, so she decided to make a child from clay to keep her company. When she breathed on the clay, it came to life as a young boy, who she named Ganesha. One of Ganesha’s tasks was to guard their house while she would leave to bathe. On one such occasion, Lord Shiva appeared. Of course, he didn’t recognize his son, so they fought. Lord Shiva cut off his son’s head. When Parvati came back, she cried out in grief, ‘what have you done? You have killed your own son!’ Lord Shiva became sad and immediately set out to rectify the situation. He told his men and gods, ‘Go out and find the first head facing north.’ They found an elephant’s head, which Lord Shiva attached to his son’s body. Today Ganesha’s elephant head is revered as the ultimate reality of our soul. We worship Ganesha as the destroyer of evil and the embodiment of wisdom."