“Once upon a time, Lord Parameswara wanted to teach a lesson to His son Lord
Subrahmanya who fancied Himself to be a great sage; so Parameswara sat on the top of Mount Kailasa with Parvati,with a fruit in His hand.
Seeing the fruit both Ganapati and Subrahmanya asked their father, Parameswara for it. Then Ishwara said that He would give the fruit to whoever of them got back first after going round the whole world.
With selfconfidence and pride that he would win the race, Subrahmanya started immediately riding on his favourite mount, the peacock,and began going at a fast pace, frequently looking behind to assure himself that his elder brother Ganapati was not following.
What could poor Ganapati do, with his huge belly? His vahanam (mount) was after all a mouse. So he thought it was no good competing with Subrahmanya in the race round the world, and went round Parvati and Parameswara, bowed before them and claimed the reward.
When They asked him whether he had gone round the world, he said, “All the worlds are contained within you; so if I go round you, it is as good as going round the whole world.” Pleased with his reply, Parameswara gave him the fruit and Ganapati sat there eating it.
“In full confidence that he would be the winner,Subrahmanya finished going round the world and arrived at the starting point, but found Ganapati seated before Parvati
and Parameswara eating the fruit.
When he asked Parameswara to give him the fruit for winning the race, Ishwara said, ‘There it is, your elder brother is eating it.’ When he asked his father how that could be fair, Ishwara explained to him all that had happened.
Subrahmanya then realised his vanity in thinking that he was a great sage, bowed before his parents, and asked to be pardoned. That is the story. The significance is that the ego which goes round like a whirlwind must get destroyed, and must get absorbed in Atma. That is Atma Pradakshina,” said Bhagavan.
Source: Letters from Sri Ramanasramam VOLUMES I, II & Letters from and Recollections of Sri Ramanasramam By SURI NAGAMMA Translated by D. S. SASTRI