The Broken Tusk
'Ekdanta', one of Lord Ganesha's many names, literally means, 'single-tusked' Lord. The name 'Ekdanta' originated from a legend. A legend of how the broken tusk made Lord Ganesha more admirable.
Milleniums ago, sage Maharshi Ved Vyaas devoted himself to compose the epic of 'Mahabharata'. But quite before starting this historical piece of work, he knew it was going to be the longest epic that the humankind will ever see. To accomplish this mammoth of a task he realised he would require a great deal of assistance. Thus, after seeking advice from Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, he approached Lord Ganesha for help.
Ved Vyaas, was confident that Lord Ganesha, the Master of 14 Vidyas (techniques) and 64 Kalas (Arts) was capable of doing anything and probably everything. Hence, Ved Vyaas requested Lord Ganesha to undertake the task of intense writing while he would dictate his composition.
On learning about the task and the role, Lord Ganesha agreed to help but put forth a tricky condition. Lord Ganesha asked Ved Vyaas to dictate all the verses unfalteringly. He also mentioned that if he stopped or paused while articulating the epic then He would quit writing it without any hesitation.
Ved Vyaas had to fulfill a challenging condition but he, too, was a sharp-witted sage. He humbly accepted Lord Ganesha's condition and cleverly put forth his own. He was well aware of Ganesha's quick and clever writing skills, therefore, he demanded that Lord Ganesha must first understand every verse before penning it down. Needless to say, this would give Ved Vyaas some time to articulate the verses.
Soon after Lord Ganesha accepted Ved Vyaas' condition, they began working on 'Mahabharata', the longest epic ever. While Lord Ganesha wrote at full tilt, Ved Vyaas on the other hand, would delibrately use more abstruse words to keep Lord Ganesha absorbed in the complexity of its meaning. Upto some extent, Ved Vyaas' idea seemed to work. It curtailed Lord Ganesha's writing speed and offered him quite some time to compose his next verses.
As time progressed, the continuity of strenuous writing activity had taken its toll on Lord Ganesha's quill. Also, at this point Lord Ganesha was almost writing at the speed of Ved's thoughts. Eventually, the quill-pen broke and could not be used any further. Lord Ganesha looked for other writing materials around him but couldn't find any. To catch up with the dictation, Ganesha, also known as the Lord of Wisdom, pulled out His left tusk in one bone crunching blow and used it as a pen.
This extraordinary gesture by the Lord of Wisdom sets an example of pure dedication, devotion and perseverance.
It is in this spirit that devotees call Him, 'Ekdanta', the Lord with the Single Tusk.