MAY LOAD GANESHA BLESS YOU & YOUR FAMILY.
Happy Ganesh Chathurthi
Look at His eyes for few seconds & Pray
SHUKLAM BARATHARAM VISHNUM
SHASHI VARNAM CHATURBHUJAM
PRASANNA VADANAM DHYAYET
SARVA VIGHNOPA SHANTAYE
AGAJANANA PADMARGAM GAJANANA
MAHIRSHAM ANEKA DANTAM BHAKTANAM
EKA DANTAM UPASMAHE
Never ask anything to GOD; Do only general PRAY; Do good things in life; keep a large heart; Have faith in God – HE will give everything what "we needed" – the more we give, the more HE will give us.
Importance of Ganesh Chaturthi
V.N. Gopalakrishnan, Mumbai
Ganesh Chaturthi, the great Ganesh festival is celebrated by Hindus around the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. The festival is observed in the lunar month of Bhadrapada, starting on the Shukla Chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The day usually falls between August 20 and September 15, and lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi . This year, Ganesh Chaturthi also known as 'Vinayak Chaturthi' falls on September 11.
Ganesha is considered as the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga are the other four deities) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja. The devotees of Ganesha are known as 'Ganapatyas'.
Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati is addressed at the commencement of all undertakings and hence considered as the patron of letters and learning. Lord Ganesha is the legendary scribe who wrote down the Mahabharata, the great epic of the Bharata dynasty from Veda Vyasa’s dictation. Lord Ganesha or Ganapati was created by Parvati and hence the names mean Lord (Isha) or (Pati) of Shiva's hosts (Gana). Shiva Purana and Brahma Vaivarta Purana give references about the creation of Ganesha. Ganesa Upapurana also gives details of the prayers and formulae appropriated to him.
Lord Ganesha is worshipped especially at the commencement of a wedding, as well as a bride is presented to the bridegroom. Sir William Jones refers to Ganesha as god of wisdom. In the South, Ganesha is usually termed as Vigneswara as he can prevent literary fame, if his worship is neglected. Ganesha is represented as half man and half elephant, in a sitting posture, with a large belly. Of his four hands, he elevates two holding in the left hand a rope and in the right an elephant goad. In his other two hands he holds in the right, a piece of his own broken tusk and in the left, a pancake. The broken tusk that he holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he listens to petition. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms and he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse.
“Ganesha's head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha's left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties. Ganesha is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is the personification of material universe in all its various magnificent manifestations”.
Prior to 1893, Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated as an important public festival during the Peshwa rule in Maharashtra. Lokmanya Bal Gangadhara Tilak (1856-1920) a scholar, philosopher, freedom fighter and social reformer transformed this annual festival into a large, well-organized public event. Tilak popularized Ganesh Chaturthi as a national festival and generated nationalistic fervor among people in Maharashtra against the British colonial rule. Tilak encouraged installation of large public images of Ganesh in pavilions, and established the practice of submerging them in rivers, sea, or other pools of water.
Ganesh Chaturthi starts with the installation of the Ganesh statues or idols in colorfully decorated homes and specially erected mantaps in every locality. During Ganesh Chaturthi, the priest invokes life into the idol amidst the chanting of mantras. Later, the ritual called Shodashopachara (16 ways of paying tribute) starts. Coconut, jaggery, 21 modaks, 21 durva blades of grass and red flowers are offered to the idol. The idol is anointed with red unguent, typically made of Kumkum and Sandalwood paste. Throughout the ceremony, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda, the Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and the Ganesha Stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted. The main sweet dish during the festival is modak. Another popular sweet dish is the karanji.
On the 11th day, the idol is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing and singing. All join in this final procession shouting "Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukar ya" (Oh Ganapati, come again early next year). After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the idols to the sea or river to immerse it. The festival facilitated community participation and served as a meeting ground for people of all castes and communities.
Ganesh festival is celebrated all over India, and more elaborately in Maharashtra, Goa Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and other areas which were formerly part of the Maratha empire. Outside India, it is celebrated in Nepal and in Sri Lanka.
(Author is a freelance journalist and Social activist. He is Director Indo-Gulf Consulting)