Friday, Dec 8 2023
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals.
It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada
(August - September). It is observed throughout India,
as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world.
Lord Ganesha is the elephant-headed God. He is worshipped
first in any prayers. His Names are repeated first before
any auspicious work is begun, before any kind of worship
is begun. He is the Lord of power and wisdom. He is
the eldest son of Lord Shiva.
Lord Ganesha is the master of all knowledge, intelligence
and wisdom and His Advent is celebrated on this day
(Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi). He is the leader of all
Celestial beings. Vinayaka means he is the Supreme Master,
beyond the mindless state and hence special significance
of this day involves prayers to Lord Ganesha to give
us spiritual potency by endowing us with Supreme Intelligence
(Siddhi & Buddhi). Whenever people commence any
undertaking or start learning music or fine arts or
any branch of knowledge, first worship is offered to
Ganesh (Prathmesh). Ganesha instils purity in body and
fearlessness in mind and removes all the obstacles coming
in the way of the devotees who pray to him sincerely.
The procession of the statue of Lord Ganesha is carried
around the campus during the celebrations.
relating to the festival:
The legend goes that there was a monster called
Gajasura, a powerful monster was also a devotee of Lord
Shiva. It seemed that the monster prayed for many years
and as a result Lord Shiva, who was touched, granted
him a boon. But the cunning monster asked Shiva to reside
in his stomach. Since he had no choice, Lord Shiva granted
his boon and went inside the belly of the monster.
Parvati, Shiva's wife, who was searching for her husband,
became frantic with worry and went to Lord Vishnu for
help. Lord Vishnu, who assured Parvati that he would
find Shiva, disguised himself as a street player and
set out with Nandi, the sacred bull of Shiva, to find
When they reached the monster Gajasura's kingdom, Nandi
danced to please the monster. The monster that was pleased
to see the bull dancing he decided to reward the bull.
Nandi, the bull, asked for Lord Shiva as a reward and
this made Gajasura realize that the street player was
Lord Vishnu. He also realized that Lord Shiva couldn't
live in his belly forever and thus freed Lord Shiva.
After that, he prayed to Shiva to make him immortal.
To grant him the wish, Shiva severed Gajasura's head
and carried the head with him.
Meanwhile, Parvati who heard that Shiva's out of the
monster's belly was joyful. In order to prepare for
her Lord's return she went to have a bath, but before
that she asked someone to stand guard outside. She made
a boy out of dough and named him 'Vinayak'.
But when Lord Shiva returned, the boy refused to let
him enter the palace, as he had never seen him before.
This made Lord Shiva furious and thus he beheaded the
boy and went inside. When he saw Parvati, he told her
about his beheading of the boy. This shocked and upset
Parvati. She told Shiva that 'Vinayak' was like a son
to her and that she wanted him back alive. Thus Shiva
put the head of Gajasura on the boy's head and the boy
'Vinayak' came to life. Shiva also blessed him and announced
that everybody would worship him on that day. And thus
the festival 'Ganesh Chaturti' marks the day when 'Vinayak'
came back to life.
Swami's message on Ganesh
"You are under the false impression that today
(Ganesha Chaturthi) is the birthday of Vinayaka. He
has neither birth nor death. He has neither beginning
nor end. He is the eternal witness."
- Sai Baba, Sanathana Sarathi, October 1999, p.267
"The Ganapati festival is an occasion for people
to purify their minds. People generally tend to see
in others the faults, which they themselves have. Thereby
they try to cover up their own defects by attributing
the same defects to others. This is a bad quality."
- Sai Baba, Sanathana Sarathi. September 1992, p.222
How is the Festival celebrated:
During the festivals, beautifully sculpted Lord
Ganesh idols are installed in the Mandaps (large tents)
that are colourfully decorated, depicting religious
themes or current events. There are huge public displays
of Lord Ganesh idols with Aarti (song of devotion to
God) and loud music and dancing by the devotees.
This activity is most popular in Bombay and Pune, with
"Shrimant Dagadu Shet Halwai Ganapati" in
Pune being the main attraction of the Utsaav. Many cultural
events are organised and people participate in them
with keen interest. On the tenth day, huge processions
carry images of the God to be disposed off into the
water, hoping for them to return early next year. When
the idols are immersed in the water, people sing, "GANPATI
BAPPA MORYA, AGLE BARAS TO JALDI AA," ("Father
Ganpati, Next Year Come Again.").
Ganesh Chaturthi is the most important of all Maharashtrian
festivals, and is celebrated with great aplomb amongst
Marathi communities worldwide. On the occasion of the
Ganapati festival a large number of images are made
of all possible sizes, and people buy them to keep in
their houses as a divine guest for one and a half, five,
seven, or ten days, after which the image is taken out
ceremoniously and taken into the river, sea or well
for immersion or "Visarjan".
Jai Sai Ram
SSEHV Group 4