Thursday, Apr 18 2024  

Ganesh Chathurthi - 19 Sep 2012

“Jai Jai Jai Gananayaka Jai Jai Vigna Vinashaka”. Dear brothers and sisters, my topic today is on Ganesh Chaturthi which is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi. Lord Ganesha is also fondly called as Vinayagar, Ganesh Chathurthi is the Hindu festival celebrated on the occasion of the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati. Lord Ganesha is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees in the duration of this festival. It is the day Shiva declared his son Ganesha as superior to all the Gods. Ganesha is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel.

The festival, also known as Ganeshotsav is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shuklachaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usually falls between 19 August and 20 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the waxing moon period).

While it is celebrated worldwide; it is more conspicuous all over India, more particularly in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa. Outside India,it is celebrated widely in Nepal and by Hindus in the United States, Canada, Mauritius, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma and Fiji.

Traditional stories tell that Lord Ganesha was created by Goddess Parvati. Parvati created Ganesha out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at the main door. Lord Shiva returned and, as Ganesha didn't know him, he didn't allow him to enter. Lord Shiva became enraged, severed the head of the child and entered his house. After realizing that he had beheaded his own son, Lord Shiva fixed the head of an elephant in place of Ganesha's head. In this way, Lord Ganesha came to be depicted as the elephant-headed God.

Two to three months before Ganesh Chaturthi, artistic plaster of Paris models of Lord Ganesha are made for sale by specially skilled artisans. They are beautifully decorated and depict Lord Ganesh in poses.

Ganesh Chaturthi starts with the installation of these Ganesh statues in colourfully decorated homes and specially erected temporary structures in every locality. The pandals are erected by the people or a specific society or locality or group by collecting monetary contributions. The pandals are decorated specially for the festival, either by using decorative items like flower garlands, lights, etc. or are theme based decorations, which depict religious themes or current events.

The priest, usually clad in red or white dhoti and uttariyam, then symbolically invokes life into the statue by chanting mantras. This ritual is the Pranapratishhtha. After this the ritual called as Shhodashopachara follows. Coconut, jaggery, 21 modakas, 21 durva blades of grass and red flowers are offered. The statue 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.

Ganesha is worshiped for 10 days from Bhadrapada Shudha Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, On the 11th day, the statue is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, and fanfare to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees. This is the ritual known as Ganesh Visarjan. At individual homes the Visarjan is also done on 3rd, 5th or 7th day as per the family tradition. All join in this final procession shouting "Ganapati Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Laukar ya" (O lord Ganesha, come again early next year) in Maharashtra and "Ganesh Maha Raj ki, Jai" (lord Ganesha, victory is yours) in Andhra Pradesh. After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the idols to the river to immerse it.

The main sweet dish during the festival is the modak. It is a dumpling made from rice flour/wheat flour with a stuffing of fresh or dry-grated coconut, jaggery, dry fruits and some other condiments. It is either steam-cooked or fried. Another popular sweet dish is the karanji which is similar to the modak in composition and taste but has a semicircular shape.

In Andhra, kudumu, Vundrallu, Panakam, Vadapappu, Chalividi, etc., are offered to Ganesha along with Modakams. These offerings to God are called Naivedyam in Tamil.
In Andhra, Clay Ganesh and Turmeric Ganesh is usually worshiped at homes along with plaster of paris Ganesha.

Public celebrations of the festival are hugely popular, with local communities vying with each other to put up the biggest statue and the best pandal. The festival is also the time for cultural activities like singing and theatre performances, orchestra and community activities like free medical checkup, blood donation camps, charity for the poor, etc. This is one of the most popular festivals in the Country. There are several reasons for this. Ganpati is after all a popular God. His blessings are invoked at most religious ceremonies as He is the one who can remove all obstacles to success. He is the giver of fortune and can help to avoid natural calamities.

Ganpati, the God of wisdom and the benevolent deity of the dynasty of Peshwas who ruled Maharashtra inculcating a special culture in the state. Ganpati is the herald of auspicious beginnings and is the beloved deity of all.

The significance of Ganesh Chaturthi lies in the way people attach themselves with all their love and faith to the care and pampering of the all-embracing Lord Ganesha. Throughout the festival, people worship the ‘astavinayakas’ referred to the eight embodiments of Lord Ganesha that played the role of abolishing the evil powers of the demonic elements that existed in the world. The popular Mayureshwara was that divine incarnation of Lord Ganesha that put an end to the evil and harm inflicted by the demon called Sindhu by destroying him completely. This symbolizes the victory of the good over the evil. And also, there lies a message that Lord Ganesha always comes to abolish the villains in every period and every age, adding to the importance of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Wishing you happiness as big as Ganesha’s appetite life as long as His Trunk trouble as small as his Mouse and moments as sweet as His Laddus


Bro Rohit Pritam Bharwani
Group 4


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