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Ganesha Chaturthi ( Birthday of Lord Ganesha ) Myth and Celebration in India

Ganesha Chaturthi ( Birthday of Lord Ganesha ) Myth and Celebration in India

Ganesh Chaturthi, or Vinayaka Chaturthi, The Lord Ganesha is the God of wisdom, prosperity and auspiciousness. Ganesha Chaturthi is always coincides with the 4th moon that follows the new moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (August – September).

Ganesh Chaturthi falls this year on Wednesday, 19 september 2012–  September 29, 2012 , ending on Anant Chaturdashi.

In Hindu mythology Lord Ganesha is known as the lord of beginnings and as the lord of obstacle remover. Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, who is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees in the duration of this festival. It is the birthday of Ganesha who is widely worshiped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Hence all auspicious occasions and religious functions begin by invoking his blessings.

Lord Ganesha or Vighneshwara is the overlord of Ketu, the South Node of the Moon and the ruler of Obstacles of material and spiritual order. This divine elephant-headed being has been granted a special siddha that permits him to see the negative/evil influences that are going to arise and to intervene and prevent those influences from taking effect.

In India, Lord Ganesha happens to be one of the most popular deities and everyone seems to be in love with this cute, pot-bellied elephant god. Naturally, Ganesh Chaturthi is quite a big affair in the country. The occasion sees pious worships to Lord Ganesha, the deity of prosperity who is also believed to the remover of all obstacles, and also joyous celebrations in honor of the divine being.Although celebrated all across India, Ganesh Chaturthi is a really important festival especially in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and South India Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated for 10 days. In other parts of India, it is celebrated for one day on the Ganesh Chaturthi day. On the day special prayers are performed in all Hindu homes and hymns and songs are sung in praise of Lord Ganesha. . Outside India, it is celebrated widely in Nepal and by Hindus in the United States, Canada and Fiji.

This  Ganesh festival  is about bringing home brilliantly crafted idols of the God, and there he will sit in state till Ganesh Chaturthi on September 19, The Ganapati Festival ends , when he is  devotedly immersed(visarjan) in water. 29,september 2012. The immersion ceremony, which is known as the ‘visarjan’, marks the end of the festivities. The people dance with great enthusiasm and singing rents the air, urging the god to return post haste the next year.

Ganesh Chaturthi puja:
In honor of the deity, many rituals and offerings take place: special pujas are performed at temples, and Modak, his favorite sweet, is offered to him. Devotees fast for a day to show respect, love, and honor to their idol.  It is believed that by observing fast on Ganesh Chaturthi with sincerity and devotion, Lord Ganesha blesses his devotees with health, wealth and prosperity. Since vrat is an important part of the celebrations, vrat katha (the story narrated during Ganesha puja) is also prominent. It is generally preferable to do Ganesha puja on the Chaturthi day at the noon; however you can perform the puja as per your wish whenever all the members of your family are present. In order to carry on the puja,

Ganpati Poojan Samagri

you will require following items-.

1. A clay image of Lord Ganesha (hopefully an eco-friendly idol)
2. Red Flowers ,green grass, druva grass Modaks and assorted sweets like Pedhas / Karanjis – These are generally made at home for ‘Prasad’ on an empty stomach or Upwaas
3. Coconut
4. Chandan or Sandalwood
5. Incense Sticks
6. Choice of fruits
7. A Moda / stool or raised platform to place Bappa.
8. Sweet made of Pancha Khadya (Ganesha’s favourite) – Dates, Rasins, Powdered Sugar, Poppy seeds (Khus Khus) and 9.Coconut
10. Decorations for the platform with cloth, lights etc.

Celebrated for 1 ½, 5, 7 or 10 days, Ganpati arrives home as a guest and is appeased in the duration of his stay with his favorite foods, choicest decorations and Puja(prayers). Clean whole house and get ready to bring home Ganesha with fervor among family and friends. Once the idol is home, recite Ganesh Shlokas and pray to the Lord to be welcome in your humble abode. Grand pandals or stages are set up and filled with fresh flowers and the idols are dressed up in colorful clothes and glittering ornaments. There is keen competition to see which pandal has been most artistically decorated and sometimes there is even a prize for the best dressed idol! -.

The Puja begins with the establishment of idol on a higher platform and giving it a bathe with Panchamrit. You can now pray to Lord Ganesh and recite all the mantras or bhajans dedicated to Lord Ganesha. You now have to invoke Lord Ganesha through your prayers and bring life in the idol. The mantra for this can be found in the in the Rig Veda and is part of Ganesh Suktha. You can chant a series of shloks from the Rig Veda to invoke the Lord into the idol. They are in Sanskrit and are a part of the Ganesh Suktha. After this, you can start making your offerings to Ganesha. Start by lighting the auspicious lamp. Offer 21 blades of Druva, 21 Modaks, 21 of the sweet you make from Panch Khadya, assorted fruits and flowers.

Apply Tilak and then break the coconut (it should ideally split in the middle) and also make offerings of various grains to Mooshik. You can then recite the 108 names of Lord Ganesha followed by the Ganesh Aarti and distribution of Prasad among devotees

A popular myth associated with Ganesh Chaturthi is that one should refrain from looking at the moon on this day. The fable behind this myth goes like on one of his birthdays, Lord Ganesha after stuffing his belly with Modaks, rode on his mouse that stumbled after seeing a snake. This resulted in Ganesha falling down, bursting out his stomach and spilling all the Modaks. Ganesha stuffed all the Modaks back into his stomach and tied his belly with the snake. Seeing this moon in the sky starting laughing heartily, which annoyed Ganesha and he cursed moon that anyone who will look at it on Ganesh Chaturthi will invite a bad luck. Since then people abstain from looking at the moon on the festival.

Lord Ganesha Idol  Illustrated

Katha of Ganesh Chaturthi
According to the legends, one day Parvati, Shiva’s beloved wife, instructed Shiva’s attendant Nandi not to let anyone in while she was taking a bath. A little later Shiva arrived wishing to enter. Nandi was in a dilemma as how to stop his master. Shiva entered Parvati was not ready to receive him. She was upset and wondered why Nandi had not obeyed her command. She complained to Shiva but Shiva did not take the matter too seriously.   Goddess Parvati created Ganesha out of clay and breathed life into him. Letting him stand guard at the door, Goddess Parvati went to have her bath. When her husband, Lord Shiva returned, the child who had never seen him stopped him. Ganesha did not allow Shiva to enter and finally an enraged Shiva severed the head of the child. Goddess Parvati returned to find her son dead and was distraught and asked Shiva to revive him. she became so angry that she threatened to destroy the world.

In order to make her calm down, Lord Shiva attached the head of an elephant to Lord Ganesha’s body. But because Goddess Parvati was not satisfied, she asked that her son be worshiped first before the other deities, and thus began the tradition of worshiping Lord Ganesha in the beginning of religious activities in India – which later called as Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

People also worship Ashtavinayak — the eight embodiments of Lord Ganesha on Ganesh Chaturthi. It is believed that Ashtavinayak eliminated the negative energy of evil powers from this world and this belief adds to the significance of Ganesh Chaturthi as it is believed that Ganesha always come to eradicate the evil from this planet.

Panchamukhi Ganesha or the 5 faced Ganesha is the epitome of all energies or elements that are under His control. These five heads of Ganesh symbolize the five elements namely Water, Earth, Fire, Air and Ether. The fifth head is located above the four heads and it denotes the highest level of pure consciousness.

Ganesha is the embodiment of all potencies and has no superior above Him. He removes obstacles and hence, is first addressed in all the auspicious occasions, poojas and homas.

Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi lies in the way in which people attach themselves with all their devotion and faith to the care and pampering of the all-embracing Lord Ganesha or Lord Vinayaka. It is believed that He remains on the earth plane on Vinayaka Chaturthi to bestow His presence on all his devotees.

Shattering coconuts on Ganesha Chaturthi helps you to remove your negative influences as this is considered as a spiritual technology that manifests in both your material and spiritual worlds. The coconut energetically absorbs your lower vibrations and when it is smashed, the energy holding back your progress is forcefully disseminated. When done on Lord Ganesha’s birthday, i.e., Ganesha Chaturthi.

As the clay image disintegrates, your karma is dissolved. It is a very effective ritual sometimes referred to as sympathetic magic.

Ganesh Festival is also attracting lot of criticism from environmentalists and nature lovers primarily due to pollution caused by the use of Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris. Hinduism and Nature are so entwined that one cannot be separated from another. Ganesha itself is a classic example. But still we Hindus do little to stop pollution. At least we can stop creating more pollution in the name of Ganesha by only buying natural Ganesh idol and natural items for Ganesh Puja.

“Ganpati bapa, mouriya! Pudcha varshi, laukar ya!”