The Reincarnation of Lord Ganesha

 

It is time to appease the elephant headed God with Modaks again this Ganesh Chaturthi, our favorite Lord’s birthday. After all, he is the remover of all obstacles and who are ostensibly worshipped with great reverence at the beginning of all our endeavors.

 

The meaning of Ganesha

He is the leader of troops. Gana refers to “Troops”. Isha means “Lord” or “Leader”. He is also called “Siddhivinayak”, who fulfills all your wishes.

 

Ganesha’s birthday is unique

 

His birthday is very unique, that it is celebrated not just for a day but for 10 days. His birthday celebration begins on the 4th day of the first half of the Hindu Bhadrapad month and ends on the 10th day of 'Ananta Chaturdashi'. So let’s begin the celebration from 25th August this year!

 

The Lord Of Invocation

He is worshiped in the beginning of all important occasions. According to our scriptures, various divinities too worshipped Lord Ganesha before their undertakings apart from the finite human beings. For example, Lord Brahma worshipped Lord Ganesha before creating the world and Shesha Naga revered him before carrying the earth on his head. Such is the unshakeable faith and devotion in our favorite Lord.

 

Mushaka Vahana

 

The vehicle of Lord Ganesha is the mouse. He is especially revered on the next day of Ganesh Chaturthi, which is known as Rishi Panchami, when a special offering of Kheer (sweet) is offered to the mouse.

 

How to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi?

 

Small clay idols of Ganesha are installed in our homes to offer our sincere prayers at his feet. Interestingly, Idols are also made of coconuts and other organic products apart from clay. His shrine is fervently decorated with flowers and garlands that are his favorite. Naivedya with strands of Durva grass, Red Hibiscus flowers, sweetmeats like Modaks, Karanji are offered in his honor. Aarti is sung in his praise in the mornings and evenings in great devotion, augmenting positive vibrations within our homes.

 

The idol at home is worshipped for 1 ½, 3, 5, 7 or 11 days. Then the idol is carried out in a joyous procession with singing, dancing and chanting in his honor to immerse him in the nearest water body (such as a lake, river or the sea). It is believed that once he has been immersed, he returns back to Mount Kailash to reunite with his parents Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

 

 

Huge idols of Vinayaka are set up in public areas and everyone from the locality regardless of caste, creed and color come to offer their prayers to the God with the brilliance of a thousand suns. These events are made possible through funds generously pooled in by the local residents, businesses and community organizations. The idol making begins with “Padya Pooja” which symbolizes the worship of the feet of Lord Ganesh. These idols are then brought to the “pandals” with great enthusiasm 15-20 days prior to the festival. The pandals have elaborate decoration and lighting. There is jubilance and love in the hearts of the devotees who throng several of these public setups to adore his sweet and divine form.

 

The origin of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi in public harks back to the time when India was still struggling in the hands of oppressive Britishers. An initiative by Lokmanya Tilak, the celebration got people across different strata of the society together. Forgetting all their differences they celebrated the day with sheer joy and harmony. Ever since, this auspicious day has been binding us together, making it better every passing year.

 

The famous Maharashtrian Aarti

This is such a mesmerizing art that you get lost in its tune with such devotion that you don’t need to understand the language to fall in its spell. This Marathi aarti "Sukhakarta Dukhaharta", was composed by the 17th-century saint, Samarth Ramdas.

 

Significance of offering the whole Coconut to the Lord of our heart

 

Wet whole coconut (peeled off the exterior husk) with a small stalk of husk on the top is considered the purest offering to the Lord. Breaking the coconut symbolizes the destruction of our egos in front of the Lord and to surrender by offering our soft white inner self at his feet.

 

Environmental concerns do not dampen the spirit of Ganesh Chaturthi

 

The increasing pollution of water bodies with the traditional immersion of Ganesh idols has made us more careful, thoughtful and sensitive to our world around. Plaster of Paris idols are discouraged in the making and clay idols are worshipped. These clay idols are immersed in barrels of water at home itself. After a few days, the dissolved clay is spread in the garden soil. Eco-friendly methods are adapted for the public to carry on the tradition of immersion in several cities.

 

Significance of Visarjan

 

Immersion or Visarjan of Lord Ganesha conveys the “supreme truth of life” which is that all beings that come into existence do go back to the five basic elements again ( aakash, jal, vayu, agni, dharti). This is the cycle of life. That’s why the devotees call out with great zeal during the immersion to the Lord - Do come back the next year again soon.

 

The treats of the festival

 

The sweets are prepared during the festival to entice the enormous belly of our favorite Lord. Go for these four recipes that Lord Ganesha loves - Karanji, Vadapapu, Puranpoli, Sweet Modak.