Our Country is famous for its culture, traditions and heritage. One of the most famous festive traditions in our country is that of Ganesh Chaturthi. Let us talk about the various Practices, Beliefs and rituals associated with Ganesh Chaturthi.
One of the most adored deities not only in Maharashtra but all over the country is our very own Lord Ganesh. His story varies from place to place but the most common one is as follows in the Puranas, Shri Ganesh is the name given to the son of Mata (mother) Parvati and Lord Shiva. The story goes, Shri Ganesh was made by Mata to guard her so that no one would enter while the goddess was bathing. He was doing his duty when suddenly Lord Shiva came and tried to go in the room where she was bathing but Ganesh stopped him. Lord Shiva tried to convince him but to no avail when finally Lord Shiva cut of his head with his trident. Immediately after this She came out of the room to see Ganesh with a severed head. Mata Parvati became angry due to which Lord shiva had to order his ganas (troop) to search for an animal who was sleeping with his back to its mother, the ganas found an elephant and cut his head off by performing a proper ceremony and thus placing the head of the elephant on his head brought him back to life renaming him Gajmukh( गजमुख),the one who has an elephant’s head. Shri Ganesh is thought to be the Lord of Learning and the writer of Mahabharata he is also called as Vighnaharta i.e. The remover of obstacles.
History of Ganesh Chaturthi
Since time immemorial india has been celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi by bringing an idol made of mud. The public Ganeshotsava that we know today was started by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak He started this public proccession during the British rule to create unity among all the Hindusthanees against the british rule. He noticed the dual problem of practice of untouchability and the lack of public conciousness which lead to believing that the british rule was god sent to civilise indians so to tackle this dual problem Tilak sir encouraged such utsavas where people of any religion, caste, creed could come together for attainment of Swarajya. Thus he gave a national outlook to a religious festival.
Ganesh chaturthi is celebrated for one and half, five or 10 days. The generally accepted number of days in our country is ten from Bhadrapada shudh chaturthi to anant chaturdashi. It is celebrated so bexause it ia believed that Lord Ganesh was born on Bhadrapada shudh Chaturthi. Every Hindu person brings the lord’s statue made from mud which is then worshipped for ten days before immersing the idol in a nearby lake or a source of water. It is an environment friendly festival as the statue made from mud is dissolved in water. There are various rituals associated with Ganesh chaturthi. Let us explore them and their scientific and spiritual reasons.
- Pranapratishtha – Pranapratishtha literally means invoking the lord. The spiritual reason behind it is that we believe that god is nirguna i.e. without attributes and nirakar i.e. without form. So to realize god in a understanable form we ask the ultimate to become saguna i.e. with attributes and sakar i.e. with shape and form.
- Atharvashirsha – Atharvashirsha is an ancient mantra of Lord Ganesh. The scientific reason behind this chanting is that it activates our second brain which is also called as our Muladhar chakra or our Gut.
- Prasad – The favorite prasad of our lord is Modak which in turn is derived from the word मोद which means hapiness therefore we invoke happiness as a part of our rituals. We offer prasad to our lord so as to show respect and seek their blessings.
- Aarti – In Maharashtra the aarti in marathi has a special historical significance. During the mughal rule our country saw the savagery of mughals in destroying the hindu dharma. So to entice the religious spirit of the hindus Shri Samarth Ramdas Swami wrote a number of Aartis including the aarti of lord ganesh.
- Offerings to our Lord – we offer flowers, leaves of plants to lord ganesh especially durva or grass is offered to the lord. These offerings are symbolic in nature. The symbolism inate in it is that we offer our heart out to the lord, We offer him our love and devotion through these symbolic gestures. Durva is a grass used in ayurveda that provides relief from burning sensation.
- Idol Immersion – On the day of anant chaturdashi we say goodbye to our lord by immersing the idol of lord ganesh in a nearby lake, pond or water source.
SAY NO !!! TO POP IDOLS
The Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is as environment friendly as it gets but some people due to various reasons such as price or durability prefer idols made from Plaster Of Paris or POP in common parlance which is harmful to our river system and the aquatic life therein. POP does not dissolve in water and thus causes water pollution. It is also disrespectful to the deity as its parts float around in the water. There have been made various eco-friendly ways to celebrate our festival such as making a seed Ganapati or a Ganpati made of Chocolate etc. So I urge you all not to use POP or any such material.
May Lord Ganesh fill your and your family’s life with happiness and prosperity. Stay Safe and Happy Ganesh Chaturthi
गणपति बाप्पा मोरया !!!!!