Thursday, 2 June 2011

ganesha chaturdhi

Lord Ganesha —
the Elephant-God on a mouse — is worshipped before the commencement of any
function. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of all. He is also worshipped
as the god of education, knowledge and wisdom.  Sri Shankara Bhagawadpada
advocates worship of Ganesha in Panchayanatana pooja.  In the
Ganapathyatharva Upanishad, Ganesha is praised as the Supreme Self. The legends
that are connected with Lord Ganesha are available in the Ganesha Khanda of the
Brahma Vivartha Purana.   Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as the
birthday of Lord Ganesha on the fourth day (Chaturthi) of the bright
fortnight of Bhadrapada. Ganesh puja is performed in all temples. Hindus
worship the idols of Lord Ganesha, made especially for the occasion two or three
months prior to the festival.  Gulur, near Tumkur in Karnataka houses a
beautiful Ganesha idol. No other state can surpass Maharastra in
decorations and processions.  Cultural programs in Tamil Nadu  are
very great.

On the day of the head of the household invokes the Lord
with a specific mantra, after regular mantras used in any worship.
Shodashopachara pooja follows this.   Ganesha is worshipped with
varieties of grass particularly twenty-one durva grass shoots and various
flowers. Sweets made up of rice called Modakas are offered to Lord
Ganesha.  In some of the temples, Ganesha Homa is also conducted.  In
Ganesha worship whole neighborhood is involved.  They donate the funds,
gather at the place where the community Ganesha is placed and organize cultures
events in the evenings.

Next ten days, Ganesha is worshipped in this
fashion.  On the eleventh day, the image is taken in a procession and
immersed in water. This event called Visarjan (Nimajjan), symbolizes His
journey towards his Kailash Mountain taking away with Him all the misfortunes
of the devotees.  Amid the shouting  "Ganapathi Bappa Morya,
Purchya Varshi Laukariya" immersion takes place.

Lord Ganesha’s worship was prevailing earlier in
Karnataka and in the times of Vijayanagar kings, a saint named Morya Goswami
brought it to Maharasta. Hence in Maharastra, Ganesha is known as Bappa moraya
(father of Morya). During independence movement Lokamanya Tilk utilized Ganesha
Chaturthi as a means of unity. Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated by one and all
across all cults, communities, sects, and castes under the Hindu fold.

One should not
look at the Moon on the day of Ganesha Chaturthi.  Once Moon made fun of
Lord Ganesha and suffered the consequences.  The real meaning is that one
should not associate himself with the people who do not relay on the God or


In ancient
India trade by sea routes had flourished well.  The word 'navy' is the
derivative of Sanskrit word, 'Nouka'. In medieval period Cholas, Yadavas and
Pandya kings expanded their kingdoms beyond present day India and conducted
trade with Srilanka and  many countries in Far East. The concept of Ganesh
pooja spread far and wide. Jains (Swetambars) and Buddhists also worship
Ganesh. Ganesh Chaturthi is observed in India, East and Far East. On Ganesha
Chaturthi,  idols of the Ganesh in various forms and shapes are installed.
Ganesha is offered 21 modakas (a delicacy prepared from rice, wheat and
jiggery).  The number 21 has a special significance –  it represents
five organs of perception, five of action, five pranas (airs), five elements
and mind.  That means all the body, mind and resources are dedicated to
the Lord.  Ganesh is worshipped with durva grass which has sharp
edges.  It is deemed fit for the offering as it is not touched by other
animals. The pooja and cultural programmes in community halls are continued for
nearly ten days. The idol is taken in a grand procession and immersed in a
water body.


"O God! O
Ganapati! Among us, your subjects, You are our master. Hail to you. Among those
who are wise, You are the wisest. Among superiors, You are the highest lord.
Among the glorious, You are the most glorious. Among the souls, You are the
Supreme Soul. With this prayer, Lord, we are asking You to bless us with your
presence in our midst to give us Your protection".
[Rigveda:Mandala2; Sukta23; Mantra1]. This mantra is in praise of God
Brihaspati (Brahma) and is scripted by sage Grutsamada. The words 'ganapati'
'ganesh' are rarely used in Rigveda. Another mantra is found in Mandala 10.

"Lord of
the hosts, amid our bands be seated: they call thee greatest Sage among the
sages. Nothing is done, even far away, without thee: great, wondrous, Maghavan,
is the hymn I sing thee". [Rigveda:Mandala10; Sukta112; Mantra 9]

(Brihaspati, Brahma, creator), Indra (the king of Gods), Maghavan (adjective,
meaning  the Great One), Agni (one of the five elements) and Rudra (who
regulates the time scale) are called Ganapati. Gana means subjects and Pati,
the master. In Rigvedic times no such God equivalent to present day Ganesh was
being worshipped. Harappans  used to call the  village head as

Present day
worship of Ganesh is fusion of Dravidian and Aryan cultures. Both these
cultures mixed freely and another culture representing the cream of both was
formed. Sayanacharya formulated the methods of worship. There were many people
who worshiped Durga, Vishnu, Surya,  Navagrahas and Ganapathi. The
upasakas of Ganapathi were called Gaanapatya. Sri Shankara Bhagawadpada brought
them together by advocating Panchayatana Pooja (Pooja for all these five Gods).

May the
blessings of Sri Ganesha be with you all! May He remove all the obstacles that
stand in your progress!