Celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesha Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday of the lord Ganesha.
1. Ganesh Chaturthi History
Ganesh Chaturthi is said to have been celebrated since the days of Maratha rulers Satavahana, Chalukya and Rashtrakuta. Mainly celebrated in the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh with a lot of zeal and splendour, Ganesh Chaturthi is the most popular festival of Maharashtra. Ganesh Chaturthi was started by Chhatrapati Shivaji as a public event to promote traditions and nationalism, this festival was even celebrated by Peshwas to worship Ganapati as their family deity. The festivities remained a family affair until the festival was revitalised by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in the late 19th Century, to take the message of freedom struggle to all Indians.
This festival brought in a feeling of unity and togetherness in Indians that helped in revival of their patriotic spirit. Through the medium of this festival he brought together all the classes of societies against British by getting rid of the caste differences. He stressed on it that Ganesh Chaturthi was a festival for everyone irrespective of the caste or class, and so he organised cultural events like dance dramas, musical nights, and religious gatherings on this festival. That was the time when social and political gatherings werent allowed by the British. Festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi that continued for ten days gave people of every religion the scope to interact and know each other. It is from that time this festival has been celebrated every year with great fervour all over the country.
2. Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the important Hindu festivals celebrated throughout India with a great devotion. This day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesh, the elephantheaded son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesh is the symbol of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on Shukla Chaturthi of the Hindu month of Bhadra (generally falls between August and September). This festival is celebrated by Hindus with a great enthusiasm. People bring idols of Lord Ganesh to their homes and do worship. The duration of this festival varies from 1 day to 11 days, depending on the place and tradition. On the last day of the festival the idols are taken out in a colorful and musical procession and immersed traditionally in water.As per Hindu mythology Lord Ganesh is considered as OVigana HartaO (one who removes obstacles) and OBuddhi PradaayakaO (one who grants intelligence). This festival is very important for students, they worship Lord Ganesh to illumine their minds.
3. Ganeshs Birth
Once Lord Shiva left his usual dwelling on Mt.Kailas in the Himalayas, to meditate in one of the caves in the same mountain. Two friends of Parvati, his consort, suggested that she should have a gana attendant of their own, since they were not too happy with Shivajis ganas. Parvati agreed. Soon after, using her divine powers, she created a son, naming him Vinayak. She instructed him to guard their home.When Shivaji returned Vinayak prevented him from entering. After some bickering, Shivaji beheaded Vinayak with his trishul (trident). When Parvati heard of this she lamented intensely. Shivaji realised his error. To set things right he sent his men to the forest to fetch the head of the first living thing they met. They encountered a baby elephant and returned with its head. With his divine power, Shivaji placed the head over his sons body. Instantly Vinayak sprung to life. Henceforth Vinayak also earned the name of Gajaanan. Gaja means elephant. Shivaji blessed him with a boon that people would first worship and offer him dedication in all their auspicious activities. Those who didnt would not attain success.Bhadarva Sud 4th is the day Parvati was offering the final pujan to the dead Ganeshji, when he resurrected.
4. How to come Ganesha Festival
Ganesha Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday (rebirth) of Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati.
It is believed that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival. It is the day Shiva declared his son Ganesha as superior to all the gods, barring Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati. 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 Ganeshutsav (festival of Ganesha) is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (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).In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak transformed the annual domestic festival into a large, wellorganized public event.
Tilak recognized the wide appeal of the deity Ganesha as the god for everybody, and popularized Ganesh Chaturthi as a national festival in order to bridge the gap between Brahmins and nonBrahmins and find a context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them, and generate nationalistic fervour among people in Maharashtra against the British colonial rule.Tilak was the first to install large public images of Ganesh in pavilions, and also established the practice of submerging in rivers, sea, or other pools of water all public images of the deity on the tenth day after Ganesh Chaturthi.
5. Ganapati Vivaha (Marriage)
When Shiva and Parvati decided to have their sons, Kartikeya and Ganesh married, they stipulated that he who circumambulated the earth first would be considered the best deity and would be married first. Kartikeya flew off on his vehicle a peacock. Poor Ganapatis vehicle was a mouse which was no match for a peacock. Being the choicest devotee of God, Parvatiji consoling him showed Ganeshji a simpler and quicker way. She advised him to cicumambulate the cow since she also symbolically represents another earth and he had reap the same benefit as going round the earth. Another reference cites him circumambulating his parents.Consoling him, Parvati showed a short cut.
She divulged that it was ordained in the scriptures that he who offered pujan to his parents and then circumambulated them received the same merit as he who went around the earth. Ganapati hence married first showing that one who obeys the wish of the choicest devotee of God or his parents attains his desired wishes. Hence Ganeshji is invoked first in all auspicious events, rites and rituals such as marriage, opening ceremonies, groundbreaking ceremonies, yagnas and so on. The Shiva Puran cites another story. Prajapati had two daughters, Siddhi (wealth) and Buddhi (intellect). He approached Parvati and Shivaji for the girls marriage to Kartikeya and Ganeshji. However both girls wished to marry only the latter. Thus they married him. Siddhi gave birth to a son named Shubh (auspiciousness) and Buddhi to Labh (merit). Therefore when businessmen and merchants offer pujan to Ganeshji and Lakshmiji they write Shubh and Labh inside their account ledgers to invoke the two deities.
The first person to observe the vrat of Ganesh Chaturthi was Chandra the moon. After Ganeshjis fame as leader (pati) of Shivas ganas, hence Ganapati, he was travelling through the heavens. As he passed Chandra who prided on his attractive features, he slighted Ganeshjis peculiar form. In return, Ganeshji cursed him, You shall bear the fruit of your karma. Whenever somebody does your darshan he will be cursed too. Chandra begged for forgiveness. Ganeshji then advised him to observe the Ganesh Chaturthi vrat and was freed from the curse.By being aware of the detrimental effects of false pride one should cultivate humility. The Skanda Purana mentions this sentiment of the festival.The Vayu Puran advocates the observance of this festival by listening to the following relevant episode of Shri Krishna, to be relieved from false accusation When Shri Krishna was falsely accused of pilfering the Syamantak Mani (gem) he observed Ganesh Chaturthi and was freed from the false charge.This festival also inspires devotees to inculcate two virtues obeying the commands of God and His choicest devotee, and consolidating faith in them, just as Ganeshji had faith and trust in Parvati regarding circumambulating his parents.
7. Names of Ganeshji
Ekadant (onetoothed)To scribe the Mahabharat Katha Ganeshji removed one of his tusks to carve a quill from it. He then scribed the epic on palm leaves as the sage Ved Vyas recited it. The scribing took three years!
In south India there is a belief that when ploughing first began on earth, it was Lord Ganeshji who first ploughed using one of his tusks.
In the Uttar Ramayan, Brahmand Puran and Padma Puran there is a reference of a battle between Ganeshji and Parshuram. During the duel, the latters axe fractured one of Ganeshjis tusks According to the Brahmand Puran, it was his left tusk.
There are other names related to his body and virtues.Lambodar from the long lambo, tummy udar.
A few commonly known are listed below
Gajkarna from the large elephant Gaja ears karna.
Kapil from his ruddy complexion.
Bhalchandra having a Chandra (moon) on his forehead bhal.
Dwaimatur one who has dwi two, mata mother Parvati who gave birth to him and Malini a demoness who nurtured him.
Vakratund one who breaks the ego of he who behaves antisocially (Vakra).
Vigneshwar One who removes mayic obstacles vignas.
8. Ganesh Chaturthi Customs
Ganesh Chaturthi, birthday of Lord Ganesha, is one of the popular Hindu festivals and falls on 4th of the fortnight of Bhadrapada. This festival is observed throughout India, especially in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. Elephantheaded Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is the god of wisdom, knowledge and prosperity. Ganesh Chaturthi being the most important of all Maharashtrian festivals is celebrated with splendour and zeal. The festival is celebrated from 510 days depending upon the family customs. All these days, puja and aarti are performed, and the devotees are offered modak (a sweet) in the form of prasad (holy offering). Many cultural activities are held during these days of festivities that add on to the enthusiasm of people. On the tenth and last day, people submerge the idols of the Lord in water, with a request to return sooner next year and a faith that he will take their every distress with him while going.
9. Ganeshji represents auspiciousness
Since Ganeshji represents auspiciousness, his whole being has symbolic imports for devotees.
Large ears signify listening to Gods katha with great zeal.
Small eyes to do the Lords darshan minutely.
Large forehead to develop great intellect to realise God.
Large stomach depicts his great capacity to empathise with the woes of devotees.
Short legs depicts patience.
Long trunk symbolic of his deep scriptural wisdom.
Mouse as vehicle a hyperactive creature, symbolic of our indriyas. Therefore Ganesh sitting on such a vehicle represents a deity of control over the indriyas.
Four arms which hold ankush symbol for control over the mind
ladu for happiness
pash axe to punish the indriyas and antahkaran
ashirvad mudra blessings for the well being of humanity
Depending on the role of Ganapati, the number of arms varies, as do the type of objects.
10. Domestic Celebration in Maharashtra
In Maharashtra, most Hindu families also install their own small clay statues for worship on Ganesh Chaturthi. As per the tradition of their respective families, the domestic celebrations come to end an end after 1,3,5,7 or 11 days when the statue is taken in a procession to a large body of water such as rivers or sea for immersion. Due to environmental concerns, a number of families now avoid the large water bodies and instead immerse the statue in a bucket or tub at home. After a few days the clay is used in the home garden. In some cities, a public ecofriendly process is used for immersion.
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