Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival that is celebrated to mark the birthday of Lord Ganesha. The festivities lasts up to 10 days and it is one of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar. It seemed like yesterday that we welcomed Lord Ganesha into our home amidst lot festivities fervour and celebrations. And the 10 days have already passed by in a whirlwind of activities, poojas and aartis. At the end of the 10th day, we get ready to bid a farewell to the Lord who resided in our home and hearts for the past ten days.
Ganesha Chaturthi (Vinayak Chaturthi) celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha, widely worshipped as the supreme God of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the Shukla Chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period), this year it is on the 9th of September, lasting for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi, September 18th. He is believed to bestow his presence on earth for his devotees during this time.
From jagran/prana pratishtha to visarjan, this celebration depicts the circle of life – human bodies take birth, live, then die, just as each year idols are created from earth and infused with energy through shraddha (faith and belief) and human touch of the sculptor followed by the bhakti (faith and devotion) of the devotees only to be returned to the elements, to be reborn again the next year. The symbolic meaning of Ganesh Chaturthi festival is that Lord Ganesha comes and stays among us and his immersion symbolizes his return from the earth after removing the obstacles and unhappiness of his devotees.
There are references in the Purâns that Shree Parvati moulded Ganapati from mud and infused life in him, hence it is appropriate to use a Ganesh idol made of mud. The pure spiritual particles (pavitraks) of Ganapati get attracted to a greater extent towards an idol made of mud (than to one made from non-natural materials like plaster of paris).
The idol should always be seated. During Ganesh Chaturthî, we invoke Lord Ganapati that is invite Him with bhâv (the spiritual emotion), thus just as when a guest pays a visit, we offer him a seat and not keep him standing, one should offer Him a seat and proper hospitality. When the idol is sculpted as per the science behind the idol then those worshipping it are benefited.
Traditionally, the Ganesh icon was sculpted out of earth taken from nearby one’s home. After worshipping the divinity in this earth icon, it was returned back to the Earth by immersing it in a nearby water body representing the cycle of creation and dissolution in Nature. Moreover the deity should be offered the same reverence when immersing it as when it is invoked. This can be done in our modern homes in a bucket of water which can be used later to feed the plants.
During the period of Ganesh Chaturthi perform a spiritual cleansing by chanting of ‘Om Gan Ganapataye Namah’ to get real benefit of the festival. Like other festivals, this one too is not just for social gathering but for faster spiritual progress.
The closure of the festivities end with a frenzied chanting of “Ganapati Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Laukar ya” (O lord Ganesha, come again early next year). The chant also means that the Lord remains in our hearts forever and is not forgotten. The visarjan represents the circle of life, where we know that all good things must come to an end.
Pic courtesy: Nayana.in
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