Lord Ganesha is one of the most beloved gods known by 108 different names in our culture. He is considered to be a symbol of good fortune, wisdom, prosperity and wealth. Ganesha Chaturthi festival is celebrated with extreme devotion and joy in many states of India and even outside the country. Maharashtra, Goa, Kerela, Tamil Nadu are some of the cities that have been home to these celebrations since ages.
Out of all the stories linked to the history of this festival, the most relevant one dates back to the time of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is believed that Parvati was the creator of Ganesha. The story says that Parvati used her sandalwood dough and created Ganesha in the absence of Shiva. She gave him the work of guarding her bathroom door while she was bathing. After Shiva returned home, Ganesha and Shiva got into a fight due to which Shiva severed the head of the child. Witnessing this site, Parvati enraged and Lord Shiva promised getting Ganesha back to life. The followers searched for a child’s head facing north, but all they could find was an elephant’s head. And that’s how our Gajanana was born.
Ganesha Chaturthi is regarded as an important festival in the region of Maharashtra and is celebrated for seven to ten days when the entire state is decorated with lights. In Mumbai, on the first day of the festival, the Pooja starts with the idol being kept over a pedestal that symbolizes a throne. This is followed by a priest performing the rituals and Puja dedicated to the idol. Then, he dips the idol in holy water. Modak, a sweet made of sweetened coconut and rice flour, is then offered to the deity along with incense and flowers. For the rest of the days, the idol of worshipped with Ganesha Stuti and devotional songs in the evening and morning. People install idols of Lord Ganesha in their houses as well.
It is believed that god returns to his heavenly abode after ten days of Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations. The city witnesses great vigour and enthusiasm for the farewell procession in which the idol of Lord Ganesha is carried by the devotees. The procession is accompanied by lot of singers, dancers, acrobats, priests and various onlookers. Sweets, coconuts, flowers and Aarti are offered to the idol prior to immersion in the Arabian Sea. This ritual is known as ‘Ganesha Visarjan’ or the immersion of Lord Ganesha and the procession flock the street with the chanting, ‘Ganapati Bappa Morya’ (famous slogan praising Lord Ganesha).
There are many things that one can learn from Lord Ganesha. Few of them are:
- Large Ears : Make an habit of listening more.
- Big Head: Thing big and high.
- Small Eyes: Concentrate More.
- One tusk : Retain Good knowledge and throw away bad one.
- Trunk : High efficiency and adaptability.
- Mouse(Mooshak Raj): Ride on desires and keep it under control.
- Large Stomach: Peacefully digest everything; Good or bad.
- Laddos/ Modak : Reward of good deeds.