Wishing all of Humanity a very Happy, Shubh & Samriddhi filled Ganesh Chaturthi.
This festival has been growing in size and scale each year, and it is a delight to celebrate this festive season. The atmosphere reverberates with the Jai Jaikar of “Ganpati Bappa Morya”. Lots of happiness and excitement flows during this festive season. Importantly, this festival unites people from all castes and creed under the Universal Religion of “HUMANITY”. The young and the old alike are all dancing with joy, and everyone eagerly awaits the arrival of the 11 day Ganeshotsav with eagerness and excitement.
Let us understand the various facets of Lord Ganesha& Ganesh Chaturthi .
Birth of Lord Ganesha: Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, created Ganesha out of mal (dirt), from her body while having a bath and breathed life into the figure. She then gave him the task of guarding her door while she bathed. Lord Shiva, who had gone out, returned, and as Ganesha didn’t know him, didn’t allow him to enter. After the combat between Ganesha and Shiva ganas, an angered Lord Shiva finally severed the head of the child. Parvati seeing this became enraged and Shiva then promised that her son will be alive again. The devas searched for the head of dead person facing North, but they found only the head of an elephant. They brought the head of the elephant and Shiva fixed it on the child’s body and brought him back to life. Lord Shiva also declared that from this day the boy would be called Ganesha (Lord of the Ganas). Ganesha was created by Shiva and Parvati at the request of the Deva’s to be a vighnakarta (obstacle-creator) in the path of asuras (demonic beings), and a vighnaharta (obstacle-averter) to help the Deva’s.
Significance of Lord Ganesha& Ganesh Chaturthi: ‘Ga’ symbolizes Buddhi (intellect), ‘Na’ stands for Vignyan (wisdom). So, Ganapati is the master of Buddhi and Vijnan. The universe is sustained by Ganas (gods) and Ganapati is their master. In this world, everybody has a master, but Ganapati has none. He is a master by himself. This is the birthday of the Master of Masters. Lord Ganesh is always worshipped first for anything and everything, and his blessings are invoked before any auspicious thing. Lord Ganesha is eternal and appeared even before the creation of nature (prakriti) and consciousness (purush), which denotes he appeared even before the process of creation. Lord Ganesha was created by Aadi Shakti, the primordial power of god almighty, without the cause of male-female principle. Being born out of the Primordial Mother, He is with her all the times and in the Mooladhara Chakra in the human being. He is the embodiment of innocence, purity, and chastity in creation. He is worshipped as the lord of beginnings and as the lord of removing obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences, and the god of intellect and wisdom. Lord Ganesha is blessed with the power of trinity (Creation, Manifestation & Destruction Powers).Lord Ganesha is beyond the 3 ‘GUNAS’, (Satva: Pure, Rajas: Activating & Tamas: Dull), he is beyond the 3 Bodies (Gross, Subtle & Causal),he is beyond 3 State of Time (Past, Present & Future),he is beyond 3 states of Being (Awake, dream & Deep Sleep),he resides in the “MOOLADHARA” CHAKRA. All our actions fall under one of the two categories: material or spiritual. As we know Lord Ganesha rules the ‘Mooladhara chakra’ of our body, which is the interface between the material and the spiritual worlds. Lord Ganesha controls both these worlds. He is the one who gives the material enjoyments in this world and He is the one who liberates us from the endless cycle of birth and death. Our material life as well as our spiritual journey starts from this chakra which is controlled by Lord Ganesha. It is He who prepares the Kundalini energy, when it is time to awaken and to reach nirgun nirakar swaroop (Brahman). Hence, to complete our life cycle without any obstacles, we need the blessings of Lord Ganesha. He is the one who gets rid of all the obstacles from our lives, that is why we worship Lord Ganesha before beginning any important work/task.
Historical Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi: Historical records reveal that Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations were initiated in Maharashtra by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the great Maratha ruler, to promote culture and nationalism. And it had continued ever since then. There are also references in history to similar celebrations during Peshwa times. It is believed that Lord Ganesha was the family deity of the Peshwas. After the end of Peshwa rule, Ganesh Chaturthi remained a family affair in Maharashtra from the period of 1818 to 1892. It was around 1893, when Lokmanya Tilak, brought back the tradition of Ganesh Chaturthi and reshaped the annual Ganesh festival from private family celebrations into the grand public event that it is today. Lokmanya tilak saw how Lord Ganesha was worshipped by all class of the society, being a visionary, Tilak realized the cultural importance of this deity and popularized Ganesha Chaturthi as a National Festival “to bridge the gap between Hindus and find an appropriate context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them”. He knew that India couldn’t fight her rulers until she solved the differences within her own. Hence, to unite all social classes Tilak chose Ganesha as a rallying point for Indian protest against British rule because of the wide appeal as “The god for everyman”. Tilak began to organize the Ganeshotsav as a social and religious function. He was the first to put in large public images of Ganesha in pavilions and establish the tradition of their immersion on the 10th day. The festival facilitated community participation and involvement in the form of learned discourses, dance dramas, poetry recital, musical concerts, debates, etc. It served as a meeting place for common people of all castes and communities, at a time when all social and political gatherings were forbidden by the British Empire for fear of conspiracies to be hatched against them.
Significance of Lord Ganesha’s various Body parts:
Elephant trunk: An elephant’s trunk is not used to make noise very often. But when it does – the noise is clear, loud and thundering. In the same way it is the quality of a good leader not to waste words unnecessarily but to ensure that whatever is said should be clear, well thought out and profound.
One broken tusk, one large tusk: Ganesh is shown as having one broken tusk, and one full tusk. It is said that the short tusk represents the intellect, whereas the full tusk represents shraddha (faith). The intellect is limited. Beyond the point of intellect, it is our faith that we have to rely on. Faith does not necessarily imply a religious belief. It is a conviction of our heart, a conviction in the righteousness of a cause, to go beyond our usual set boundaries. This is particularly relevant when undertaking new endeavors, hence the worship of Ganesh at this time in particular.
Large ears: Large ears relate to listening. Listening attentively to all that is going on around us, as well as to the people in our lives, is an important quality. One of the main problems in interpersonal relations is that we have poor listening abilities, and hence we don’t listen to understand.
One foot on the floor, one foot raised: This represents the Vedic teaching that an individual should live life with “one foot in the material world and one foot beyond the world”. This means, our worldly duties should be given due care and attention, but we should also cultivate a spiritual dimension to our lives which remains detached from the ups and downs of daily life. It is unbalanced living if we set all our attention to this fleeting, impermanent world, without learning to live in deeper harmony with the eternal truths of existence. It is also impartial living, if we just pursue transcendental spirituality with no heed to worldly duties and needs. A balance must be struck where spirituality enriches rather than hinders worldly pursuits. Ganesha symbolizes this balance, where spirituality and worldly duties are beautifully harmonized.
Mouse as companion: Ganpati is also called Mooshika Vahana (one who has a mouse as his vehicle).You may wonder how a small mooshik can carry on its back a hefty personality like Ganesha. Here mooshika symbolizes the darkness of ignorance because it is in darkness that the mouse moves about. Hence, as “Mooshika Vahana” he subdues ignorance and dispels darkness. The mouse is symbolic of the nature of our thoughts, because our thoughts (just like the mouse) are hard to control, and always on the move from one place to another. It is the ability to control our thoughts, keeping them at one point, which is being symbolized here. Vinayak symbolizes the qualities of a true leader in all aspects. “Viyate Nayake Iti Vinayak” meaning, He is a master unto Himself. In this world Vinayak is worshipped by many. However, Vinayak does not worship anyone as He has no master above Him.
So on this pious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, I urge everyone to reflect upon the various facets of everyone’s loving and dearest deity, Lord Ganesha. And with full faith, be united, irrespective of one’s religious orientation, to protect humanity and nurture love and happiness. This is the true Prasad, the Modak, of the lord, for everyone, since the Presiding Deity, Lord Ganesha, is the Lord of auspiciousness, new beginnings, prosperity and Happiness. Celebrate the Ganesh Chaturthi with all these qualities of the lord imbibed in you, and on the 11th day, when Ganesha leaves, and we take him for immersion, remember to immerse all feelings of hatred, grudge, anger, bitterness and all the negative emotions stored in each of you, and retain the strong positive vibrations of the 11 days of fun, happiness, love and joy. Bring out the bhakti ras in you, and celebrate the happiness of letting go of all the unwanted negativity, that is stored in you, unto the feet of the “Lord of Good things & prosperity” .Along with the daily aarti, pray for the world to be free from hatred and seek his blessings for UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, for Humanity.
May Lord Ganesha bless all of Humanity with UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
GANPATI BAPPA MORYA.
LOVE & BLESSINGS