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Ganesha Chaturthi - Birthday of Ganesha

supreme lord ganesh

SALUTATIONS to Lord Ganesha who is Brahman Himself, who is the Supreme Lord, who is the energy of Lord Shiva, who is the source of all bliss, and who is the bestower of all virtuous qualities and success in all undertakings.

Mushikavaahana modaka hastha, Chaamara karna vilambitha sutra,
Vaamana rupa maheshwara putra, Vighna vinaayaka paada namasthe

"O Lord Vinayaka! the remover of all obstacles, the son of Lord Shiva, with a form which is very short, with mouse as Thy vehicle, with sweet pudding in hand, with wide ears and long hanging trunk, I prostrate at Thy lotus-like Feet!"

Shri Ganesha is the elephant-headed God, who is the lord of obstacles, success, intelligence, writing, Jyotish (astrology) and wisdom.  He is always invoked before the beginning of any undertaking. His Names are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun, before any kind of Vedic ceremony is commenced.  

Ganesh Chaturthi

ganesh chathurthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Vedic festivals. This is the birthday of Ganesha. It is the day most sacred to Ganesha. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September). It is observed throughout India, as well as by devotees in all parts of the world.

A life-like clay statue of Lord Ganesha is made 2-3 months prior to the day of Ganesh Chaturthi. The size of this figure may vary from 3/4th of an inch to over 25 feet. The statue is colorfully painted.  On the day of the festival, it is placed on raised platforms in homes or in elaborately decorated outdoor tents and adorned with beautiful clothes, flower garlands, etc. for people to view and pay their homage. The Vedic pandit, usually clad in red silk dhoti and shawl, then invokes prana into the statue amidst the chanting of mantras. This ritual is called 'pranapratishhtha'. After this the 'shhodashopachara' (16 ways of paying tribute) follows. Coconut, jaggery (raw sugar), 21 'modakas' (sweet rice flour balls), 21 'durva' (grass) blades and red flowers are offered. The Ganesha statue is anointed with red unguent or sandal paste (rakta chandan). Throughout the 10-day ceremony, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda and Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted.  

On the 11th day, after the final offerings of coconuts, flowers, fruit and ghee and camphor lamps are made, people carry the statue through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, to be immersed in the water of a river, lake or the sea, where the clay will disolve, symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord Ganesha in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of all man. All join in this final procession shouting "Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya" (O father Ganesha, come again early next year).  

story of sri ganesh

 Story of Shri Ganesha

Shri Ganesha is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and the elder brother of Skanda or Kartikeya. He is the energy of Lord Shiva,and so He is called the son of Shankara (Shiva) and Umadevi (Parvati).  The following story is narrated about His birth and how He came to have the head of an elephant:

ganesh and family

Lord Shiva was away and his wife Parvati, wanted to bathe and having no-one to guard the door to her house, she conceived of the idea of creating a son who could guard her. Parvati created Ganesha out of the sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at her door and instructed him not to let anyone enter.

In the meantime, Lord Shiva returned but as Ganesha did not know him, he stopped Shiva from entering Parvati's chamber. Shiva, enraged by Ganesh’s impudence, drew his trident and cut off Ganesha's head. Parvati emerged to find Ganesha decapitated and she was sorely grieved. To console her grief, Shiva ordered his servants to cut off and bring to Him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant's head was brought before Shiva. The Lord then joined the elephant's head onto the body of Ganesha.

Parvati was overjoyed and embraced her son, the elephant-headed boy whom Shiva named Ganesha, the lord of his ganas. Lord Shiva announced that everyone who worships Ganesha before any other form of God is favoured. So Ganesha is worshipped first in all Vedic ceremonies and festivals.  Shiva ordained that the annual worship of Ganesha should take place on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapada.

ganesh and shiva

Shri Ganesha is invoked and propitiated with the mantra Om Gam Ganapataye Namah or Om Shri Ganeshaya Namah.

Also, devotees recite his gayatri mantra:

Tat purushaya vidmahe
Vakratundaya dhimahi
Tanno dhanti prachodayat

Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom and bliss. He has as his vehicle a small mouse. He is the presiding Deity of the Muladhara Chakra, the psychic centre in the body in which the Kundalini Shakti resides.

He is the Lord who removes all obstacles on the path of the spiritual aspirant, and bestows upon him worldly as well as spiritual success. Hence He is called Vigna Vinayaka. He is the Lord of harmony and peace.

Lord Ganesha represents Om or the Pranava. This explains the practice of invoking Ganesha before beginning any rite or undertaking any project. His two feet represent the power of knowledge and the power of action. The elephant head is significant in that it is the only figure in nature that has the form of the symbol for Om.

Ganesha is the first God. Riding on a mouse, one of nature's smallest creatures and having the head of an elephant, the biggest of all animals, denotes that Ganesha is the creator of all creatures. Elephants are very wise animals; this indicates that Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom.

He is the Lord of Ganas or groups, for instance groups of elements, groups of senses, etc. He is the head of the followers of Shiva or the celestial servants of Lord Shiva.  Lord Ganesha's two powers are the Kundalini and the Vallabha or power of love.

In the Ganapathi Upanishad, Ganesha is identified with the Supreme Self. The legends that are connected with Lord Ganesha are recorded in the Ganesha Khanda of the Brahma Vivartha Purana.

May you always enjoy all the blessings of Shri Ganesha.  May He remove all the obstacles that stand in your spiritual path! May He bestow upon you all success and material prosperity as well as enlightenment.


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