I worship the Lord with a curved trunk and huge body with the effulgence of a core sun. Let him remove the obstacles to all my deeds and lead them to fulfillment.
Ganpati Bappa, the elephant headed God, son of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati has an interesting story of his birth. Parvati created him with her shakti. When she went for a bath she asked her son to guard the gate of her palace. Ganpati followed his mother’s instructions obediently, when Lord Shiva comes to meet his wife, Devi Parvati, Ganpati stops him from entering the palace saying my mother said not to allow anyone inside. This makes Shiva furious and in the fight with Ganpati, Lord Shiva cuts his head off. Parvati see’s this and says that she wants their son alive. Then his head is replaced by the head of an elephant and Shiva brings Ganpati back to life. Ganpati is the first God to be worshiped in any ritual according to Hindu mythology.
The symbolic description is as follows: Huge head – think big. Small eyes – concentrate. Large ears – listen more. Axe – cut off all bonds of attachments. Small mouth – talk less. Two tusks – retain good throw away bad. Rope – pulls you near the highest goal. Big trunk – high efficiency and adaptability. Blessings – blesses and protects on the spiritual path of life. Large stomach – peacefully digest all good and bad in life. Modak – rewards of sadhana. Mouse – desires unless under control can cause havoc. Prasad – the whole world is at your feet.
The 10 day festival starts from Shukla Chaturthi in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada and ends on Anant Chaturthi.
Mainly categorized in four parts –
- Pranapratistha -This is for positioning of the idol of Ganpati Bappa into the house/pandals. People pray and sing various songs in his praise.
- Shodasopachara – Means we are supposed to pray and offer puja to our dear Ganpati Bappa.
- Uttarpuja –This happens on the last day, that is Ganpati Bappa Visarjan. At this stage, the idol is immersed into a river, lake or sea. This is the 10th day of the festival and Ganpati goes to be with his parents.
Ganesh Chaturthi is an auspicious festival for people all over India. They start cleaning their houses and decorations for his arrival weeks before. Lokmanya Tilak, the “Father of Indian Unrest” is the man behind bringing this festivity from the home out on the streets of Pune in 1892, when public gatherings were banned by Britishers. The festival provided a reason for people to gather in public thus helping to spread the desire for freedom.
Months before craftsmen start making the idols of the god using clay, plaster of paris, natural fibre, and recycled materials too. Every year they come up with new ideas and create new master pieces. These days due to rising awareness about pollution and the ecological damage that plaster of paris idols cause, a large percentage of the idols are now made out of eco-friendly material.
Ganeshotsav is a festival unlike any other in India and it is one which people start looking forward to, the day it ends.