Ganesha Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi is celebrated with great devotion all over India. Ganesha Chaturthi, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. It is believed that Lord Ganesha was born during Shukla Paksha of Bhadrapada month. Currently Ganesha Chaturthi day falls in month of August or September in English calendar.
This year Ganesha Chaturthi is on 22nd August 2020 (Saturday)
People bring home murtis (Idols) of Lord Ganesha and celebrate the festival by worshiping the Lord in a special way for a day and a half, 3 days, 5 days, 7 days or 11 days depending on the family tradition and commitment of each individual. On the last day of worship the idol is taken out in a colourful and musical procession to be immersed traditionally in water body such as a well or river or ocean
Observations include chanting of Vedic hymns and Hindu texts such as Ganapati Upanishad, prayers and vrata (fasting). Offerings and prasada from the daily prayers, that is distributed from the pandal to the community, include sweets such as modaka believed to be a favorite of the elephant-headed deity.
Gan means group. The universe is a group of atoms and different energies. This universe would be in chaos if there was no supreme law governing these diverse groups of entities.
The Lord of all these groups of atoms and energies is Ganesha. He is the supreme consciousness that pervades all and brings order in this universe. Lord Ganesha is:
- Achintya – beyond thought
- Avyakta – beyond expression
- Ananta – eternal
- Ganesha\'s big belly represents generosity and total acceptance.
- Ganesha\'s upraised hand depicts protection. It means, \'Fear not, I am with you\', and his lowered hand depicts his giving, as well as an invitation to bow down. This is also symbolic of the fact that we will all dissolve into the Earth one day.
- Ganesha also has a single tusk which signifies one-pointedness.
- He carries in his hands the \'Ankusha\' (signifying awakening) and the \'Paasha\' (signifying control). With spiritual awakening, a lot of energy is released, which without proper control, can go haywire.
- Ganesha, the elephant-headed God travels on something as small as a mouse? Isn\'t that so incongruous? Again there is symbolism here that runs deep. The mouse snips and nibbles away at ropes that bind. The mouse is like the mantra which can cut through sheaths and sheaths of ignorance, leading to the ultimate knowledge represented by Ganesha!
Our ancient Rishis were so deeply intelligent that they chose to express Divinity in terms of symbols rather than words, since words change over time, but symbols remain unchanged.
Let us keep the deep symbolism in mind as we experience the omnipresent in the form of the elephant God, yet be fully aware that Ganesha is very much within us. This is the wisdom we should carry as we celebrate Ganesh Chaturti.
There are two different versions about Ganesha's birth.
One has it that Goddess Parvati created Ganesha out of dirt off her body while having a bath and set him to guard her door while she finishes her bath. Shiva who has gone out, returned at that time, but as Ganesha didn\'t know of him, stopped him from entering. Lord Shiva got angry and severed the head of Ganesha after a combat between the two. Parvati was enraged and Shiva promised Ganesha will live again. The devas who went in search of a head facing north of a dead person could manage only the head of an elephant. Shiva fixed the elephant\'s head on the child and brought him back to life.
The other legend has it that Ganesha was created by Shiva and Parvati on request of the Devas, to be a vighnakartaa (obstacle-creator) in the path of rakshasas (demonic beings), and a vighnahartaa (obstacle-averter) to help the Devas.
Prohibited Moon Sighting on Ganesha Chaturthi:
It is believed that one should not sight the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi. Sighting moon on Ganesh Chaturthi creates Mithya Dosham / Mithya Kalank (कलंक) which means false accusation of stealing something.
As per Puranic legends Lord Krishna was falsely accused of stealing precious jewel named Syamantaka. After seeing plights of Lord Krishna, Sage Narada informed that Lord Krishna sighted moon on the day of Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi and because of that he has been cursed with Mithya Dosha. Sage Narada further informed Lord Krishna that God Chandra has been cursed by Lord Ganesha that anyone who sighted moon on Shukla Chaturthi during Bhadrapada month would be cursed with Mithya Dosha and would be tainted and dishonoured in the society. On the advice of sage Narada Lord Krishna observed Ganesha Chaturthi fasting to get rid of Mithya Dosha.
Mithya Dosha Prevention Mantra:
Depending on start and end time of Chaturthi Tithi, sighting of moon might be prohibited for two consecutive days. Moon should not be sighted while Chaturthi Tithi is prevailing. Further, Moon risen during Chaturthi should not be sighted even if Chaturthi Tithi gets over before moonset. If anyone has mistakenly sighted moon on Ganesha Chaturthi then he should chant following Mantra to get rid of the curse:
सिंहः प्रसेनमवधीत्सिंहो जाम्बवता हतः।
सुकुमारक मारोदीस्तव ह्येष स्यमन्तकः॥
Simhah Prasenamavadhitsimho Jambavata Hatah।
Sukumaraka Marodistava Hyesha Syamantakah॥