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Ganeshotsava: Ten Days Festival Of Ganesha, The Lord Of Beginning, Purity, Wisdom and Collectivity; Remover of Obstacles

Vanita Thakkar is an Entrepreneur - an Engineer-Researcher-Consultant and an Artist - Singer-Composer-Poetess-Writer from Vadodara, Gujarat.

Ganeshotsava is celebrated for ten days in the month of Bhadrapada, from the fourth day to the fourteenth day of Shukla Paksha (the brighter fortnight, from full moon to new moon), during which Ganesha, the Lord of Beginning, Purity, Intelligence, Knowledge and Wisdom and the Lord of Collectivity, hence, the Lord of Leadership and Unity; the Remover of Obstacles - is worshipped.

Ganesha - The Lord of Beginning, Purity, Knowldege and Wisdom, Collectivity and the Remover of Obstacles ....

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Who is Ganesha ?

Ganesha or Ganapati, the son of Lord Shiva and Maa Paarvati, is the Hindu Deity of Beginning, Purity, Knowledge and Wisdom, the Lord of Collectivity, hence, the Lord of Leadership and Unity and the Remover of Obstacles ....

The name / word Ganesha is a combination of two words, Gana, meaning group / multitude / community / categorical system and isha, meaning Lord or Master. Hence, Ganesha or Ganapati is the Lord of Collectivity - the Lord of Leadership and Unity.

Ganesha's life symbolizes that Success in Life is a result of blessings of parents .... Ganesha had won the contest of going round the world with his elder brother Lord Kartikeya by revolving thrice  around his parents, whom he called His World ....

Ganesha's life symbolizes that Success in Life is a result of blessings of parents .... Ganesha had won the contest of going round the world with his elder brother Lord Kartikeya by revolving thrice around his parents, whom he called His World ....

Ganesha - The Lord of Beginnings ....

Ganesha, the Lord of Leadership and Unity, is the first among many and shoulders the responsibilities of many.

Ganesha is the first to be worshipped and is called Prathama Poojita, meaning the one who is worshipped first, in the beginning of every auspicious occasion / event.

Here, Prathama means first and Poojita means worshipped. That is because, Ganesha is the personification of Purity, Knowledge and Wisdom, which gives him the name - Vinaayaka, one who embodies and bestows Vinaya (or Vivek) ....

  • Purity - purity of intent, thought, word and action;
  • Knowledge - that is beneficial to Self, which includes the small self we tend to / learn to define ourselves as and our true infinite self that is One.
  • Wisdom - the knowledge / discretion / experience / insight of differentiation as well as assimilation / integration, that translates to a well-lived life, balanced and fulfilled as regards physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of existence.

Beginning is the first step to any venture and a beginning based on the Purity, Knowledge and Wisdom that Ganesha personifies is the one that receives His Grace and Blessings.

Hence, it is customary to worship Ganesha at the beginning of every occasion, be it celebrating a festival, marriage ceremony, opening ceremonies of business / enterprise / new home or office and so on ....

Even during regular prayers, first remembering Shree Ganesha is a widely practiced tradition.

Ganesha - The Lord of Purity, Knowledge, Intelligence and Wisdom .... The Lord of Beginning ....

Ganesha - The Lord of Purity, Knowledge, Intelligence and Wisdom .... The Lord of Beginning ....

Ganesha - The Vighnesha, The Lord of Obstacles and The Vighnahartaa, The Remover of Obstacles

The Lord of Beginnings, Ganesha also steers the progress which follows a beginning, as the Vighnesha, the Lord of Obstacles - another relevant, related and very important attribute of the Energy our Ganesha personifies.

Vighnesha, again is a combination of two words, Vighna meaning obstacles and isha meaning Lord or Master.

Ganesha being Vighnesha is the Lord of obstacles, One who controls and removes obstacles.

Being the Remover of Obstacles, Ganesha is also called Vighnahartaa, One who destroys obstacles.

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Reflections ....

People often think a "good intent" is everything that is needed. Any means to fulfill the intent are fine, so long as the desired end result is attained. Such by-hook-or-crook tendencies are the root cause of majority of the problems prevailing at various levels and scales, all around the world.

A thief has the intention of becoming wealthy, to have a comfortable life for himself and his family. That intention in itself is not bad. The choice of means to fulfill that intention requires a change over.

This reminds of the tale of transformation of the great Sage Maharshi Valmiki, who wrote the Raamaayana, from a dacoit to a sage ....

  • It is said that Sage Valmiki was earlier a dacoit, who robbed people passing through the jungles where he resided.
  • Once, he tried to rob the Saptarishis or the Seven Sages passing through the forest.
  • The Seven Sages, Saptarishis are the seven seers of Vedic India after whom the stars of the Saptarishi constellation (popular as Ursa Major constellation in contemporary astronomy) are named in Ancient Indian Astronomy.
  • They asked the dacoit as to why he was leading such a life. He answered that he was doing everything for the sake of his family.
  • They asked him to go to his family and ask if they were ready to share and bear the burdens of the consequences of his wrong deeds.
  • Each of his family members denied accepting any consequences of his deeds as they said he is solely responsible for his choice of how he performs his duty.
  • This was an eye-opener for him. He left everything to perform penance, guided by the Saptarishis, at the end of which he emerged as the great Sage Valmiki.

If we look around, there seems to be a flood of good causes everywhere, all around - social, environmental, gender related, related to "religion" and so on .... So many people have worked and so many, many are still working .... Still the chaos keep rising. Why ? The reason behind this could only be - misdirected, mismanaged, mishandled means .... These definitely are issues concerning leadership - how collective strength of groups / multitudes is being managed. Also, these are issues concerning Education and Culture - both being very intricately and inseparably connected and which strongly influence community life.

Ganesha as Vighnesha, is the embodiment of that Energy, that Power which regulates the subtle balances of means and ends.

Be it a leader or a follower, the immense and significant strength of collectivity has to be utilized judiciously. That is possible by being honest to one's responsibilities.

Would you conclude from the above that ....

Ganeshotsava - Ten Days of Festivities and Celebrations for Worshipping Ganesha ....

In the monsoon month of Bhadrapada as per the Hindu Lunar Calendar, the ten days beginning from the fourth day (Ganesha Chaturthee), to the fourteenth day (Anant Chaturdashee), of the Shukla Paksha (the brighter fortnight, between full moon to new moon days), Ganeshotsava is celebrated by people who believe in and follow the Hindu religion / thought / philosophy of life.

The idol of Ganesha is consecrated on the first day of the festival - Ganesha Chaturthee. The idol is a symbol of the form of the formless, infinite Ganesha. There are several prayers of Lord Ganesha in the Vedas. The Ganapati Atharvasheersha - an ancient and powerful Vedic hymn describes Ganesha as One with every Deity, Direction, Time and Timelessness .... which means Ganesha is the Absolute Truth.

Mythological Background ....

According to mythology, Ganesha was a very dutiful son of his mother, Maa Paarvati. One day, while she went to take bath, Maa Paarvati asked Ganesha to be on guard and not allow anyone to enter the house. Lord Shiva, his father, came after a while and Ganesha prevented him from entering the house. Shiva got annoyed. The argument between them on the matter of denying Shiva an entry into his own home and Ganesha's obedience and devotion towards his mother, turned serious. In the battle that followed, angry Shiva's Trishul (trident) blew away Ganesha's head. When Maa Paarvati came there, her grief at the loss of her son filled Lord Shiva with a deep sense of remorse. He replaced Ganesha's head with the head of a baby elephant that could be found suitable enough for replacement and brought him back to life. This is how Ganesha has the head of an elephant.

Shiva replaces little Ganesha's head with that of a baby elephant and brings him back to life ....

Shiva replaces little Ganesha's head with that of a baby elephant and brings him back to life ....

However, there is a symbolic significance of the form of Lord Ganesha, as can be seen explained in the picture below ....

Ganesha Symbolism

Ganesha Symbolism

Ganeshotsav Celebrations ....

Introduction ....

The Ganeshotsava celebrations take place at a very large scale.

Lord Ganesha is fondly and popularly called Ganapati Bappa.

Millions of Ganesha idol are consecrated in households all over the world. The themes and decorations of Ganapati Bappa's comfortable and joyous stay bring out best of creativities among devotees that please and commend appreciation of every beholder.

There are community celebrations as well, in which huge idols are consecrated and worshipped for maximum ten days with great enthusiasm and devotion. Various programmes are organized as a part of the celebrations that attract millions of devotees and audiences.

In Maharashtra and Gujarat, Ganeshotsava is specially significant. Ganeshotsava celebrations of Mumbai and Pune are very famous. In Mumbai Siddhi Vinaayaka and Lalbaug Cha Raja is a special attraction for devotees from all over the world. In Pune, we have Dagadu Sheth Ganapati blessing devotees for more than two centuries now.

In 1893, freedom fighter and leader Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak had started large scale public celebrations of Ganeshotsava to unite people and to arouse patriotism, awareness and understanding of cultural values among masses.

Siddhivinayak Ganapati, Mumbai ....

Siddhivinayak Ganapati, Mumbai ....

How is Ganapati Bappa worshipped ?

Twice a day, once each in the morning and evening, Aarti is done, during which the Aarti song describing the glory of Lord Ganesha is sung, along with offerings of lit lamps.

Ganapati Bappa is believed to be very fond of Laddoos. So, Laddoos and other such sweets are offered as Prasaad during the Aarti Pooja.

Lunch and Dinner are also offered regularly, in which varieties of delicacies are prepared and offered to Ganapati Bappa.

Calling out Ganapati Bappa Morayaa .... , Mangalmurti Morayaa .... is a tradition that fills devotees with joy, enthusiasm and devotion and can be heard almost in every lane and by-lane of every city and town and village during Ganeshotsava celebrations.

Ganapati Celebrations in my Society, my neighbourhood this year .... The idols are eco-friendly clay idols that will be immersed here itself in a big vessel full of water. The clay water that will finally remain will be fed to plants ....

Ganapati Celebrations in my Society, my neighbourhood this year .... The idols are eco-friendly clay idols that will be immersed here itself in a big vessel full of water. The clay water that will finally remain will be fed to plants ....

Bidding farewell to Ganesha - Visarjan ....

On the tenth day, after special pooja and offerings, Ganapati Bappa is given a grand farewell. This day is called Ananta Chaturdashi.

Ananta means infinite. It is the day when Bappa returns to his ever-present infinite form.

The idols are immersed in river or lake or pond or big enough water reservoir.

The processions carrying the idols are colourful and musical with lots of merriment, dancing, singing and rejoicing. The atmosphere resounds with "Ganapati Bappa Morayaa ....", urging Bappa to be back soon in the following year.

Huge idols of Ganesha being immersed in the sea at Mumbai during Visarjan .... There are environmental concerns connected to this. Now, eco-friendly small idols are gaining popularity ....

Huge idols of Ganesha being immersed in the sea at Mumbai during Visarjan .... There are environmental concerns connected to this. Now, eco-friendly small idols are gaining popularity ....

Ganapati Bappa Morayaa !!

May Ganesha bestow Purity, Intelligence, Knowledge and Wisdom to His Devotees!!

May the ongoing Ganeshotsava bring Health and Happiness, Peace and Prosperity to All!!


Comments

Vanita Thakkar (author) on September 14, 2021:

Thanks, Vidyaji. So happy to hear from you on this article !!

I am glad you enjoyed it.

Happy Ganeshotsava to you and everyone at your place !!

VIDYA D SAGAR on September 13, 2021:

Hi Vanita, thanks for this wonderful article detailing the spiritual significance and the magnificence of this important festival so dear to all of us in India. I enjoyed reading it. May Lord Ganapati shower his blessings on you and your loved ones.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on September 13, 2021:

Thanks a lot, John. I am very happy that you found it informative, interesting and enriching.

I just read somewhere that you have received an award. Many, Many Congratulations to you. May this award pave way for many more achievements.

Best regards to you.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 13, 2021:

Vanita, this was very interesting and informative. Thank you for sharing. It increased my knowledge greatly.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on September 13, 2021:

Thanks, dear Brenda. Very happy to hear from you.

Yes, idols are symbolic. And the basic objective of all festivals is to keep awareness about one or more principle(s) / value(s) that are socially as well as spiritually relevant, alive and awake. Ans they do bring people together.

You got it right.

I love reading your elaborations / reviews on poems and articles - systematically detailed. You are doing a wonderful job.

Have a great week ahead.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on September 13, 2021:

Thanks, dear Peggy. I always look forward to your comments.

I am very happy to learn that you found the article enjoyable and enriching.

Best regards to you.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on September 13, 2021:

Thanks, Bill. Your comments are always welcome.

Have a great week ahead.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on September 13, 2021:

Thanks, Umeshbhai. Happy Ganeshotsava to you and everyone at your end, too.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on September 13, 2021:

Thanks, Teodora for coming by, reading and leaving such a lovely comments. Feeling drawn to Ganesha is a sign of great competence and luck.

Internet and social media have brought forth so many revelations / facts, that were either vaguely known or just heard of once upon a time, such as - Ganesha is greatly loved globally .... We get to know about Ganesha being worshipped in South-East Asia, African countries, and of course, in Europe and the two American continents, not only by people of Indian origin, but by the natives as well.

I wonder if you have ever visited India. I am sure you will enjoy and feel elated and expanded.

I read a couple of your articles. I am glad to have met you here. I hope we will remain connected.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 12, 2021:

Vanita

Thanks for sharing this with us.

In my culture we know nothing about this.

We don't worship idols.

This festival is interesting and seems to promote good values.

It brings others together.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 12, 2021:

Hi Vanita,

Thanks for describing in depth the meanings behind the ten day festival and all about Ganesha and the teachings. I enjoyed learning about the good values that are taught.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 12, 2021:

Thank you for the cultural lesson.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on September 12, 2021:

Well presented. Happy Ganeshotsava.

Teodora Gheorghe on September 12, 2021:

Even though I was not born in India, I have always felt drawn to this country and to Ganesh for some reason. He inspires so much wisdom and purity. Great article!

Vanita Thakkar (author) on September 12, 2021:

Thanks, Misbah.

Happy Ganeshotsava to you too.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on September 12, 2021:

Vanita, Happy Ganeshotsava to you. Enjoy and have a great Sunday.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on September 12, 2021:

Thanks, Brother Manatita.

I am happy that you liked the article.

Happy Ganeshotsava to you too.

Best regards.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on September 12, 2021:

Thanks, M G Singhji for your nice comments. Much appreciated.

manatita44 from london on September 12, 2021:

Quite detailed account, to include even how Lord Ganesha got his head.

Happy Ganeshotsava! Your holy shrines are elaborate and sublime! The Hari Krishna's have a similar format.

I love the spiritual significance related to Sri Ganesha's body parts. Like that of the ears and the axe for severing attachments. Enjoy your celebrations. Excellent article.

PS My friend Pavitrata, totally loves Lord Ganesh and we sometimes dedicate a small shrine to him and read things that Guru ji has said.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on September 12, 2021:

Vanita, so nice you wrote about Ganeshotsava. This is one of the premier Hindu festivals and deserves to be showcased to the world. He is the gentle god who fulfills all wishes of those who come to pray to him.

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