Friday, 22 August 2014

Ganapati.... God of Good Luck

The Ganapati festival commemorating Ganapati's birth, occurs in August - September, and is celebrated in India for nine to twelve days with pomp and glare. In Tamil Nadu it is known as 'Vinayakachaturthi' or 'Pillayar Chaturthi'.

On the first day of the celebration, people bring home colourful idols of Ganpati to pray to. Huge idols, some as tall as seventy feet high, are brought to common places for community worship. People prepare sweets like Modak, Ladoo and sing songs before these idols. For the following nine days, people visit each other homes, and believe that seeing the different idols of Ganpati will bring them good luck. On the final day of celebration, the Ganpati idols are taken from the homes to the sea, in a grand manner by singing songs, dancing, playing drums and by distributing sweets, to be immersed in the sea water.

In the state of Maharashtra the festival is celebrated in grand manner and on a large scale. In certain places the huge idols of Ganapati are adorned with more than 60 kilos of gold  and 175 kilos of silver. On the last day of celebration, it is indeed a sight to see, as thousands upon thousands of Ganapati idols are carried on the streets of Mumbai/Bombay to be immersed in the sea. The roads of Mumbai/Bombay are covered with an ocean of heads as every single person steps outside to enjoy the occasion and they give a loving send off to Ganapati, by singing songs in the local language asking him come back again next year. The processions last up to thirty hours and is quite possibly the world's largest public celebration.

Ganesha or Ganapati with many other names the roly-poly elephant-headed son of Siva and Parvathi is probably the most popular God in the pantheon. Wise,thoughtful and well versed in the scriptures, he is invoked by worshippers before every undertaking to assure success.

Ganpati Puja At Home
Story of Ganapati:

According to the legends, he is the son of Shiva (Shiva - one of Hinduism's two mightiest gods, represents power, whatever his aspect - the fierce ascetic; the demon slayer entwined in snakes and wearing a head-dress of skulls; the Lord of creation, dancing in a circle of fire; the male symbol of fertility. He is more than other Gods, he is a composite of older gods, cults and myths reaching back to India's prehistory.)  

Parvati, Shiva's wife, was the daughter of The Himalaya mountains and the sister of the river Ganges. With love, she lured Shiva from his asceticism; she represents the unity of God and Goddess, man and woman. 

Ganapati was the elder brother of  Skanda-Kartikeya (Karthikeya-younger son of Shiva and Parvati was interested in fighting wars. With six heads and twelve arms he leads his celestial legions from the back of a colourful Peacock.)

The birth of Ganapati varies. Some of them assigning him to a single parent, either Shiva or Parvati or is the offspring of both. (Either Ganapati sprang out of Shiva's forehead or he was made by Parvati out of the oil she used in her bath or he was borne off Shiva and Parvati who had assumed the form of an elephant pair) The origin of Ganapati differs in the aeons of creation and he believed to be a bachelor god.

The God has the face of an elephant, he has a twisted trunk,one tusk and full belly. He rides a rat. He puts obstacles in the paths perused by men and removes them too. He bestows success on those who seek his grace and protects them. His idols are found in temples, house holds, cross roads, river crossings, on tank-bunds, beneath holy trees and in fact in all sorts of odd corners and difficult places. People invoke his name and worship him at the commencement of every undertaking. They inscribe his symbol before beginning to write anything - in the accounts or in literary pieces, letters or even casual lists of purchases. While praying to his idol they make gestures expressing penitence for wrongs done, and break coconuts as thanksgiving for successes achieved.

                                          Mumbai/Bombay's Ganpatis at the Celebration



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