Difference between revisions of "Ganesh Chaturthi"

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
(Origin of Ganesha)
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<small>By Shri Sudheer Birodkar</small>
 
<small>By Shri Sudheer Birodkar</small>
  
Ganesh-Chaturthi is the festival devoted to Ganesh the elephant-headed God.
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Ganesha Chaturthi is an Indian festival devoted to Ganesh the elephant-headed God. The festival celebrated around August is also called Ganeshotsava.
  
 
[[image:ganesh1.jpg|thumb]]
 
[[image:ganesh1.jpg|thumb]]
During the Ganehchaturthi festival, clay idols of Ganesha are specially prepared and most families in Maharashtra install an idol for periods varying from two days to eleven days. During the period when the idol of Ganesha is installed in a home, every morning and evening prayers (Aarti) are performed and hymns are sung. The singing of hymns is a popular event during this festival, especially for children. The hymns are sung to the clanging of small gongs (called jhanja), the sounds of which reverberate throughout the day .
+
During the festival, clay idols of Ganesha are specially prepared and most families in India install this idol for periods varying from two days to eleven days. During this time, prayers (Aarti) are performed and hymns are sung every morning and evening, a popular event during this festival especially for children. The hymns are sung to the clanging of small gongs (called jhanja), the sounds of which reverberate throughout the day.
 
+
The festival ends with the ceremony of immersion of the idols in the sea or rivers and wells. This ceremony which is called Ganesha-Visarjan which means immersion of Ganesha is as popular as the festival proper. During the immersion ceremony huge crowds move in a procession carrying idols of Ganesha towards the places of immersion. These processions which take place with great fanfare, begins in the afternoon and continue till the late hours of the night. Although this festival is observed in all parts of the country, it is celebrated with maximum fervour in Maharashtra where it is celebrated both publicly and privately.
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This festival occurs on the fourth day (chaturthi). Ganesh Chaturthi occurs around August.During the festival, clay idols of Ganesha are specially prepared and most familiei install an idol for periods varying from two days to eleven days. During the period when the idol of Ganesha is installed in a home, every morning and evening prayers (Aarti) are performed and hymns are sung. The singing of hymns is a popular event during this festival, especially for children. The hymns are sung to the clanging of small gongs (called jhanja), the sounds of which reverberate throughout the day.  
+
  
 
==The Visarjan (immersion) Processions and Ceremony==
 
==The Visarjan (immersion) Processions and Ceremony==
  
The festival ends with the ceremony of immersion of the idols in the sea or rivers and wells. This ceremony which is called Ganesha-Visarjan which means immersion of Ganesha is as popular as the festival proper. During the immersion ceremony huge crowds move in a procession carrying idols of Ganesha towards the places of immersion. These processions which take place with great fanfare, begins in the afternoon and continue till the late hours of the night.
+
The festival ends with the ceremony of immersion of the idols in the sea, rivers and wells. The ceremony, called Ganesha-Visarjan(immersion of Ganesha), is as popular as the festival proper. Huge crowds move in a procession carrying idols of Ganesha towards the places of immersion. These processions which take place with great fanfare, begins in the afternoon and continue till the late hours of the night.  
  
 
Although this festival is observed in all parts of the country, it is celebrated with maximum fervour in Maharashtra where it is celebrated both publicly and privately. Apart from the small idols of Ganesha that are installed in various houses, there are also many public celebrations called Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava.  
 
Although this festival is observed in all parts of the country, it is celebrated with maximum fervour in Maharashtra where it is celebrated both publicly and privately. Apart from the small idols of Ganesha that are installed in various houses, there are also many public celebrations called Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava.  
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==The Public Celebrations of Ganesh-Chaturthi - Started by Lokmanya Tilak==
 
==The Public Celebrations of Ganesh-Chaturthi - Started by Lokmanya Tilak==
  
In these public celebrations huge images of Ganesha ranging from 10 feet to 40 feet are installed and alongwith the daily prayers and hymns, there are entertainment programmes which are a major attraction. Till the turn of the last century, this festival was celebrated only in homes and temples. But during the struggle for independence against British rule, Lokmanya Tilak (an important freedom fighter who led the Indian freedom struggle before Mahatma Gandhi took over) gave it the form of a public festival. Tilak did this so as to cleverly broadcast his political message of freedom for India.
+
In these public celebrations huge idols of Ganesha ranging from 10 feet to 40 feet are installed and along with the daily prayers and hymns, there are entertainment programmes, a major attraction. Till the turn of the last century, this festival was celebrated only in homes and temples. But during the struggle for independence against British rule, Lokmanya Tilak (an important freedom fighter who led the Indian freedom struggle before Mahatma Gandhi took over) gave it the form of a public festival. Tilak did this so as to cleverly broadcast his political message of freedom for India.
  
Carried out in the garb of a religious activity, it was difficult for the British Administration to curb it. But the festival once having acquired a public form for a political purpose, retained that form even after the political purpose did not exist. Hence even today in independent India Ganeshotsava is celebrated both publicly and privately.  
+
Carried out in the garb of a religious activity, it was difficult for the British Administration to curb it. But the festival, once having acquired a public form for a political purpose, retained that form even after the independence.  
  
 
==Origin of Ganesha==
 
==Origin of Ganesha==
 
[[image:ganesh2.jpg|thumb]]
 
[[image:ganesh2.jpg|thumb]]
But parallel to all the rationalization of this phenomenon, mythology has an equally enthralling account that explains the birth (or more properly the creation) of this curious half-man, half-elephant God called Gajanana or Ganesha. Ganesha is a unique deity. He is no ordinary God, but is like the first among equals. All prayers start with the invocation "Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha" meaning Salutations to You O Ganesha. Shastra offers an explanation on Ganesha's elephant head as well as for his being a first among the Gods. The divine couple of Shiva and Parvati had remained childless for a long time after the birth of their first son Kartikeya.  
+
But parallel to all the rationalization of this phenomenon, mythology has an equally enthralling account that explains the birth (or more properly the creation) of this curious half-man, half-elephant God called Gajanana or Ganesha, a unique deity. He is no ordinary God, but is like the first among equals. All prayers start with the invocation "Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha" meaning Salutations to You O Ganesha.  
  
 
===Parvati makes Ganesha from Clay and Infuses Life in the Idol===
 
===Parvati makes Ganesha from Clay and Infuses Life in the Idol===
  
Parvati's motherly instincts made her yearn for a son and Shiva's long absence from home intensified her yearning due to loneliness. On day a bright idea came to her mind, she decided to mould a statue of clay in the form of a son. Having created this the idol satisfied her yearning for a son. She used her divine power to bring the clay idol to life. Happy as she was to have the company of a son, she went about her chores, many a times leaving the boy in charge of the house.  
+
Shastras offer an explanation on Ganesha's elephant head as well as for his being a first among the Gods.The divine couple of Shiva and Parvati had remained childless for a long time after the birth of their first son Kartikeya. Parvati's motherly instincts made her yearn for a son and Shiva's long absence from home intensified her yearning. On day, she decided to mould a statue of clay in the form of a son. She used her divine power to bring the clay idol to life to sstisfy her yearning. Happy as she was to have the company of a son, she went about her chores, many a times leaving the boy in charge of the house.  
  
 
===Shiva Confronts Ganesha===
 
===Shiva Confronts Ganesha===
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One fine day while Parvati was busy with her daily ablutions, Shiva turned up and saw Parvati's son Ganesha, guarding the entrance to his house.
 
One fine day while Parvati was busy with her daily ablutions, Shiva turned up and saw Parvati's son Ganesha, guarding the entrance to his house.
  
Strangers as they were to each other the son (Ganesha) refused allow Shiva to enter the house. Taken aback at being prevented from entering his own house, Shiva asked this tiny sentinel who he was. On being told that he was Parvati's son Shiva was confounded and enraged, at this insolence. In a fit of anger Shiva chopped off his head and threw it away.  
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Strangers as they were to each other the son (Ganesha) refused allow Shiva to enter the house. Taken aback at being prevented from entering his own house, Shiva asked this tiny sentinel who he was. On being told that he was Parvati's son, Shiva was confounded and Shiva chopped off his head and threw it away in a fit of anger.  
  
 
===Shiva fetches an Elephant's Head for the Beheaded Ganesha===
 
===Shiva fetches an Elephant's Head for the Beheaded Ganesha===
  
When Parvati heard about this outrage she lost her temper and she demanded that Shiva restore her son to life immediately. Compelled to appease Parvati, Shiva set out to find the head of her son. Hard as he tried, he could not find the head that he had chopped off and thrown away in disgust. As he could not find the head he wanted, he thought of fitting the headless body with the head of any living being that he would come across. Having so resolved he came across a baby elephant and true to his word, Shiva chopped off the elephant's head, carried it to his beloved and to pacify her, he fitted it to the lifeless body of her son and revived him. This was how the Lord Gajanana or Gaja-Mukha came into being.  
+
When Parvati heard about this outrage she lost her temper and demanded that Shiva restore her son to life immediately. Compelled to appease Parvati, Shiva set out to find the head of her son. Hard as he tried, he could not find the head that he had chopped off and thrown away in disgust. As he could not find the head he wanted, he thought of fitting the headless body with the head of any living being that he would come across. He came across a baby elephant and true to his word, Shiva chopped off the elephant's head, fitted it to the lifeless body and revived him. This was how the Lord Gajanana or Gaja-Mukha came into being.  
  
 
===Ganesha become the first among the Gods===
 
===Ganesha become the first among the Gods===
  
To atone for his deed Shiva also granted a special status to Gajanana by issuing a divine decree that thence forth Gajanana would be the first to be invoked in every prayer and only after this, could the invocation of any pther God takes place. This was how the elephant-headed Ganesha got to acquire his privileged position. In deference to the decree of lord Shiva, Hindus today, continue to regard Ganesha as the first God to be invoked in any prayer.
+
To atone for his deed, Shiva also granted a special status to Gajanana by issuing a divine decree that thence forth Gajanana would be the first to be invoked in every prayer and only after this, could the invocation of any pther God takes place. In deference to the decree of lord Shiva, Hindus today, continue to regard Ganesha as the first God to be invoked in any prayer.
  
 
==References==
 
==References==

Revision as of 15:01, 11 February 2013

By Shri Sudheer Birodkar

Ganesha Chaturthi is an Indian festival devoted to Ganesh the elephant-headed God. The festival celebrated around August is also called Ganeshotsava.

Ganesh1.jpg

During the festival, clay idols of Ganesha are specially prepared and most families in India install this idol for periods varying from two days to eleven days. During this time, prayers (Aarti) are performed and hymns are sung every morning and evening, a popular event during this festival especially for children. The hymns are sung to the clanging of small gongs (called jhanja), the sounds of which reverberate throughout the day.

The Visarjan (immersion) Processions and Ceremony

The festival ends with the ceremony of immersion of the idols in the sea, rivers and wells. The ceremony, called Ganesha-Visarjan(immersion of Ganesha), is as popular as the festival proper. Huge crowds move in a procession carrying idols of Ganesha towards the places of immersion. These processions which take place with great fanfare, begins in the afternoon and continue till the late hours of the night.

Although this festival is observed in all parts of the country, it is celebrated with maximum fervour in Maharashtra where it is celebrated both publicly and privately. Apart from the small idols of Ganesha that are installed in various houses, there are also many public celebrations called Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava.

The Public Celebrations of Ganesh-Chaturthi - Started by Lokmanya Tilak

In these public celebrations huge idols of Ganesha ranging from 10 feet to 40 feet are installed and along with the daily prayers and hymns, there are entertainment programmes, a major attraction. Till the turn of the last century, this festival was celebrated only in homes and temples. But during the struggle for independence against British rule, Lokmanya Tilak (an important freedom fighter who led the Indian freedom struggle before Mahatma Gandhi took over) gave it the form of a public festival. Tilak did this so as to cleverly broadcast his political message of freedom for India.

Carried out in the garb of a religious activity, it was difficult for the British Administration to curb it. But the festival, once having acquired a public form for a political purpose, retained that form even after the independence.

Origin of Ganesha

Ganesh2.jpg

But parallel to all the rationalization of this phenomenon, mythology has an equally enthralling account that explains the birth (or more properly the creation) of this curious half-man, half-elephant God called Gajanana or Ganesha, a unique deity. He is no ordinary God, but is like the first among equals. All prayers start with the invocation "Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha" meaning Salutations to You O Ganesha.

Parvati makes Ganesha from Clay and Infuses Life in the Idol

Shastras offer an explanation on Ganesha's elephant head as well as for his being a first among the Gods.The divine couple of Shiva and Parvati had remained childless for a long time after the birth of their first son Kartikeya. Parvati's motherly instincts made her yearn for a son and Shiva's long absence from home intensified her yearning. On day, she decided to mould a statue of clay in the form of a son. She used her divine power to bring the clay idol to life to sstisfy her yearning. Happy as she was to have the company of a son, she went about her chores, many a times leaving the boy in charge of the house.

Shiva Confronts Ganesha

One fine day while Parvati was busy with her daily ablutions, Shiva turned up and saw Parvati's son Ganesha, guarding the entrance to his house.

Strangers as they were to each other the son (Ganesha) refused allow Shiva to enter the house. Taken aback at being prevented from entering his own house, Shiva asked this tiny sentinel who he was. On being told that he was Parvati's son, Shiva was confounded and Shiva chopped off his head and threw it away in a fit of anger.

Shiva fetches an Elephant's Head for the Beheaded Ganesha

When Parvati heard about this outrage she lost her temper and demanded that Shiva restore her son to life immediately. Compelled to appease Parvati, Shiva set out to find the head of her son. Hard as he tried, he could not find the head that he had chopped off and thrown away in disgust. As he could not find the head he wanted, he thought of fitting the headless body with the head of any living being that he would come across. He came across a baby elephant and true to his word, Shiva chopped off the elephant's head, fitted it to the lifeless body and revived him. This was how the Lord Gajanana or Gaja-Mukha came into being.

Ganesha become the first among the Gods

To atone for his deed, Shiva also granted a special status to Gajanana by issuing a divine decree that thence forth Gajanana would be the first to be invoked in every prayer and only after this, could the invocation of any pther God takes place. In deference to the decree of lord Shiva, Hindus today, continue to regard Ganesha as the first God to be invoked in any prayer.

References

  • Sudheer Birodkar, "A Hindu History: A Search for our Present History". Reprinted with permission.