“Vakra-Tunndda Maha-Kaaya Suurya-Kotti Samaprabha |
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryessu Sarvadaa ||”
Meaning- the one Who has a Curved Trunk, a Large Body and Whose Splendor is similar to Million Suns;
O Deva (god) , Please Make my Undertakings Free of Obstacles, By extending Your Blessings in All my Works, Always.
Ganapati (lord of people), Vignahrta (the remover of obstacles), Vinayaka (god of wisdom) , Gajanana (elephant faced), Vishwamukha (master of universe) or Ganesha – the Lord of Lords is the Hindu God of beginnings and is worshiped before all the crucial and significant pursuits.
Ganesha Chaturthi is the festival celebrating the re-birth of Lord Ganesha or the arrival of Lord Ganesha to earth from the Kailash Parvat. This festival is mainly celebrated all across India and observed by Indian cultured people worldwide. It starts with the installation of Ganesha idols in homes or pandals (temporary stages) followed by chanting of daily prayers, offering sweets in the form of prasadas, especially modak, which is considered to be the favorite cuisine of Ganesha, chanting of Hindu hymns, fasting and various cultural events that vary in various regions. This 10 days long festival ends with the immersion of the Ganesha idol, “Ganesha Visarjan”, in a waterbody after the public procession of the idol, enjoyed with music and dance. There are some interesting mythological stories behind the festival of Ganesha Chaturthi. The son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati was brought into life by his mother Parvati when she had gone for a bath. She had no one to guard her and hence she created the little Ganesha from the clay or earth form her own body and breathed life into him. She then asked him to stand at the entrance of her palace and ordered him not to let anyone in until she finished bathing. Ganesha followed his mother’s order and guarded the palace. The great Lord Shiva was denied to enter into his own palace by Ganesha even after Shiva’s statement to Ganesha of him being the husband to Parvati. He got furious which was followed by an epic and bloody battle, that came to an end with Shiva beheading the little Ganesha. Parvati, infuriated and inflamed by the act of Shiva, threatened to destroy everything including every creation of the Gods and took her extreme form. She agreed to stop the destruction if her child was brought to life again. Shiva felt guilty and sent his men to bring the head of the first creature they would come across. They came across an elephant and brought his head which was then attached to Ganesha’s body and he was brought back to life by Shiva. Ganesha was blessed by all the Gods and hence Ganesha Chaturthi signifies re-birth and re-creation.
As a matter of fact the Ganesha festival took the face of a gala public celebration under the Maratha ruler Shivaji as he used it to encourage nationalists’ sentiments among his forces who were fighting the Mughals. In 1893, the festival of Ganesha Chaturthi was revitalized by the former Indian freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak when British banned political assemblies and public gatherings for Indians. Since then, it is celebrated with great enthusiasm and energy every year.