Celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesha Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday of the lord Ganesha.
1. Ganesh Chaturthi History
Ganesh Chaturthi is said to have been celebrated since the days of Maratha rulers Satavahana, Chalukya and Rashtrakuta. Mainly celebrated in the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh with a lot of zeal and splendour, Ganesh Chaturthi is the most popular festival of Maharashtra. Ganesh Chaturthi was started by Chhatrapati Shivaji as a public event to promote traditions and nationalism, this festival was even celebrated by Peshwas to worship Ganapati as their family deity. The festivities remained a family affair until the festival was revitalised by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in the late 19th Century, to take the message of freedom struggle to all Indians.
This festival brought in a feeling of unity and togetherness in Indians that helped in revival of their patriotic spirit. Through the medium of this festival he brought together all the classes of societies against British by getting rid of the caste differences. He stressed on it that Ganesh Chaturthi was a festival for everyone irrespective of the caste or class, and so he organised cultural events like dance dramas, musical nights, and religious gatherings on this festival. That was the time when social and political gatherings werent allowed by the British. Festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi that continued for ten days gave people of every religion the scope to interact and know each other. It is from that time this festival has been celebrated every year with great fervour all over the country.
2. Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the important Hindu festivals celebrated throughout India with a great devotion. This day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesh, the elephantheaded son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesh is the symbol of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on Shukla Chaturthi of the Hindu month of Bhadra (generally falls between August and September). This festival is celebrated by Hindus with a great enthusiasm. People bring idols of Lord Ganesh to their homes and do worship. The duration of this festival varies from 1 day to 11 days, depending on the place and tradition. On the last day of the festival the idols are taken out in a colorful and musical procession and immersed traditionally in water.As per Hindu mythology Lord Ganesh is considered as OVigana HartaO (one who removes obstacles) and OBuddhi PradaayakaO (one who grants intelligence). This festival is very important for students, they worship Lord Ganesh to illumine their minds.
3. Ganeshs Birth
Once Lord Shiva left his usual dwelling on Mt.Kailas in the Himalayas, to meditate in one of the caves in the same mountain. Two friends of Parvati, his consort, suggested that she should have a gana attendant of their own, since they were not too happy with Shivajis ganas. Parvati agreed. Soon after, using her divine powers, she created a son, naming him Vinayak. She instructed him to guard their home.When Shivaji returned Vinayak prevented him from entering. After some bickering, Shivaji beheaded Vinayak with his trishul (trident). When Parvati heard of this she lamented intensely. Shivaji realised his error. To set things right he sent his men to the forest to fetch the head of the first living thing they met. They encountered a baby elephant and returned with its head. With his divine power, Shivaji placed the head over his sons body. Instantly Vinayak sprung to life. Henceforth Vinayak also earned the name of Gajaanan. Gaja means elephant. Shivaji blessed him with a boon that people would first worship and offer him dedication in all their auspicious activities. Those who didnt would not attain success.Bhadarva Sud 4th is the day Parvati was offering the final pujan to the dead Ganeshji, when he resurrected.
4. How to come Ganesha Festival
Ganesha Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday (rebirth) of Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati.
It is believed that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival. It is the day Shiva declared his son Ganesha as superior to all the gods, barring Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati. Ganesha is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel. The festival, also known as Ganeshutsav (festival of Ganesha) is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usually falls between 19 August and 20 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the waxing moon period).In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak transformed the annual domestic festival into a large, wellorganized public event.
Tilak recognized the wide appeal of the deity Ganesha as the god for everybody, and popularized Ganesh Chaturthi as a national festival in order to bridge the gap between Brahmins and nonBrahmins and find a context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them, and generate nationalistic fervour among people in Maharashtra against the British colonial rule.Tilak was the first to install large public images of Ganesh in pavilions, and also established the practice of submerging in rivers, sea, or other pools of water all public images of the deity on the tenth day after Ganesh Chaturthi.
5. Ganapati Vivaha (Marriage)
When Shiva and Parvati decided to have their sons, Kartikeya and Ganesh married, they stipulated that he who circumambulated the earth first would be considered the best deity and would be married first. Kartikeya flew off on his vehicle a peacock. Poor Ganapatis vehicle was a mouse which was no match for a peacock. Being the choicest devotee of God, Parvatiji consoling him showed Ganeshji a simpler and quicker way. She advised him to cicumambulate the cow since she also symbolically represents another earth and he had reap the same benefit as going round the earth. Another reference cites him circumambulating his parents.Consoling him, Parvati showed a short cut.
She divulged that it was ordained in the scriptures that he who offered pujan to his parents and then circumambulated them received the same merit as he who went around the earth. Ganapati hence married first showing that one who obeys the wish of the choicest devotee of God or his parents attains his desired wishes. Hence Ganeshji is invoked first in all auspicious events, rites and rituals such as marriage, opening ceremonies, groundbreaking ceremonies, yagnas and so on. The Shiva Puran cites another story. Prajapati had two daughters, Siddhi (wealth) and Buddhi (intellect). He approached Parvati and Shivaji for the girls marriage to Kartikeya and Ganeshji. However both girls wished to marry only the latter. Thus they married him. Siddhi gave birth to a son named Shubh (auspiciousness) and Buddhi to Labh (merit). Therefore when businessmen and merchants offer pujan to Ganeshji and Lakshmiji they write Shubh and Labh inside their account ledgers to invoke the two deities.
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