As we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, we not only honor the birth of Lord Ganesha but also embrace the values of wisdom, prosperity, and good fortune that he represents
Ganesh Chaturthi, one of the most revered festivals in the Hindu calendar, is observed with great fervor and devotion across Nepal and India. This annual celebration marks the birth of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity known as the harbinger of wisdom, prosperity, and good fortune.
According to Hindu tradition, Lord Ganesha was born on the auspicious day of Bhadra Shukla Chaturthi in the Satyayuga. The festival is celebrated with special fervor in temples throughout Nepal and India, including Ashok Binayak, Chandra Binayak, Suryavinayak, Kamal Binayak, and Kamaladi Ganesh in Nepal. Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, holds a special place in Hindu rituals, where he is invoked as the deity to receive the first worship in any religious activity.
Ganesh Chaturthi falls on Sankashti Chaturti, also known as Herumb Sankashti Chaturthi. On this day, devotees fast and offer prayers, seeking the blessings of Lord Ganesha for the long and prosperous lives of their children. Fasting on this day is believed to bring happiness, prosperity, knowledge, and wisdom, as well as relief from distress. Lord Ganpati is particularly generous in granting blessings to those who observe this fast, often providing special boons, including relief from health issues.
The puja method for Sankashti Chaturthi involves waking up early, taking a bath, and wearing clean clothes. The idol of Lord Ganesha is installed on a red or yellow cloth, and worship begins with a resolution to fast. Offerings such as water, akshat, dubo grass, laddu, paan, incense, and more are presented to Lord Ganesha during the auspicious time. Devotees chant the mantra "Om Gan Ganpataye Namah" while lighting a ghee lamp and offering prayers. In the evening, the moon is honored with honey, sandalwood, and mixed milk, and it is customary to offer arghya to the moon on this Chaturthi.
The festival has a rich history and cultural significance. It is celebrated on the fourth day of the bright fortnight, as per the lunar calendar. The tale of Lord Ganesha's birth is a captivating one, with Parvati, his mother, creating him from unguent and balm. She gave him life and assigned him the task of guarding her while she bathed. When Lord Shiva, Parvati's husband, arrived and was denied entry by Ganesha, he inadvertently severed Ganesha's head. In a bid to rectify this mistake, Shiva replaced the head with that of an elephant, thus giving rise to the beloved deity Ganesha, or Ganapati, the chief of Shiva's attendants.
Ganesh Chaturthi holds immense cultural significance and historical roots. It is believed that the earliest celebrations of this festival can be traced back to the reigns of dynasties such as the Satavahana, Rashtrakuta, and Chalukya. Notably, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, the great Maratha ruler, initiated Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Maharashtra to promote culture and nationalism.
Today, Lord Ganesha is worshipped during various festivals before commencing journeys, embarking on new ventures, and guarding entrances to homes and temples. His benevolent presence graces marriages and other auspicious occasions, symbolizing new beginnings and the removal of obstacles.
As we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, we not only honor the birth of Lord Ganesha but also embrace the values of wisdom, prosperity, and good fortune that he represents. This festival serves as a reminder of the enduring cultural and spiritual significance that Lord Ganesha holds in the hearts of millions.
photo credit: spotlightnepal, myRepublica