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Om Shri Ganeshaya Namah!

Please do not offer my God a peanut.
— Apu, from The Simpsons

Today is Ganesh Chaturthi, the festival that celebrates the birthday of the great Hindu God, Ganesh. Also known as Ganapati and Ganesha, He is the son of Shiva and Parvati. He is the Lord of success, destroyer of evils and remover of obstacles. He is also worshipped as the God of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth.

His worship literally breaks down barriers and removes all obstacles, for He is joyfully embraced regardless of caste, sect, and nationality. He is a beloved favorite among Jains, Buddhists, and of course is one of the primary five Hindu deities. His popularity extends far beyond the borders of India, including throughout Thailand and other southeastern Asian countries.

With His easy-to-recognize elephant’s head, complete with a curved trunk (which represents the symbol of “Om”) and His a big, very well-fed human body, He is invoked at the commencement of any good action and He protects His devotees from all obstacles.

While this is His own festival day, He is worshipped during every festival, for He opens the way to virtue and all good things. He is invoked before people undertake a journey or embark upon a new venture. You will also see Him guarding entrances to temples and homes, peeping out of calendars and happily blessing marriages and other important occasions.

It is believed that offering puja (adoration, worship, reverence) to Ganesh on Ganesh chaturthi will bring success, abundance, peace and prosperity. He will break down the barriers that can be frustrating and painful, and Ganesh blesses His faithful with prosperity.

Traditional rites include chanting puja and working with a clay image of Ganesh that later can be dissolved in a river or sacred waters. Appropriate offerings may include milk, rice, red flowers, Druva Grass blades (Agrostis linearis), coconut, and sandalwood incense.

The best offering, of course, is giving your own time and devotion to removing humanity’s obstacles of ignorance, prejudice, and fear.

May we joyfully celebrate the gracious, bodacious Ganesh on this most auspicious day!

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  • September 3, 2008, 7:21 am Greg Fletcher-Marzullo

    Oh, yay – Ganesh is awesome!!!! There’s a wonderful chant to him by Jai Uttal that I have on my iPod – I think this calls for a listen to it along with some yummy dancing in my living room.

    Thanks, Beth Owl!

  • September 3, 2008, 11:41 am Donald Engstrom-Reese

    Ganesha claimed Mark and I as a couple for His own, the day we married. He comes with us to yoga class. Ganesha sings His love for us every night and greets us each morning with new courage to remove all obstacles still blocking the roads leading to the emerging Cultures of Beauty, Balance and Delight.

    Ganesha is one the sweetest boyfriends I have ever had in my life.

    I honored Ganesha this morning by making a good breakfast for the Pagan Block before they took to the streets for the day. I will honor Ganesha this evening by make mad passionate love to my husband.

    Right now, this very minute in fact, Ganesha is walking the streets of the Twin Cities witnessing all that is happening. His memories never fade. He will never forget which obstacles are blocking the rivers of abundance and plenty, justice and right-action, compassion and peace.

    It is good to remember that Ganesha is only one of the Mysterious Ones who are completely devoted to the sustainable cultures of BB&D. They are all paying attention to all that is coming down here on the banks of the Upper Mississippi River.

    Bless the Bees.

  • September 3, 2008, 1:44 pm Beth Owl's Daughter

    Greg – I am dancing right there with you, love!

    And Donald!!! This is so beautiful; thanks for reminding us that Ganesh walks unobstructed through the streets of the magical Twins today and always!

    Blessings and love,
    – Beth

  • September 8, 2008, 3:22 pm Crowbard

    When I am down to my last peanut, may I be granted the wisdom to share it with The Opener of the Ways. Om Shree Ganeshaya Namah!
    Om Shanti!

    Apu-din.