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Om Shri Ganeshaya Namah

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, many Pagans, and of course He 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, dear Ganesh 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 worshiped 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 your devotion to removing humanity’s obstacles of ignorance, prejudice, and fear.

May we joyfully celebrate our gracious, bodacious Ganesh on His most auspicious day!

Om Shri Ganeshaya Namah!

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  • September 1, 2011, 11:20 am Isar

    All hail, Ganesh! Here is a link to one artist’s version of puja to to this deity: http://beadlust.blogspot.com

    Namaste,
    Isar

  • September 1, 2011, 12:20 pm Beth

    Oh, my! Isar this is gorgeous!!! Thank you for sharing it, dear beloved of Ganesh!

  • September 1, 2011, 6:28 pm Otter

    Beautiful, Isar! Thanks.

  • September 2, 2011, 10:45 pm David

    What’s beautiful about Hinduism, is that much of their holy scripts are meant to be based on symbolism, making its message forever relevant.
    Christianity, on the other hand, has a history of playing a big role in imposing political agendas, alwhile having many of its scripts contradicted by more and more fields of science.

    I think Hinduism will outlast Christianity. May not be in this lifetime, but ultimately.

  • September 3, 2011, 8:56 am Beth

    Fascinating, David! I had never thought of it like that, but I think there is great truth in this.. the fatal flaw of any religion may indeed be when it becomes rigid and fundamentalist – insisting that the holy word (or whatever) is the one and only literal truth.

    So, the less symbolic the spiritual path is allowed to be, the less relevant it will be, the more entrenched its fight for survival and dominance must become, and so the uglier its political implications.

    Thank you for a really brilliant point of view!

  • September 3, 2011, 9:32 am Acquafortis

    Excellent! Shall be invoking his energy in my life. Being flexible is a hard lesson for me to learn. And a new path is starting to open in my life just now. Thank you all.