Aum Gam Ganapataye Namah
Today is the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi, India’s most joyous celebration of the (re)birth of the Lord of learning.
Ganesh is the God of letters and wisdom, son of Shiva and Parvati, and mentor of Gods and humans. He is the destroyer of vanity, selfishness, pride, and the remover of obstacles. He also is a generous provider of material abundance and one of the most beloved figures in the Hindu pantheon.
On Ganesh Chaturthi, countless millions around the world honor this ancient God of wisdom, prosperity, and good fortune.
With His easy-to-recognize elephant’s head, complete with a curved trunk (which represents the symbol of “Om”) and His 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 to be bad luck to look at the Moon for about 2 days at the beginning of Ganesh Chaturthi. Sighting the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi creates Mithya Dosham or Mithya Kalank (कलंक), which means the false accusation of stealing something. (Exact times here).
During this otherwise happy festival, celebrations invoke and acknowledge Ganesh’s help as a bringer of insight, provider of inspiration, and dissolver of problems and obstacles.
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 He 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 music, parades, feasting, and poetry readings culminate in the ritual bathing of His statues and images, and a feast of lights to honor Ganesh’s loving guidance for studies in illumination and creative work.
Let Us Invoke Ganesh This Blessed Day
The best offering, of course, is giving our own time and our devotion to removing humanity’s obstacles of ignorance, prejudice, and fear.
If ever the world needed huge, benevolent, loving Divine help to remove ancient hatreds, cease self-destructive violence, and soothe the confounding complexities that threaten horrific outcomes at every turn, it is NOW.
We urgently call upon blessed Ganesh today, to break down the walls of ignorance, fear, and intolerance.
Come to us now, and hear our prayers, dear Ganesh. With a stroke of your powerful ax, dissipate the illusions, deceits, and lies that feed the flames of suffering and war.
Let us be inspired to embody His wisdom, His joy, and His kindness.
Let us invoke and celebrate our gracious, wise Ganesh on this, His most auspicious, happy day!
Jai Ganesh, jai Ganesh, jai Ganesh deva
Mata jaki Parvati, pita Mahadeva.