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Ganesh Chauth

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Ganesh Chauth
Bhaadrapad Krishn 4.  See also Tithi Vrat, Chaturthee

This festival is related to Ganesh as it appears from its name. It is called Vinaayak Chauth also. It falls on the Bhaadrapad Krishn Chauth, but otherwise every Krishn Chauth is called Ganesh Chauth. This special Bhaadrapad Chauth is celebrated as the birthday of Ganesh. Ganesh is the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.

Ganesh (or Ganapati) (the names mean "Lord [Eesh] or [pati] of Shiv's hosts [Gana]") was created by Paarvatee, the consort of Shiv. According to the legend, Shiv was away to fight with Gajaasur. and his wife Paarvatee, wanted to take bath and having no-one to guard the door to her house, conceived of the idea of creating a son who could guard her. Paarvatee created Ganesh out of the sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at her door and instructed him not to let anyone enter without her permission.

In the meantime, Shiv returned from the battle but as Ganesh did not know him, he stopped Shiv from entering Paarvatee's chamber. Shiv, enraged by Ganesh's impudence, drew his trident and cut off Ganesh's head. Paarvatee emerged to find Ganesh decapitated and flew into a rage. She took on the form of the Goddess Kaalee and threatened destruction to the three worlds of Heaven, Earth and the subterranean earth. Paarvatee was still in a dangerous mood. Seeing her in this mood, the other Gods were afraid and Shiv, in an attempt to pacify Paarvatee, sent out his Gan, or hordes, to find a child whose mother is facing in opposite direction in negligence, cut off his head and bring it quickly.

The first living thing they came across was an elephant. That elephant was sleepng facing north (the auspicious direction associated with wisdom). So they brought the head of this elephant and Shiv placed it on the trunk of Paarvatee's son and breathed life into him. Paarvatee was overjoyed and embraced her son, the elephant-headed boy whom Shiv named Ganesh, the Lord of his Gan. Paarvatee was still upset so Shiv announced that everyone who worships Ganesh before any other form of God is favored. So Ganesh is worshipped first in all Hindu occasions and festivals.

Ganesh is the physical representation of the Shabd Brahm "Aum" also called 'Aumkaar". Aumkaar is according to the Sandhi rules of "Aum + Kaar" giving rise to Aumkaar, the ng here refers to nasal sound at the end of "k sequence of consonants". If you rotate the this "Aum" clockwise through 90 degrees and insert two Bindu in the two cups of "u" you get the main symbol of Ganesh. The big body is the representation of the Universe, the mouse the representation of the individual ego and "Laddoo" the representation of Bindu.

People do  not see Moon today (read more about Ganesh here), keep fast, and eat Laddoo - Til Ladoo (a round sweetmeat made of sesame seeds, flour and sugar), Gajak, Rewadee (sweets made of jaggery and Til), along with tea and coffee after worshipping Ganesh. In some places this festival ends on Anant Chaudas, especially in Mahaaraashtra. On this day all Ganesh idols which were established on Ganesh Chauth are flowed in water - rivers or sea.

It is said in Hinduism that the worship of 5 gods - Vishnu, Shiv, Durgaa, Soorya, Ganesh, is necessary for every one. That is why Raam Navamee, Janmaashtamee, Mahaa Shiv Raatri, Chhatt Poojaa, Deevaalee, Narasinh Jayantee, Vaaman Jayantee (Vaaman Dwaadashee), Ganesh Chaturthee are to be celebrated with Upavaas as a must for all Hindu. As these fasts remove Sankat and Vighna, and bless us with prosperity, and good fate, destroy our Paap. Don't forget to pray and offer Laddoo, Modak, Doorvaa (dry grass ) to Lord Ganesh.

How to Do Ganesh Chauth Poojaa?
Bhaadrapad Krishn Chaturthee is the birthday of Ganesh Jee. It is believed that Lord Ganesh is the remover of obstacles, sorrows and problems. He brings in happiness in life. Worshiping Ganesh and performing Atharv Sheersh Aavartan (repetition) one can get his grace and protection. Ganesh Atharv Sheersh Aavartan is performed on "Sankashti Chaturthee" which falls on the fourth day after the Full Moon day every month (Krishn Paksh Chaturthee) also, but the importance to Bhaadrapad Shukla Chaturthee is considered very auspicious being the birthday of Ganesh. Though most effective worship is Atharvaasheersh Sahastra Aavartan (1000 times), or 108 or 21 Aavartan are also very common and beneficial.

During Aavartan if possible perform Abhishek to Ganesh idol. After Abhishek, perform Shodashopachaar Poojaa (16 step Poojaa) of Ganesh. If this is difficult to do, simple Ganesh Atharv Sheersh Aavartan may be performed. Fasting during the day is also recommended. If one is unable to do this by his own self, any learned scholar can perform the Poojan.

Is there any special Ganesh Visarjan Mantra or procedure? Any specific ritual while performing immersion of Ganesh after Chaturthee Pooojaa. These are some of the common doubts that many devotees have? The concept of Ganesh Chaturthee is that Ganesh comes to the home of his devotees on Ganesh Chaturthee day. He brings auspiciousness, hope, success and happiness to all homes. During his brief stay, He removes all obstacles. While returning He takes with him all problems and unhappiness.

Ganesh Visarjan Mantra
There are no specific Ganesh Visarjan Mantra. One can chant this prayer

Mooshik vaahan modak hast, Chaamar karn vilambit sootra,
Vaaman roop maheshwar putra, Vighna vinaayak paad namaste
O Vinayaka! The remover of all obstacles, the son of Lord Shiva, with a form which is very short, with mouse as Thy vehicle, with sweet pudding in hand, with wide ears and long hanging trunk, I prostrate at Thy lotus-like Feet!

Ganesh Visarjan Procedure
Before taking Ganesh for Visarjan. You should perform Aaratee. All the family members should be present. Usual Ganesh Mantra and Aaratee prayers should be chanted. You should thank Ganesh for visiting your home. Thank him for bringing prosperity and auspiciousness. Thank him for taking away all difficulties with him. Ask for his pardon for any mistakes committed. If you plan to bring Ganesh Moorti next year, then ask him to return. Ask for His blessings. Take some water and sprinkle it on the person performing the Visarjan. The person performing the Visarjan should remove all garlands and other decorations on Ganesh. Collect it in a newspaper or cover. This should not be thrown in the river or water body.

Now it is time to lift up the Ganesh. Offer final prayers. Lift up the Ganesh Moorti. Other people around can chant Ganapati Bappa Moriya... and other Ganesh chants. Once the Moorti is lifted up do not place it at home. Walk out of home and move quickly towards the immersion point. Never look back at home with the Moorti in the hand. While immersing the Moorti chant ...Ganapati Bappa moriya... After performing the immersion, do not look back at the Moorti. Return home and take bath. Go to the Poojaa room or area and offer prayers.

Symbolic Immersion
You can also perform a symbolic immersion by sprinkling water on Ganesha. This is if it is made of metal or porcelain and you plan to use it next year. Such Moorti should be carefully kept in the Poojaa room or in a spot without disturbing it. Daily prayers should not be offered to this Moorti. Prayers to this Moorti should only be offered during Ganesh Chaturthee.

Why Ganesh Moorti is Immersed?
Vinaayak Chaturthee or Ganesh Chaturthee celebrations end with the immersion or Visarjan of clay Ganapati idol in water. Hindu worship Brahm or the Supreme Soul present in all animate and inanimate. But for majority of the people it is not possible to worship this formlessness. They need a form to pray to, to seek help, to cry and to take blessings. Ganesh is ‘OM’ the primordial sound or the first ‘Vaak.’ Nirgun Paraa Brahm takes the form of Ganesh.

Clay and water is mixed to give form to the formlessness. Each person brings Ganesh in clay idol form into the home. This is the Supreme Being arriving at home. After the celebrations, it is time to accept the eternal cosmic law that which took form has to become formless again. It is a never ending cycle (Chakra). The formlessness giving way to form and then moving again towards formlessness. Each year Ganesh arrives to teach us that forms change but the Supreme Truth remains the same. Body perishes but Brahm residing in it remains constant. This body becomes energy for another but the source of energy is the same. Bliss is achieved when we realize this. The act also symbolizes the concept of Moksh, or liberation, in Hinduism. Osho says – ‘Absolute unclinging. That is what is meant by Moksh – freedom – no clinging, not even to gods.’ Thus we create Ganesh out of clay, worship it and later it is submerged (Visarjan).

Use only clay Ganesh idol and please do not throw plastic in water. Perform a symbolic immersion in a bucket of water and then use it to water plants.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 09/29/13