Ganesh Festival

Why do we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi ?

Ganesh Chaturthi , also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is a festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha, the Elephant God and the Hindu god of wisdom.

Ganesh Chatuthi@stirringmyspicysoul.com
Ganesh Chaturthi@stirringmyspicysoul.com

Who is Ganesha ?

The Lord of Beginnings, The Remover of Obstacles, and The Deity of Good Fortune, Ganesha is perhaps one of the most well known deities of Hinduism.

Ganesha on the coffee table
Ganesh Chaturthi@stirringmyspicysoul.com

What does Ganesha mean ?

“Ga” means knowledge, “Na” is Salvation and “Isha” or “Pati” denotes the lord/ruler.He is popularly known as Ganesha or Ganapati.

Ganesha on the coffee table
Ganesh Chaturthi @stirringmyspicysoul.com

What is Ganesha sloka/hymn ?

Vakra-Tunndda Maha-Kaaya Suurya-Kotti Samaprabha |
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryessu Sarvadaa ||

Meaning:
1: (Salutations to Sri Ganesha) who has a curved trunk, who has a large body and whose splendor is similar to  a million suns; 
2: O Deva, Please make my undertakings free of obstacles, by extending your blessings in all my endeavors, always.

Ganesh Chaturthi@stirringmyspicysoul.com
Ganesh Chaturthi @stirringmyspicysoul.com

Get my Ganesh Coloring Book for kids, today!

Ganesh Festival is here! Do you have little ones at home that enjoy coloring ? Give them the gift of coloring these cute Ganesh pictures , to celebrate Ganesh Festival this year.

25 pages of fun Ganesh pictures to fill with color &joy!

Happy Ganesh Festival!

Ganesh Coloring Book for Kids

Why do we start any endeavor with a prayer of Ganesha in Hinduism ?

Elephants are considered to be the path makers in the forest. When an elephant passes through the thick woods, a path is created for all other animals in the forest to follow.

Ganesha Paintings
Ganesh Chaturthi@stirringmyspicysoul.com

In life too, we believe, worshipping the elephant God, Ganesha, clears all the obstacles in the path and paves way for us to move forward in life. hence Ganesha is also known as ‘Vinayaka‘ in sanskrit, meaning ‘the remover of obstacles”.

Symbolism attached to Ganesha’s physical appearance :

Ganesha Symbolism @https://stirringmyspicysoul.com

Lord Ganesha & his symbols bestow life lessons to help steady the mind and evolve with spiritual positive progression.

When is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated ?

The festival begins on Shukla Chaturthi, which is the fourth day of the waxing moon period .The festival ends on the fourteenth day of the waxing moon period, which is known as Anant Chaturdashi.

This year 2021, it falls on the 10th of September, on a Friday.

Ganesh Festival
Ganesh Chaturthi

What are the rituals associated with Ganesh Chaturthi festival ?

There are four main rituals performed during the festival.

  • Pranapratishhtha – a process of infusing the divine energy into the idol. this is done by singing hymns and holding prayers.
  • Shhodashopachara -sixteen forms of paying tribute to the elephant god, Ganesha.
  • Uttarpuja -a ritual/puja/worship done after which the idol can be shifted after it’s infusion.
  • Ganapati Visarjan -immersion of the idol into the river/lake/waterbody.
Ganesha with traditional lamps & diyas
Ganesh Chaturthi @stirringmyspicysoul.com

What is the the Omkara form ?

The highest level of Hindu religious philosophy is associated with the search for “Param Brahman”. Param Brahman refers to the supreme consciousness, from which everything originates, thrives, and returns upon death.

The physical forms of the Gods are used to visualise the ultimate qualities in the quest for the knowledge about “Param Brahman”.

The Omkara Symbol is closely related to Lord Ganesha
Omkara Symbol is closely related to Lord Ganesha

The “Omkara ” (the primordial sound) symbol is closely related to this quest, and Lord Ganesha is said to be the physical manifestation of the Omkara symbol.

Omkara Symbol , the physical manifestation of Lord Ganesha

Just like all the sacred chants or “Mantras” begin with the Omkara sound, the worship of all Gods and all auspicious rituals in Hinduism, begin with the worship of Lord Ganesha first.

Ganesha
Ganesh Chaturthi@stirringmyspicysoul.com

Why do we worship Ganesha? What does he represent ?

There is a deep and extensive allegory related to Lord Ganesha. He is believed to represent the “Anushtana Chatushtaya”. It means Lord Ganesha is considered to be the possessor of the four qualities of “Viveka”, “Vairagya”, “Mumukshutva” and “Shat Sampatti”.

Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations
Ganesh chaturthi@stirringmyspicysoul.com

What is Anushtana Chatushtaya or the four qualities possessed by Lord Ganesha ?

Ganesh Chatuthi celebrations
Ganesh Chaturthi@stirringmyspicysoul.com

1.“Viveka” refers to discernment. Viveka is a Sanskrit term that can be translated as “right understanding,” “discrimination” or “discrimination knowledge.”

It is one of the four attributes of a spiritual disciple. It is the ability to differentiate between the real and unreal, eternal and temporary, Self and non-Self, pleasure and bliss. It is a spiritual practice of realizing the Truth and the Soul.

The flexible trunk of Lord Ganesha represents “Viveka”

An elephant’s trunk can pick a needle from a haystack and can uproot a tree with the same equanimity.

The quality of having “Viveka” helps one to maintain knowledge and intellect, while being focussed on self development and attaining the ultimate truth.“Viveka” can only function to the full extent when it is accompanied by “Vairagya“.

What then is Vairagya ?

2.“Vairagya” means detachment and dispassion.

The Ankush or axe on Lord Ganesha’s hand symbolize’s Vairagya/ dispassion. The axe cuts the ropes of bondage and illusion, thus freeing us to pursue the path of self knowledge and truth. 

3. Mumukshutva : It is the intense longing or burning desire for liberation, freedom and self-realization. It is a particularly important concept in Advaita Vedanta and Jnana yoga, which both see it as an essential requirement for finding moksha or liberation. They believe that a practitioner is not ready to hear the truths of the sacred scriptures until they have mumukshutva.

In order to reach their goal, aspirants must let go of all worldly kamas or appetites for sensual pleasures, such that mumukshutva becomes their only desire.

This is because by cultivating the above three qualities, the mind loses its fixation on external objects. Then, with no resting place left in the known universe for the mind, the longing for deliverance from the cycles of death and rebirth arrives.

Thus accompanying Vairagya, there is the rope of “Mumukshutva” or intense desire of self-realization in Lord Ganesha’s other hand. This binds you in the path of self-discovery with a penchant for truth.

4. The “Shat Sampatti” are the six virtues that contribute towards one’s strength of character. The strength of character is referred to as wealth, in the Hindu vedic dharmas. 

The six virtues/ wealth are namely :

  • Kshama : It means the inner tranquillity of the mind. The word Shanti (peace) comes from the word Kshama. This ability to keep a calm mind under any kind of circumstances is Kshama. To have a sharp intellect it is important, to always have a calm mind.
  • Dama : Another aspect of one’s strong character , is when there is perfect alignment between your mind and your senses.
  • Titiksha  : It means forbearance. The ability to endure, even undesired situations that might arise in your life.
  • Shraddha: It means faith in the unknown.A deep sense of connectivity to that unknown.Without Shraddha, nothing can move in life.
  • Uparati : It means to do everything wholeheartedly, finding joy and taking complete interest in everything you do, however big or small.
  • Samadhana : It means contentment. Samadhana is a gift – a true wealth. A person who is content exuberates a certain sense of joy from deep within.There is a positive vibration around people who exude this quality and others love being around them. Contentment is not to be mistaken for lethargy. Contentment is creativity, and creativity blossoms when there is Samadhana.

Once an aspirant has all four qualities including “Mumukshutva”, they are ready to hear the truth of the scriptures. It is through deep meditation on them that they can find self-realization. Ganesha, the Lord of buddhi(intellect) and siddhi(spiritual prowess) helps us attain the above.

How do we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi at home ?

Being far away from the country of origin, does not mean you do not carry the warmth and the sentiments you associated the festival with, while growing up. Here , in the Northern hemisphere, the cold winds are beginning to blow, summer is almost coming to an end, very soon we will be clothed in layers and bundled up.

Personally, for me, these festivals and celebrations are the only motivators to ride through the bitter cold season that will soon follow. Re-creating the joy and warmth of these festivals by personal touches at home , is my way, in spreading the message of ‘celebrating life’ to my family and friends .

Ganesh Chaturthi@stirringmyspicysoul.com

Flowers, fruits and festive sweets (homemade ) are offered to the deity and then shared among family and friends.We greet each other by applying sandal wood paste and kum kum (vermillion) on the forehead.This practice is believed to protect one’s energy from negative forces outside of us.

Colorful diyas/lamps are lit, traditional oil lamps and pretty terracota lamps with tea lights bring a festive glow at home, spreading warmth and light.

Ganesh Chaturthi @stirringmyspicysoul.com
Ganesh Chaturthi@stirringmyspicysoul.com
Ganesh Chaturthi @stirringmyspicysoul.com

Sweets and savories are shared among friends and family. Modaks/Rice dumplings with sweet fillings are considered Ganesha’s favorite treat and hence people gift each other these gift boxes filled with modaks.

Ganesha with traditional lamps & diyas
Ganesh Chaturthi @stirringmyspicysoul.com

Dancing Ganesha(Nritya Ganesha)

Ganesha on the coffee table
Ganesh Chaturthi @stirringmyspicysoul.com

Lord Ganesha’s style of dancing is a beautiful synthesis of two dance forms which he inherited from his parents- Tandava from his father Lord Shiva and Lasya from his mother Goddess Parvati. Nritya Ganesha or the dancing Ganesha is a favorite form among the Ganesha idol collectors .

Ganesha at Home

Ganesha on the coffee table
Ganesh Chaturthi@stirringmyspicysoul.com

Indian homes have Ganesha at the entry way as a bringer of good luck , prosperity and remover of obstacles. Many homes display Ganesha in the form of paintings, idols, stone statues in the garden/ patio to spread peace and harmony all around.

Ganesha among the flowers
Ganesh Chaturthi @stirringmyspicysoul.com

Ganesha on the night table assures me a good night’ sleep.

Ganesha on the Night table
Ganesh Chaturthi @stirringmyspicysoul.com

Five ways to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi & bring home his blessings this year

Here are some ways to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi this year and bring home his blessings. He is known to bless every space he is in with his majestic energy. A remover of obstacles, a bringer of good fortune, may his blessings be with us all this festive season and forever more.

If you are like me, wanting him to stay close to you at all times, guiding & protecting you, you may want to buy yourself a Ganesha pendant for good luck & to remove obstacles along life’s path.They could be fantastic gift ideas if you have someone in mind who adores Ganesha.

If you choose to have a Ganesha painting or wall hangings of Ganesha at home ,to bring peace and harmony in your lives & home , here are some you might want to check out.

Ganesha, the Elephant God is a connoisseur of art. He is extremely fond of music and dance.If you are looking for gifts for family and friends or even for yourself during the holiday season, Ganesha might be the perfect gift. He brings harmony into our lives.

According to Hindu mythology, Ganesha is the God of the first chakra, the Muladhara chakra.The Muladhara/Root Chakra keeps us grounded and roots us to familial beliefs that support the early formations of identity and a sense of belonging. Music helps us connect to the chakra during meditations.Here are some favorite bhajan/song collections for those of you who might want to use it during meditations.

Ganesha, is one deity who rolls with the times and fits in perfectly with the changing times. Be it on your coffee mug to remind you how beautiful your day is going to be with his blessings, or on your mobile when it beeps to remind you , you got a message, a cool t-shirt, or a tattoo on your arm, he is omnipresent.

A happy & blessed Ganesh Chaturthi, y’all 🙂

May his blessings be with each one of us, this Ganesh Chaturthi!

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Cindy Moore
Cindy Moore
2 years ago

Thank you for sharing! I love learning about cultures. And I love the elephant symbolism, the making a path for others to follow.

Marianne
Marianne
2 years ago

A lot of things learned from this post! Thank you!

Megan
2 years ago

Love this! Thanks for sharing all this info. I pinned to reference later as well!

Sara
Sara
2 years ago

Thank you for sharing. I love learning about new things!

Alice
2 years ago

It is interesting to learn about other religions.

Cindy Mailhot
Cindy Mailhot
2 years ago

I love learning about other cultures and their traditions and celebrations. Thank you for sharing.

Leeandra
2 years ago

I know little about the Hindu religion, this post was very informative!

Erica Pittenger
Erica Pittenger
2 years ago

this is so interesting! I love learning about your culture! Thank you!

Danielle
2 years ago

Such an informative post! I love the coloring book pages for kids.

Ramae Hamrin
2 years ago

What a wonderful post! I never knew that elephants were considered path makers. I’ve always had such an attraction to them. I have a lot of elephants in my home, including a large tapestry above my kitchen table! I am so interested in learning more about the Hindu tradition!

Barbara
2 years ago

Thanks for sharing your culture!

Chelsea
2 years ago

I love learning about other culture’s holidays and events. Thanks for describing Ganesh Chaturthi in such detail!

Kendra
2 years ago

Thanks for sharing this information. I had seen some Instagram posts about this over the weekend and wasn’t sure what the celebration was all about. I love learning about other traditions and celebrations.

Beth
2 years ago

What a heartfelt description of a beautiful culture. I learned the meaning of a friend’s name (Shanti Om) and so much more.

Sydney Delong
2 years ago

This is very interesting! I love learning about cultures like this!

Bonnie
Bonnie
2 years ago

I love elephants and loved seeing all of the elephant figurines. I liked learning about this…thank you!

Maggie
2 years ago

I love learning all about different cultures and traditions. Thank you for sharing yours! ❤️

Alyssa
2 years ago

So interesting! I didn’t know very much about the Hindu culture and why elephants are so important now I do, thank you for sharing!I love all of the elephant figures, the gold ones are so beautiful!

Maria Gustafsson
2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Last edited 2 years ago by Maria Gustafsson
Lisa Manderino
Lisa Manderino
2 years ago

I loved learning a little more about your culture!