Ganesha Chaturthi, വിനായക ചതുര്ഥി गणेश चतुर्थी, ಗನೆಶ ಚತುರ್ಥೀ also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is the Hindu festival of Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, who is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees in the duration of this festival. It is the birthday of Ganesha who is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Ganesh Chaturthi falls on the fourth day of the Hindu month of Bhadrapada, which falls around August or September. The occasion becomes very lively and enthusiastic with the devotional songs, dances and drum beats being a part of the procession observed by the devotees of Lord Ganesha, as a part of the festivities. Ganesh Chaturthi is the only festival that involves and welcomes the participation of general public.
The Lord of Success GaneshThe son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. In fact, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja.
Significance of the Ganesha FormGanesha's head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha's left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties.
The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our petition. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. And he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse.
Ganesh Chaturthi is an important festival of Maharashtra, celebrated grandly in other parts of India as well. The preparation starts one month in advance, with great enthusiasm, to celebrate this auspicious occasion. The festival starts with the installation of beautifully sculpted Ganesha idols in homes and mandaps. These idols are decorated beautifully and show religious themes. The occasion also sees various cultural events being held every where, in which people participate with interest. After celebration, the time of farewell comes and the idol of the beloved God is immersed in water. The celebration ends with the immersion, accompanied by loud shouts of 'Ganapati Bappa Moraya'.
ചിങ്ങമാസത്തിലെ ചതുര്ഥി ദിവസത്തില് ആഘോഷിക്കപ്പെടുന്ന ഒരുത്സവമാണ് വിനായക ചതുര്ഥി. പ്രധാന ആരാധനാ മൂര്ത്തി ഗണപതി(ഗണേശന് ) ആയതിനാല് ഗണേശ ചതുര്ഥി എന്നും ഇതിന് പേരുണ്ട്. മഹാരാഷ്ട്രയിലും മറ്റ് ഉത്തരേന്ത്യന് സംസ്ഥാനങ്ങളിലുമാണ് ഇത് ഏറ്റവും അധികം ആഘോഷിക്കപ്പെടുന്നത്. ഈ ദിവസം ആളുകള് ഗണപതി വിഗ്രഹങ്ങള് വാങ്ങി അലങ്കരിക്കുകയും പൂജിക്കുകയും ചെയ്യുന്നു. പൂജക്കായി താമരയും കറുകപ്പുല്ലും മോദകം എന്ന മധുരപലഹാരവും ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നു. ചതുര്ഥി ദിവസത്തേത്തുടര്ന്ന് നടക്കുന്ന ഗണേശോത്സവം പത്ത് ദിവസം നീണ്ട് നില്ക്കുന്നു. ഉത്സവത്തിന് ശേഷം ഗണപതി വിഗ്രഹങ്ങള്പുഴയിലോ, കടലിലോ ഒഴുക്കുന്നതോടെ ആഘോഷങ്ങള് സമാപിക്കുന്നു. അടുത്ത വര്ഷവും ഗണപതി വരണേയെന്ന പ്രാർത്ഥനയോടെയാണ് വിഗ്രഹങ്ങള് ഒഴുക്കിവിടുന്നത്.
Legend says that once Lord Shiva left his usual dwelling on Mount.Kailash in the Himalayas, to meditate. Two sakhis ( friends) of Goddess Parvati, his consort, suggested that she should have a 'Gana' - attendant of their own, since they were not too happy with Lord Shiva's 'Ganas'. Goddess Parvati agreed. Soon after, using her divine powers, she created a son out of the sandalwood paste she used for her bath by breathing life in to him and naming him Vinayak. She instructed him to guard their home.
Letting him stand guard at the door she went to have her bath. However, while Goddess Parvati was taking her bath, Lord Shiva happened to come there back from his meditation, and as Ganesha didn't knew who he was, he didn't allowed him to enter the house. As a result, there was a lot of bickering and Lord Shiva got angry and beheaded Ganesha ( Vinayak) with his 'Trishul' (Trident).
When Goddess Parvati heard of this she was distressed and lamented intensely. After Lord Shiva realized his error, to set things right he sent his Ganas to the forest to fetch the head of the first living being they met. The Ganas saw a baby elephant and returned with its head. With his divine power, Lord Shiva placed the head over his son's body and that instant Vinayak sprung back to life. Henceforth Vinayak also earned the name of Gajaanan. 'Gaja' means elephant. Lord Shiva blessed him with a boon that people would first worship and offer him dedication in all their auspicious activities. Those who won't would not attain success.