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Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival to celebrate the birthday of the Lord of wisdom and prosperity – Lord Ganesha. It falls on the fourth day of the Moon’s bright half in the Lunar month of Bhardeapada. This year it falls on 29th August 2014. The Ganesha Utsav celebrations continue for ten days. However, some devotees celebrate this festival for one, three, five, seven and even twenty-one days. Ganesha Chathurthi is one of the most important festivals of Hindu culture. People worship Lord Ganesha and seek His divine blessings to fulfil their desires and to get rid of the problems in their lives. Many believe “Kalou Vinayaka Chandi” – It means that in Kaliyug, you get blessings very quickly, if you worship Lord Ganesha and Goddess Chandi.
Chant this mantra to Lord Ganesha to seek His divine blessings –
सूर्यकोटी समप्रभ ।
O Lord Ganesha, we salute you the supreme. O mighty Lord who possesses a curved trunk and holy divine with mighty physique, whose brightness is like a zillion suns burning together, who bestows bliss to every body. Hail to the God of million Gods; help me fight all my problems with faith that you will be there to protect me like you have been guiding me always. My Lord, I have faith in you that you will protect from all the evil forever.
भद्रं कर्णेभिः शृणुयाम देवा भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः ।
“Let my ears hear auspicious things, let my eyes see auspicious things, let us speak only auspicious words, let our life be on the Divine path.”
Goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Mahadev, is considered to be a supreme deity in the Hindu religion. On day, she went for a bath while Lord Mahadev was away. In order to ensure her privacy and prevent others from coming near the pool, she used her powers to create a figure out of the dust particles on her body. Then she infused life into the figure and asked it to guard the entrance. In the meantime, Lord Mahadev returned home. Following his creator’s orders, the figure, which was none other than Ganesha, stopped Lord Mahadev from entering. This angered the Lord and he decided to punish the ‘lowly’ figure for his indignant behaviour. Ganesha fought valiantly but was no match to Mahadev’s supreme powers. He lost the dual and Mahadev killed him by beheading him. When Goddess Parvati found out about his fate, she went into a state of shock. Lord Mahadev too realised that Ganesha was only following orders, and decided to bring him back to life. So he replaced Ganesha’s severed head with that of an elephant. From then on, Lord Ganesha is also known as Gajanann (which means elephant’s head).
Manifestations of Ganesha Chaturthi: penance and blessing
The story behind Varda Chaturthi (Chauth), which is Ganesha’s favourite is as follows:
The mother of all auspicious dates – chauth – is believed to have emerged from Lord Ganesha. An exquisite beauty, she had four heads, four feet and four legs. The creator of the universe, Lord Brahma, was extremely pleased on seeing her. To please Lord Ganesha, Chaturthi Devi underwent extreme penance for a thousand divine years. This greatly impressed Lord Ganesha, who agreed to fulfil her wish. While granting the wish, he said, “Devi, you will always be dear to me. From here on, you will be revered as the mother of all tithis. And the world will know you as Chaturthi Devi.The left portion of your body will be dark and the one on the right will be bright. Those who fast for you will get my undivided attention and I promise happiness to them all. A fast on Chauth will be greater than all fasts.” But this wasn’t it for Chaturthi devi, and she went on an extreme fast to appease Lord Ganesha again. Soon Pratipada tithi appeared from her mouth. Similarly, beej emerged from her nose, treej from her chest, pancham from her fingers, chhuthh from her heart, saatam from her eyes, aatham from her hands, naumm from her belly, dasham from her ears, agiyaras from her throat, baras from her feet, teras from her breasts, chaudas from her ego, purnima from her mind and amavasya from her tongue. A pleased Lord Ganesha went to Devi Chaturthi and said, “My worshipers will keep a fast for you on sood chauth of Bhradpad month. From now on you will be known as Varda.” Later Lord Ganesha also paid a visit to Krishna Chaturthi on a full moon. From then on, those who keep fast for ‘Chaturthi’ get all their desires fulfilled. They enjoy good health and wealth throughout their lives. They gain immunity from all problems. If it is a two-day ‘chauth’, then fasting on the second day is more rewarding.
Why worship Ganesha on a Chaturthi?
In astrology, the way Sunday has been linked with the Sun, other days of the week have specific association with the planets. Similarly, all the tithis have a special bond with some or the other divine power, that is, 1 – Agni, 2 – Brahma, 3 – Gauri, 4 – Ganesha, 5 – Sarp, 6 – Kartikeya, 7 – Sun or Surya, 8 – Vasu, 9 – Durga, 10 – Kaal, 11 – Vishwadevi, 12 – Vishnu, 13 – Kaamdev, 14 – Shiva, 15 – Moon or Chandrama.
According to Ganeshapurana, on Chaturthi the placement of the Sun and the Moon is in a manner that it encourages us to do things that can be detrimental to our progress. To avoid such situations, you must worship Lord Ganesha and observe a fast for him.
How you should worship Lord Ganesha
Here is a list of Chathurthi in the coming year. Keep this list handy so that you don’t forget the dates, and ensure offering pooja to Lord Ganesha on these pious days.
Sankashti Chaturthi during 2014-2015
With Ganesha’s Grace,
Shri Dharmesh Joshi
The GaneshaSpeaks Team
25 Aug 2014