Ganesh Chathurthi Celebration

In Darshan to Divinity, every festival is celebrated in a truly wonderful way. Recently, all of us got together to observe Ganesh Chathurthi. Our Guru, Vijay, guided us through a beautiful spiritual journey explaining the various aspects of the occasion and the significance of the rituals performed on this auspicious day. It’s this joy that I wish to share with you all today.

The Ganesh Chathurthi function started by 7PM with Vijay explaining to us the significance of Ganesha Chathurthi. To understand this better, I will start with an analogy here. What is common between the sea, river, clouds and rain? Rivers originate from the melting glaciers (which are nothing but frozen water) in mountains and eventually end up in the sea. The sea water evaporates and returns back to the ground in the form of rain. Clouds are also condensed water vapor or ice. Though we refer to them with different names such as sea, river, clouds and rain, they are all primarily made up of water. It is water which is manifest in so many different forms, each being called by a different name.

Along the same lines, we are all creations of God being given different names. Aren’t we fundamentally the divine then? Yes, we definitely are.

Another quick fact – In science classes during school days, we have learnt that matter is composed of the fundamental building block – atom. All of us are thus, a collection of atoms.

By now, you might be wondering how these unrelated facts even remotely connect with Ganesh Chathurthi. But, the significance lies in the essence of the points I have mentioned above. Let’s take a closer look.

The word Ganesha could be split into two parts in Sanskrit – Gana and isha. “Gana” means atom and “isha” means Lord. Inferring from the meaning of the words, Lord Ganesha represents our fundamental element which is the atom. It’s the conventional notion that Ganesh Chathurthi is an occasion to celebrate the birthday of Lord Ganesha. But giving it deep thought, all of us being the divine, Ganesh Chathurthi is an occasion where we celebrate our fundamental element. This fundamental element is nothing but the atom, which is none other than Lord Ganesha.

After having learnt about the significance of the festival, we meditated for a couple of minutes before the pooja and then homam commenced. According to the tradition, pooja is performed to the Ganesha idol made of clay. Clay was specifically chosen by Rishis ages ago as it was found to have the ability to absorb our karma as pooja is being done to the clay idol. After completion of the pooja, the clay idol is dissolved in water at the end of the day. Dissolving the idol in water is indicative of dissolving our karma. Moreover, such rituals are performed having the “darbe” leaf in the ring finger. The reason for using this leaf again dates back to the time when Rishis advocated their use due to the leaf’s purifying effect on our body.  So in this context as well, though performing a pooja is considered a sacred offering to the Lord, its inner significance is meant to cleanse and purify us.

Vijay then performed the 11 abhishekams to the Ganesha idol. As the abhishekams were being done, their significance was also explained to us. It was marvelous to witness the abhishekams done to the Lord. The table below includes the various commonly used items for abhishekams and their underlying meaning.

Abishekam Item Significance
Ghee Gives Moksha
Milk Gives Long life
Curd Gives good children
Honey Melodious voice
Rice powder Frees from debt
Sugarcane juice Gives good health
Lime juice Removes fear of death
Tender coconut juice Gives satisfaction
Rice(cooked) Gives majestic life
Sandalwood paste Gives Goddess Lakshmi’s grace
Sugar Removes enmity

The abhishekam was followed by homam. Offerings are done to the fire, Agni Bhagwan, during homam as it is the fastest way to communicate our messages to the divine. It is because fire connects the earth plane and the divine plane. Each of us participated in the homam by reciting “OM GUM GANAPATHAYE NAMAHA” 21 times and offered flowers during the scared chant. The experience of all of us doing together was brilliant.

The pooja and homam ended by 10PM. We all had dinner together which was followed by a question and answer session. Vijay clarified all our questions and doubts.

The Ganesh Chathurthi celebration was thoroughly enjoyed by each one of us. There are so many different aspects to the festival which are generally done in a very routine fashion and as a ritual without understanding the meaning. Our celebration in Darshan to Divinity under the guidance of Vijay was unique in this sense, as we were helped to delve deeper into every ritual performed and their significance. It was a memorable and peaceful experience that we all would fondly cherish.

- Karthik

 

3 Responses to “Ganesh Chathurthi Celebration”

  1. sriram Says:

    Dear Karthik,
    Thank you for sharing the article. Wonderful explanation of the atoms and significance of Ganesh Chaturthi. Every single thing tells us that we are nothing but Divine. Guru always tells that when we are aware, we can see these messages.
    Thanks to our Guru for making us aware and helping us move closer to the truth that we are Divine.

    Thanking you,
    Sriram

  2. Sanjai Says:

    Dear Karthik,

    Thanks for capturing the joy wonderfully. Just when I sat down for the pooja, my stomach was growling. Within a couple of seconds it stopped making sounds. We sat down for many hours for the pooja and homam. There was no sign of hunger. Guru explained the truth behind this. Chanting the mantra was amazing indeed. I was fortunate to attend Ganesh Chaturthi earlier with Guru. Each and every time we celebrate, I keep learning more and more. I think many devotees may have performed abishek but without knowing the significance. This article has captured beautifully the significance of various abhishek. Though there were many attending this homam, peace, joy, love was there every moment.

    Thanks
    Sanjai

  3. Venu Says:

    Dear Karthik,

    Thank you so much for bringing those peaceful & cherish-able memories again. When you think about various analogies in this article – the water (or) the atom – the source is one and other forms came from this source, which is none other than the Supreme God. This concept is so simple, yet complicated for many to understand. It was wonderfully explained during this day.

    Regards,
    -Venu

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