Ganesh Chaturthi: The birth of Lord Ganesha
September 1st, 2011 marks the celebratation of Ganesh Chaturthi, the birth of the famed elephant-headed God, Ganesha. Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva. …
Also called Ganapati, he is one of the most popular Gods in the Hindu pantheon. In fact, no matter what celebration or ceremony is taking place, Lord Ganesha must first and foremost be praised, which is why you will find the image and worship of Ganesha in nearly every home and at the commencement of every occasion in India.
Lord Ganesha represents the call to spiritual power. Soon after his birth, he acquired his famous elephant head when the god Saturn — symbol of obstacles, difficulties, and delays — came to salute the newborn child. Saturn’s powerful, fatal glance immediately reduced the head of the baby Ganesh to ashes.
At once Vishnu, God of Love, set forth to look for another head and returned with the head of Indra’s elephant, Airavata. From then on Ganesha came to be called Vighnesa, which means “one who removes fear from the minds”, or more simply, the “remover of obstacles”, whose overriding purpose is to help worshippers surmount every difficulty.
Ganesha’s four arms stand for his immense power to help humanity. With the goad, a farm tool in one hand, he can strike and repel all obstacles. Along with removing obstacles, he can also put them in our way to prevent us from going down the wrong path. This is all part and parcel of Ganesha’s seat within the mental plane, where he organizes and clears the mind so that greater awareness may flow into it. It is this clarity of vision and understanding, bestowed by Lord Ganesha, which leads to success and abundance in life.
In any murti, or statue, Lord Ganesh has only one tusk; this is because he tore the other one off to scribe the great Indian epic, Mahabharata. Thus he is also considered a patron of literature.
Ganapati also teaches us that knowledge and dharma, our inherent duty and purpose in life, are of the utmost importance, even worth sacrificing pride and material possessions to attain.
The vahana, or vehicle, of Ganesha is a tiny mouse, which he is always shown upon. It is said that the contradiction between the heaviness of the elephant and the lightness of the mouse is an illustration of Ganesha’s role as one who brings about unity, balance and harmony.
It is fitting that Ganesh Chaturthi also occurs at a time of year which, for many, is a time of transition and change. We now begin to move from summer into the decline of the seasons. Children are off to school and we’re all moving from our active summer lifestyles back into work and a different daily routine.
Ganesh Chaturthi signals the perfect time to embark upon new projects, to initiate new learning, to establish new relationships and to breathe new life into our current endeavours.
May Lord Ganesha remove obstacles, steer you onto the right path and guide you through this season to prosperity and success!