Ganesha Chaturthi is a Hindu festival that honours Ganesha, the rebirth f the lord Ganesha.
The tale of the elephant-headed God is fascinating.
The Goddess Parvati created him in a completely human form.
She sculpted him out of clay or the dirt from her own body (various versions) and breathed life into him. She then told him to stand outside her palace’s entrance while she bathed and not let anyone in. When her spouse, the mighty God Shiva, attempted to take on human form, Ganesha blocked his way. Shiva was enraged when he was denied admittance into his own abode, and a fierce struggle ensued. Shiva defeated Ganesha and beheaded him.
But he felt instantly guilty, and he knew his wife would be enraged. As a result, he dispatched his men to bring back the head of the first beast they encountered. They came across an elephant with only one tusk who gladly gave up his head for the honour.
Ganesha was brought back to life by Shiva, and his storey is one of rebirth and regeneration. Ganesha was named Ganpati because he was made the leader of Shiva’s disciples, the Ganas. He is revered as a bringer of good fortune and wealth. He was also the God who assisted the Devs and mankind in maintaining balance by erecting barriers to prevent evil from progressing and eliminating obstructions from the pathways of kindness.
How is Ganesha Chaturthi celebrated?
Ganesha Chaturthi commemorates the day Ganesha was resurrected in his elephant-headed form for the first time. Around this time, devotees ‘bring’ Ganesha as a guest in the form of an idol into their home, temple, or Pandal (temporary shrine). For ten days, he is worshipped with elaborate rites in order to evoke his blessings, and then the statue is ceremoniously immersed in a water body. This is known as visarjan.
What is the significance of Ganesh Visrjan?
The ritual is performed to represent Lord Ganesha’s birth cycle; just as he was produced from clay/Earth, so is his symbolic statue. Ganesha’s statue is immersed in water so that he can return home after his “stay” at the devotees’ home or temple where Ganesha Chaturthi rites are performed. While skipping the visarjan and continuing to host the God of Fortune and Prosperity may seem like a wonderful idea, it is stated that the power that suffuses the statue after 10 days of adoration is too much for a human to take. As a result, it should not be maintained any longer.
The statue is ritualistically immersed in water to break down to the clay from which it came, as discarding or smashing it would be disrespectful. Some sculptures are constructed in such a way that the materials used in their construction help the habitat in which they are placed.
However, in recent years, the immersion of non-biodegradable Ganesha idols and the use of hazardous compounds in the paints has polluted water bodies, detracting from the ritual’s positive symbolism and impact. We must remember to pray to Lord Ganesha appropriately when we do so.