Ganesh Chaturthi

September 1, 2011
September 19, 2012
September 9, 2013

Today Hindus celebrate the birthday of the Colossus with the Proboscis, Lord Ganesh, aka Gajanana (Elephant-Faced Lord), aka Devendrashika (Protector of All Gods), aka Kaveesha (Master of Poets), aka Lambodara (Huge Bellied Lord) aka Vignavinashanaya (Destroyer of All Obstacles and Impediments) aka Akhurath (One who has Mouse as His Charioteer) or any of the other 101 names he goes by.

Ganesh: Colossus with the Proboscis

Ganesh is perhaps the most distinctive-looking deity of the Hindu pantheon. His birth was as unconventional as his profile.

While Lord Shiva was away at war, his wife Parvati sought to bathe herself, but feared someone might enter while she was vulnerable. To guard her door, she fashioned the model of a son out of clay or sandalwood paste, breathed life into him, and placed him outside with instructions not to let anyone in.

It just so happened that Lord Shiva came back from the battlefront while Pavarti was bathing. Ganesh didn’t know who he was and prevented Shiva from entering. Shiva, after a hard day of battling demons, was not in the mood to be stopped in his own house. With his sword he sliced Ganesh’s head clean off.

Needless to say, when Parvati came out of the bath to find her new son decapitated, she was quite perturbed with Shiva, and threatened to destroy the three worlds of Earth, Heaven, and Hell.

Like any good husband, Shiva instructed his men to go out and bring back the head of the first living creature they found. They came back with the head of an elephant, which Shiva placed atop Ganesh’s decapitated body and with a sacred breath, made him whole.

Ganesh became the great Protector, and also the bringer of good fortune and prosperity.

People celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with a festival lasting ten to twelve days. Large and small clay and metal models of Genash are created for the festival, sometimes 20 feet tall. Sacred traditional foods are offered to the god, including lotus flowers, fruits, sweets, and prasadam. At the end of the ten days, Ganesh’s likenesses are taken in a procession to the nearest body of water and submerged.

Submersion of Lord Ganesh
Submersion of Lord Ganesh

These days most idols of Lord Ganesh are made with Plaster of Paris rather than clay. Unfortunately, this  creates a toxic hazard when thousands of idols are submerged in local rivers and lakes on the final day of celebration. Indian activists try to combat, or at least mitigate the pollution by encouraging observers to perform short, symbolic submersions, or to return to tradition, natural materials like clay.

11 Replies to “Ganesh Chaturthi”

  1. Thanx for the info on Ganesh. If it’s ok for you I’ll translate it to my Norwegian blog so the norwegian readers can be updated on Hinduism.
    Hope you don’t mind :)

    HARI OM !

    GANPATI is like my friend,family member !
    Happy Ganesh festival.
    आला रे आला वाजत गाजत आपला गणपती बाप्पा आला
    आपल्याला व आपल्या कुटुंब सदस्यांना गणेश चतुर्थीच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा !

    गणेश चतुर्थी च्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा
    ।।हरी ॐ।।
    || गणपत्ती बाप्पा मोरया ||
    || मंगलमुर्ती मोरया ||
    जय श्री राम !

  3. Ganesh is a false god, only Jesus Christ will be worshiped in the end times. He is a loving God and is the only one who can redeem us but he is a jelous God and will have no other gods before him. Ganesh cannot save you, Jesus can.

  4. I agree with Dawn – Ganesh is a false god, i mean do you people actually believe that god is an “elephant”?? I laugh so hard just thinking about it — maybe you also believe god is a fly or a piece of horse manure?! The simply truth is Ganesh is a false god similar to the Pagan god of past – only Jesus Christ is the real god and savior of humanity!

  5. Yes its True that if you really want to see the Real Presence of God just read about him in the BIBLE that he died for all of us and have promised us that if we follow him we will one day have eternal life in Heaven

  6. Yes its True that if you really want to see the Real Presence of God just read about him ( JESUS – Son of God ) in the BIBLE that JESUS died for all of us and have promised us that if we follow him we will one day have eternal life in Heaven . Read about him and you will feel his presence as you read Bible

  7. Ganesh Chaturthi is a celebration of life, the living tolerant aspect of the divine which blesses us all and teaches us tolerance. How’d celebrating Jesus’s death get into this conversation anyway? 75% of the world is not christian, that’s fact. So in terms that fundamentalist Christians can understand. Let Jesus do his job of deciding who to save, and you consider following his instructions, Love and forgive and let god sort it out.

  8. Lord shiva was great surgeon of his time when he can able to transplant the head of an animal on a human being and of course without tissue matching and with mis match head to body proportion ha… ha… ha…. and if parvati can make a model out of clay then she definitely could able to produce another head of clay and put on the boy’s body, why tell lord Shiva to manufacture another God with bizzare appearance. And this fool God chose to ride on a tiny rat, another mismatch.

  9. In today’s world and in the future all known faiths will collapse because faiths are based on belief and assumptions there is no clear cut proof as yet. Tell me who has seen the God. But despite this the world needs religion because religion create fear in the mind of a believer who in turn fear God and thus prevent him from doing bad things to himself as well as to others in general. Without religions there will be Jungle Raj however all religions basically teaches good things and promotes mutual co existance. It is up to the believer to interpret the teachings. All religions are good as long as they are free from ugly politics.

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