INDIA: Ganesh Chaturthi falls on Shukla Paksha in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada. This festival is also known as Ganeshotsav. Ganesh Chaturthi is dedicated to the elephant-headed God, who is believed to be the epitome of wisdom and prosperity. Ganesh puja happens to be performed in the first place before commencing any festivities.
This year the puja for Ganesh Chaturthi will begin at 03:35 PM on August 30 and continue till 03:25 PM on August 31. Ganesh is the younger son of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, and this day marks his appearance day. Mother Parvati used sandalwood paste to create Ganesh in his father’s absence, Lord Shiva. This special occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi is largely celebrated all over India with great zeal and joy, especially in states like Maharashtra, Telangana, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka, performing pujas in Ganesh Chaturthi for ten long days.
The story behind Lord Ganesh’s Birth:
Ganesh, the younger child of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is created out of sandalwood paste. Goddess Parvati brought Ganesh into existence without her husband, Shiva. On one regular day, Goddess Parvati went for a bath and held Ganesh responsible for guarding the site and the doorkeeper. He received strict instructions from his mother that he should not allow anyone inside the place. Being the obedient son, Ganesh stood guard in front of the bathing hall.
Meanwhile, Lord Shiva tried to enter the room. The father and son didn’t know each other and stood against one another. Lord Shiva, the destructor, fiercely ordered little Ganesh to let off his way, to which he disagreed. This made Shiva angry, and he beheaded Ganesh in one go.
The entire incident is brought to Goddess Parvati, who transforms into Goddess Kali; she demands her husband to bring back their son or else she is imperiled to destroy the universe. Lord Shiva regrets his action against his child and is bound to superintend a way to bring back Ganesh’s life.
He then ordered his subordinates to chop off the head of an elephant, putting an obligation to it that the child’s mother should be facing the other way. Hence, following the instructions given by Lord Shiva, the people brought the head of an elephant. Thus, Ganesh gained rejuvenation and was brought back to life by Father Shiva.
This day celebrates the birth of Ganesh as Ganesh Chaturthi. The elephant-headed Lord is fond of modaks (sweets made of milk solids). His big head, huge trunk, and large body make him auspicious, and he received blessings from Lord Shiva that he would be offered the first prayer and worship before any other. Thus, Ganesh received the first worship from the entire world, and they freed themselves from any uncertainty and endangerment.
Lord Ganesh’s different names and their significance:
Vinayaka: It means the God of wisdom and remover of endangerment.
Lambodara: It means one who has a huge belly.
Sumukh: Lord Ganesh is considered to be sumukh as he has the face of an elephant. Sumukh typically means beautiful face.
Bhalchandra: It means the one who carries the moon over his head.
Ekdant: Lord Ganesh, who gained the face of an elephant, has only one tusk attached to his trunk. Therefore, he is regarded as Ekdant – which means having one tooth.
Gajanana: Lord Ganesh has the human body with the head of an elephant. Gajanana – which means the face of an elephant.
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