Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular Hindu festivals. This sacred day is considered by devotees as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September).
Lord Ganesha is the elephant-headed God. He is worshipped first in any prayers. His names are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun, before any kind of worship is begun. The following story is narrated about His birth and how He came to have the head of an elephant:
Once upon a time, the Goddess Parvati (consort of Lord Shiva), created Ganesha as a pure white being out of the mud of Her Body and placed Him at the entrance of the house. She told Him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. Lord Shiva Himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganesha at the gate. Shiva became angry at His repeated insistence that no one must go inside and cut off Ganesha's head as He thought Ganesha was an outsider.
When Parvati came to know of this She was sorely aggrieved. To console Her grief, Shiva ordered His servants to bring to Him the head of anyone that might be sleeping with head facing north. The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. Thus the elephant's head was brought before Lord Shiva. The Lord then joined the elephant's head onto the body of Ganesha. Elephants are considered very wise animals in India so the elephant head is meant to indicate that Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom. The elephant is the largest and strongest of animals in the forest yet he is gentle and amazingly a vegetarian so that he does not kill to eat. He is very affectionate and loyal and is greatly swayed by love and kindness. Lord Ganesha is considered the Lord of brahmacharins, the foremost amongst the celibates. He has as his vehicle a small mouse. The significance of riding on a mouse is the complete conquest over egoism.
Prayers at the Ashram - August 24th 2009
On the morning of the 24th a small group of devotees and those living at the Ashram joined Shri Babaji for the prayers on the auspicious day. The black stone Ganesh idol was installed by Swamiji Himself in the year 1972. The Deity sits in a small pink marble temple like structure which is located in the main temple area at the entrance of the Ashram's building.
Babaji started the prayers with beautiful chanting of the Ganesha Ashtotra as devotees symbolically bathed and decorated the Diety with flowers, garlands, sandal paste and kumkum. Other traditional ingredients were offered with loving devotion at the Lotus Feet of Lord Ganesh. Finally Babaji Himself offered the prasadam to the Diety and performed the aarati to both Lord Ganesh and Shri Swamiji. Babaji then distributed to all the devotees who had gathered the special Ashram-made ladoos (a kind of Indian sweet known to be Lord Ganesh's favourite) as prasadam.
Shri Babaji's Message for Ganesh Chaturti
Every year Ganesha Chaturti festival is celebrated in a big way all over India and by Indians all over the world too. Legend tells Lord Ganesha as the Son of Shiva and Parvati. If we go to the concept of Lord Shiva as the Supreme Consciousness, Existence in total quietness known as Maha Samadhi and Goddess Parvati as the Female aspect of The Divinity in the form of the Supreme Energy. These two are inseparable, like the Mind and it's energies. This concept taking a form manifested as Ganesha is the concept where one is taught to worship The Divinity as the remover of all obstacles. That is why Ganesha is also known as Vighneshwara. Vighna means obstacle. Vighneshwara concept is Lord of Obstacles. Means who has the power to remove all obstacles.
Well, it would be natural for a common human on this earth to pray for removing of all obstacles on the path of one's sojourn on this earth. It is purely a worldly matter. If one needs job, earn money or livelihood, business, any type of undertaking journey, need to finish any work, etc... never ending so on and on and on... This world is part of illusion. I would not try to give any conclusive answer, just an opinion based on experience, observation and learning. In this world you try to get one desire fulfilled, a hundred other desires crop up. Mind never stops, like if you wish for a bicycle and get it, then mind would jump for a motorcycle, then for a car, for an airplane, never ending so on and on and on... All the time one would like that all obstacles be removed according one's own wishes. Ultimately this world is impermanent.
One must strive to look for permanent supreme happiness. Pray to The Divine Vighneshwara, The Divine as the remover of obstacles to remove all dullness, laziness, depression and give us inspiration, courage, determined devotion to the cause of finding final solution for our secure existence in permanent peace. May the Divine Vighneshwara remove all obstacles and inspire humanity to strive for purification of one's own corrupted Mind. May the Humanity live for each other, consider about each other's happiness. May there be Peace and dignity to all beings in the world. May there be peace and happiness to all beings in all the worlds.
Love and blessings,
Baba Shivarudra Balayogi