Vakratunda Mahaakaaya Suryakotee Sama Prabha
Nirvighnam Kuru Mey Deva Sarva Kaaryeshu Sarvadaa
Oh our supreme Lord Ganesha, with a huge body, a curved elephant trunk,
whose brilliance is equal to billions of Suns,
May you bless us always and remove all obstacles from our lives.
Each part of the Ganesha’s body signifies ‘something.
The elephant head is big – signifies knowledge and wisdom
Ears are big and large – but can hear each sound in the universe (importance of listening)
Long trunk – efficient and adaptable
Large belly – ready to digest both good or bad experiences.
So , where did my experiences with Lord Ganesha begin ?!
I am born in Gujarat. But, I am brought up in Pune. (Maharashtra)
Being in Pune, I am blessed to experience the Ganesh festival closely.
When I look at the Ganesha idol, I get a feeling of falling in love. He is so handsome, supreme, graceful and unique. I feel he is the most adorable of all gods.
The Ganesha festival in Pune is celebrated with lots enthusiasm. You have to see it to witness it.
It’s amazing to see, how people, of all ages, come together to build the Ganesha stall called the “Pandal”. Electric lighting, flower decorations, large chandeliers, large mannequins are used to depict mythological stories, some even demonstrate live street skits.
These “pandals” were started during British rule in India. Bal Gangadhar Tilak started the Ganesh festival, in Maharashtra, during British rule, to get the public together.
This shows that Lord Ganesh too was a part of the freedom struggle. When you have the god who is the reliever of all obstacles, how can India not get freedom!!
There are few things that happened in my life which got me closer to Lord Ganesha.
- My Ganesha gold chain
I always wear a gold chain, which has a “Ganesha pendant”.
Whenever I feel low or in a bad mood I hold my pendant. I am even scared of darkness. My hand immediately goes to the pendant if the electricity supply suddenly goes off.
Holding the pendant of Ganesh gives me strength. I feel closer to Ganesha.
2. Ganesha Pandals/ Stalls
Being in Pune, I was and I am fond of the Ganesh pavilion setup on the roads.
The decorations are huge and beautiful art work going into each mandap is unbelievable.
It shows and proves that our ancestors were amazing architects and the legacy is passed on through ages.
3. Dhol – Tasha
I always had the fascination of being a part of the Dhol- Tasha team (played during Ganapati).
A few years ago, I had joined a preschool as a teacher. I wasn’t quite excited about my job. It was close to my house so I joined that job.
It was just luck that the school had an annual function, and the teachers had planned to perform on the Dhol – Tasha, but on English songs. That was the first time, I was introduced to the dhol. It was a great learning experience and the performance was highly appreciated by the school parents.
4. Grace and Blessing
I am a bit lazy about filling petrol in my bike. I look at the long que and think will fill it later. The later never comes.
When the tank is almost empty, I have to fill petrol with no excuse now. There are times when I pray to Lord Ganesh, “Please let my bike reach the petrol pump, as there is no petrol”.
Till date I never have to pull my bike to the petrol pump, I always just have enough petrol to reach the gas station. I really feel and believe it’s my Ganesh’s grace that I reach the petrol pump just on time.
I had brought a clay model of Ganesh for painting, as I love painting. I usually paint clay pots or small lanterns. As I had gone to buy a pot for painting, I saw a beautiful Ganesh mud model. I just bought it. I thought I will paint it beautifully. I painted the Ganesha idol.
The Ganesh festival was about to begin in a few days. My mom asked one aunty who stays in my building. She agreed.
I went to her house for all the 10 days to attend the aarti. I even went to the lake where my Ganapati was immersed on the tenth day.
It was heart-breaking. I still remember my Ganapati idol going inside the waters. I cried on my way back. The image is still very clear my mind and gets the same heart-breaking feeling whenever I remember it.
6. Purpose of life
When I think of the Ganesh festival, it teaches me that, we are on this planet for a short period of time.
So, enjoy each moment, get people together, share food, travel, pray and dance to the beats of nature (as we do during the 10 days of Ganesh festival).
In the end (on the tenth day of Ganesh festival) we all have to immerse into our main source- the water, just the way we immerse Ganesha. (The water makes up 72 percent of our body.)
I feel extremely grateful towards lord Ganesha,
for his love and his showers of blessings.
May the lord,
bless each one of us with his royal presence.
Ganapati Bappa Morya!!!
Om Gan Ganpataye Namo Namah!!!!