Ganapati Bappa Morya!!!

Posted by Tandarin Nike Monday, September 13, 2010 9:38 PM
The visage of Ganesha (or Ganapati) is easily recognizable as the elephant-headed God of Knowledge and Wisdom. A Ganesha murti can be found in the home of every Hindu. Tiny Ganesha figurines also grace the dashboard of new cars; and Ganesha icons in a variety of poses is a popular gift for family and friends. With the ever-growing popularity of Ganesha, devotees start their prayers with this hymn to Ganesha.

Many are familiar with the legend of Ganesha’s coming to life.

Once when Shiva was away and Parvati wanted to bathe, she created a male child from the skin of her body and gave it life. She instructed the child to let no one come her way.

While she bathed and the child stood guard, Shiva arrived, but was stopped by the child whom Shiva does not recognize.

A fight ensued and Shiva beheads the boy and discards the head. When Parvati finds out what happened to her child, her sorrow remains inconsolable. To make amends, Shiva instructs his band of followers to bring the first head they come across. When they return with the head of an elephant, Shiva places it on the child’s body and gives it new life. Thus Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, came to be.

Children are intriqued by the appearance of Ganesha and want to know: “Why does he have a trunk? Why does he have large ears?” and so on. While this hymn does not answer these questions, enlightened people over the ages have guided us to perceive the unique aspects of Ganesha’s form in a manner that is relevant to our own lives.

The elephantine ears guide us to give people our full attention, particularly to our family and friends. The overly large head further guides us to reflect on what people say and to carefully judge the merits of their words. The narrow eyes caution us to focus on our surroundings and be ever watchful.

The small mouth hidden behind the trunk prompts us to speak sparingly, but with clarity and truth; and the enormous stomach symbolizes our need to digest all good and bad experiences life brings our way.

A rear hand holds a noose directing us to control our senses and desires; the other rear hand wields an axe, useful in severing our desires and attachments, which trap us in this materialistic world.

The front right hand is always raised in blessing, in a posture called the abhaya hasta – removing fears of the unknown. Seeing such a posed hand soothes our heart, drives away worries, and reassures us that we are ever in God’s care. And despite all the challenges that come our way, he stands by us and loves us dearly, always!

And finally, with his left hand presenting modaka (rice muffins), Ganesha promises us sweet fruits of our labors and ultimate peace in our spiritual quest.

Ganapati Bappa More Ya!!!
Ganapati 2010 at Nayak's-Banakal - Karnataka ....

Ganesh Chaturthi (or Ganapati Chovati as we Konkanis call it) is THE celebration in our extended family home in Banakal- Karnataka. We took a few days respite in Shimoga meeting our relatives and then returned to our ancestral home just in time for the Ganesh Chaturthi Utsav (festival).

Over the next day, our extended family home transformed itself into a festive temple. The entire woman folk of the Nayak-fold got busy preparing traditional Konkani sweets and foods for the occassion.

Siblings and cousins from all over Karnataka descended on our ancestral home on the auspicious day. Professional that we have become, we as flower stringers decorated our main hall in elaborate arrangements of plump marigolds.

Humongous pots and pans, giant oil lamps and other puja accompaniments were retrieved from storage and polished to a high gleam. The ornaments which deck the murthy were brought from the safe storage vaults of the local bank and kept ready for dressing.

The day before, jackfruit leaves were washed and pinned to make the pocket KhoTo idli. Torans of mango leaves decorated our doors, and officially, Ganesh Chaturthi was underway. While the women folk strung their favorite ‘garlands’ and traded gossip, we boys went to pick up our Ganesh murthy.

In this first pic, Ganapati has only been brought and kept in place

During the first puja, the murthy was dressed with flowers, and with the recitation of chants, sanctified with the divine presence.

During the one day of Ganapati, all pujas were performed as prescribed in the Puranas, including recitations from the Vedas by a dedicated bhatmaam who has been assigned the task by his father who in turn has recited many of the pujas for our ancestors.

At the end of the day, the murthy was consigned to the family well (visarjan), leaving us all in melancholy.

Until of course the next year.... Ganapati bappa morya, pudcha varshi laukar ya..

2 Response to "Ganapati Bappa Morya!!!"

  1. shivani Says:

    Thanks Tandarin not only for sharing the festival with us with all it's paraphernalia but also for so much about Lord Ganesh.
    Enjoyed every bit of the intensity and excitement of the festival because not only did i listen but i saw too thanks to the brilliant photographs of Ganesh Jee before and Ganesh Jee after the shringaar.
    Of Course i am saying it too along with you,and others
    "Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudcha Varshi Laukar Ya..." :)

  2. Tandarin Nike Says:

    Thank you Shivani. Hope and pray the good lord showers all of us with his blessings right through the year.

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