Gaṇeśa Caturthī

वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सूर्यकोटिसमप्रभ।
निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा॥

vakratuṇḍa mahākāya sūryakoṭisamaprabha  |
nirvighnaṁ kuru me deva sarvakāryeṣu sarvadā  ||

(Salutations to Lord Gaṇeśa) who has a curved trunk, an immense body and whose brightness is equal to a million suns; O Deva, please keep my efforts (towards dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa) free from mishap.

Gaṇesa Caturthī

Gaṇeśa Caturthī is a commemorative date that takes place in the month Bhādrapada, on the fourth day of the light fortnight of the Hindu calendar. The day is dedicated to the worship of Lord Gaṇeśa, the elephant-headed God who is one of the most popular deities in the Hindu pantheon, being the one who removes obstacles, Vighneśvara, being also Varada and Siddhida, the one who bestows benefits and successes of any endeavor.

For this reason, at the beginning of all pūjā (rituals) a first specific pūjā is always dedicated to Lord Gaṇeśa, so that the main pūjā takes place without hindrance. For the same reason, mantras in his name are chanted before studies, at the opening of a trade, at the beginning of some work, etc.

The deities are, in essence, Īśvara, the Lord of all things, and every offering is a symbolic act. Thus, Īśvara gives us the opportunity to redeem ourselves and realign ourselves to the universal order through action. In this case, the pūjā can teach us about total dedication and surrender to the feet of Lord Gaṇeśa, who is not different from the ultimate reality, Brahman.

The celebration of Gaṇeśa Caturthī follows a special ritual. The main time for performing the pūjā is at noon. A beautifully painted clay statue is brought in and installed on a decorated and prepared altar. After the preliminary rites, prāṇa pratiṣṭhā with appropriate mantras should be performed, to invoke the presence of the deity in the image. Then follows the ritual with 16 upacaras (offerings). A very important part of the pūjā is offering dūrvā (a kind of grass), twenty-one modakas (the sweet favorite of Lord Gaṇeśa) and tendrils. According to Swami Harshananda in the book Hindu Festivals and Sacred Days, in offering dūrvā, we are humbly offering all the good things in life that give us happiness and pleasure, represented by modaka. The number 21 symbolizes the twenty-one aspects of our persona: the five organs of sense, the five organs of action, the five prāṇas (vital energies), the five elements (space, air, fire, water and earth) and the mind. .

Next, the image must be ceremonially immersed in water. Currently, the statue of Gaṇeśa is kept and worshiped for a day and a half or until the fourteenth day of the light fortnight of the month Bhādrapada, then it is carried in procession to a body of water (river, sea, well, etc.) submerged.

There is a popular belief that if a person looks at the moon on the day of Gaṇeśa Caturthī, he will be falsely accused of theft or similar act. The myth has its origins in the Purāṇas (Hindu literature that tells different stories about the devas) and a certain narrative in the Mahābhārata (Indian epic containing the Bhagavad Gītā) in which the God Kṛṣṇa is accused of having stolen the cow that grants all desires. . The solution given to the question consisted of chanting a mantra¹ in front of a glass of water and drinking it afterwards.

May we on this day honor Gaṇeśa, the one who removes obstacles from all our endeavors, whatever they may be, and who bestows the benefits and successes resulting from their realization.

¹सिंहः प्रसेनमवधीत् सिंहो जाम्भवता हतः।

सुकुमारक मा रोदीः तव ह्येष स्यमन्तकः॥

siṁhaḥ prasenamavadhīt siṁho jāmbhavatā hataḥ|

sukumāraka mā rodīḥ tava hyeṣa syamantakaḥ||

A lion killed Prasenajit, the lion was harbored by Jambavan.

Cry not, O tender child! This syamantaka gem belongs to you.

Om sad gurave namaḥ _/\_
Written by Maline Ribeiro