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Celebrate Gowri-Ganesha with pomp

Gowri – Ganesha festival is round the corner and it is that time of the year again to offer kadubus to the lord, who is believed to remove all hurdles. The God of Wisdom who is worshipped with reverence before embarking on new ventures or activities is said to bring luck with his support, grace and blessing. Hence, the prayer “Vakratunda Mahakaya, Suryakoti Samaprabha Nirvighnam Kuru me Deva, Sarvakaryeshu Sarvada” could be heard on all occasions.

The festival is celebrated over two days. The Gowri puja is more confined to the homes, while Ganesha festival is celebrated by masses. An idol of Gowri made of clay is brought on the eve of Ganesha festival. Women dressed in colourful and richly embroidered sarees, worship the Goddess, an incarnation of Parvathi.

The Ganesha festival falls on the fourth day of the bright half of Bhadrapada. According to legend, the Goddess Gowri, while bathing, 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 and cut off Ganesha’s head as He thought Ganesha was an outsider. When Gauri came to know of this she was sorely grieved.

To console her grief Shiva ordered His servants to cut off and bring to Him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant’s head was brought before Shiva. The Lord then joined the elephant’s head onto the body of Ganesha. Lord Shiva made His son worthy of worship at the beginning of all undertakings, marriages, expeditions, studies, and other important occasions. He ordained the annual worship of Ganesha and everyyear the festival is celebrated on the fourth day of the bright half of Bhadrapada.

A large number of images of all possible sizes are made, and on Ganesha Chaturthi people buy them to keep in their houses as a divine guest for one, five, seven, or ten days. After which the image is taken out ceremoniously and immersed into the river, sea or well and now the modern-trend, in a bucket too. The idol should not be kept after this day, as it is considered inauspicious.

On all the days, a puja is performed with family members, praising the Lord for His benevolance and seeking His blessings. Kadubu and Modaka are the famous food preparations offered to the Elephant-headed deity.

The mass celebrations are held in mantaps. The neighbourhood Ganeshas are the most famous among Bangaloreans. Idols of various sizes and shapes depicting religious or current themes are installed in the mantaps.

Everyday, cultural or entertainment programmes are organised and on the last day, a huge procession is taken in the neighbourhood and immersed in a lake or a well. It goes unsaid that children shout at the top of their voice “Ganesha banda, kai kadubu tinda, chikkerele edda, dodda kereli bidda”. Happy Gowri-Ganesha festival. Remember two things. Don’t look at the moon on Ganesha Chaturthi. If you have, read or listen to “Shyamantaka Mani” story.

By A.B.Sudhindra

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