Relevance of Shree Ganesh in the Modern Context by Vardhan Dharkar

Tomorrow is Ganesh Chaturthi. We always see the idol of Shree Ganesh without really thinking about the significance of it. I thought it is high time for us to understand the significance of Shree Ganesh, what does it mean to us. The following article explains the significance of Shree Ganesh and Ganesh Chaturthi.

Significance of Shree Ganesh

Big Head

The big head represents intelligence. It is conveying a message that we need to develop and sharpen our intellect. To be happy in life we need to use our intellect more often so that we take correct decisions. It also tells us to think big. Think beyond self. Think for wellbeing of everyone. Think for long term happiness rather than short term pleasure.

Big Ears and Small Mouth

The big ears convey importance of listening. Listening is a fine art. Often most of us are very impatient when someone else is speaking. We tend to hear rather than listen to the point being made by the speaker. While the other person is speaking, we are preparing our counter arguments thereby not understanding and grasping the points made by the speaker. Most of the conflict will disappear if we start listening. The wise persons speak only when required to and only if they can add value to the discussion. The Mantra of life should be “Listen more and Speak less”

Small Eyes

The small eyes tell us to focus and concentrate. For achieving success and happiness in life, one needs to focus and concentrate.

Curved Trunk

The curved trunk tells us to be adaptable and flexible. The trunk can uproot a tree; it can also pick up a straw. It also tells us to be efficient in everything that we do.

Axe

Axe in the hand tells us to cut off the attachments and ego. Attachments and ego are root cause of all our unhappiness.

Rope

Rope tells us to tie up all the attachments preventing them from running free

Modak

Modak in Sanskrit means small part of bliss and it symbolises spiritual knowledge.Modak is a sweet reward for performing good karma by us. All our actions in life should be performed without any attachment and without expecting any fruit. We should leave the fruit to the Lord Ganesh. He will reward us and we have to accept his reward gracefully and happily.

Blessings

Lord Ganesh is always there to bless us and protect us.

Broken Tusk

The broken tusk gives us the message to retain everything that is good in life and discard anything and everything that is bad in life.

Large Belly

The large belly tells us to peacefully digest everything that comes our way; Life is full of good and bad things. We have to accept everything that comes our way, digest it and move forward in life.

Mouse

Mouse represents the desires in life. To be happy in life, we must keep them in control. Uncontrolled desires can cause havoc in life. In today’s world, we see many examples of lives being ruined due to unbridled desires. Life will be full of happiness if we ride desires rather than allowing desires to drive us.

Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival celebrating the annual arrival of Shree Ganesh to earth from his celestial abode. The festival is marked with the installation of Ganesh’s clay murtis (Idols) privately in homes and publicly on elaborate pandals. The murtis are worshipped and prayers offered to Shree Ganesh for a period of ten days starting from Ganesh Chaturthi and ending on Anant Chaturdashi. In homes the period may vary from one and half days to ten days. On the last day of the festival, the tradition of Visarjan (immersion) takes place. The murtis are taken in procession to nearby well, lake, river or sea and are immersed in water after performing the Pooja and prayers.

There is an interesting story behind the legend of Ganesh Visarjan. It is believed that Lord Ganesh returns to Mount Kailash to join his parents Lord Shiv and Goddess Parvati on the last day of the festival. The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi also denotes the significance of the cycle of birth, life and death. Ganesh, known as the Lord of New Beginnings, is also worshipped as the remover of Obstacles. It is believed that when the idol of the Ganesh is taken out for Visarjan, it also takes away with it the various obstacles of the home and these obstacles are destroyed along with the Visarjan. Every year, people wait with great anticipation to celebrate the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi.

The festival is celebrated throughout India, especially in the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Goa. it is also celebrated in Nepal and by the Hindu diaspora worldwide such as in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, U.K, United States and Europe.

The festival comes in the month of Bhadrapad. In the Gregorian calendar, it falls between August and September.

The public celebration was initiated by Bal Gangadhar Tilak (Lokmanya Tilak) in Pune in the year 1893. Tilak recognised the potential of Shree Ganesh’s appeal to all sections of the society. He used the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi to mobilise the people against the British rule. At public venues, along with the reading of texts and group feasting, athletic and martial arts competitions were also held.

To summarise

Shree Ganesh is inspiring us to

  • Have big and sharp intellect
  • Think big
  • Listen more and speak less
  • Focus and concentrate
  • Be adaptable, flexible and efficient
  • Cut attachment and ego
  • Retain good and discard bad
  • Digest peacefully, both good and bad
  • Ride the desires instead of desires driving you
  • He will bless us and reward us

In short he is giving us Mantra to live a happy life

Wishing everyone a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

30th August 2022

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