Wednesday, September 26, 2007
All About the Hindu Elephant-Deity
Ganesha — the elephant-deity riding a mouse — has become one of the commonest mnemonics for anything associated with Hinduism. This not only suggests the importance of Ganesha, but also shows how popular and pervasive this deity is in the minds of the masses.
The Lord of Success
The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. In fact, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja.
Significance of the Ganesha Form
Ganesha's head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha's left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties.
The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our petition. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. And he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse.
How Ganesha Got His Head
The story of the birth of this zoomorphic deity, as depicted in the Shiva Purana, goes like this: Once goddess Parvati, while bathing, created a boy out of the dirt of her body and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access, and struck off the boy's head in rage. Parvati broke down in utter grief and to soothe her, Shiva sent out his squad (gana) to fetch the head of any sleeping being who was facing the north. The company found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its life and made him the leader (pati) of his troops. Hence his name 'Ganapati'. Shiva also bestowed a boon that people would worship him and invoke his name before undertaking any venture.
However, there's another less popular story of his origin, found in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana: Shiva asked Parvati to observe the punyaka vrata for a year to appease Vishnu in order to have a son. When a son was born to her, all the gods and goddesses assembled to rejoice on its birth. Lord Shani, the son of Surya (Sun-God), was also present but he refused to look at the infant. Perturbed at this behaviour, Parvati asked him the reason, and Shani replied that his looking at baby would harm the newborn. However, on Parvati's insistence when Shani eyed the baby, the child's head was severed instantly. All the gods started to bemoan, whereupon Vishnu hurried to the bank of river Pushpabhadra and brought back the head of a young elephant, and joined it to the baby's body, thus reviving it.
Ganesha, the Destroyer of Pride
Ganesha is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is the personification of material universe in all its various magnificent manifestations. "All Hindus worship Ganesha regardless of their sectarian belief," says D N Singh in A Study of Hinduism. "He is both the beginning of the religion and the meeting ground for all Hindus."
The devotees of Ganesha are known as 'Ganapatyas', and the festival to celebrate and glorify him is called Ganesh Chaturthi.
How to celebrate the great Ganesha festival
A life-like clay model of Lord Ganesha is made 2-3 months prior to the day of Ganesh Chaturthi. The size of this idol may vary from 3/4th of an inch to over 25 feet.
On the day of the festival, it is placed on raised platforms in homes or in elaborately decorated outdoor tents for people to view and pay their homage. The priest, usually clad in red silk dhoti and shawl, then invokes life into the idol amidst the chanting of mantras. This ritual is the pranapratishhtha. After this the shhodashopachara (16 ways of paying tribute) follows. Coconut, jaggery, 21 modakas (rice flour preparation), 21 durva (trefoil) blades and red flowers are offered. The idol is anointed with red unguent (rakta chandan). Throughout the ceremony, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda and Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted.
For 10 days, from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, Ganesha is worshipped.
On the 11th day, the image is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of all man. All join in this final procession shouting "Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya" (O father Ganesha, come again early next year). After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the idol to the river to immerse it.
The whole community comes to worship Ganesha in beautifully done tents. These also serve as the venue for free medical checkup, blood donation camps, charity for the poor, dramatic performances, films, devotional songs, etc. during the days of the festival.
Swami Sivananda Recommends
On the Ganesh Chaturthi day, meditate on the stories connected with Lord Ganesha early in the morning, during the Brahmamuhurta period. Then, after taking a bath, go to the temple and do the prayers of Lord Ganesha. Offer Him some coconut and sweet pudding. Pray with faith and devotion that He may remove all the obstacles that you experience on the spiritual path. Worship Him at home, too. You can get the assistance of a pundit. Have an image of Lord Ganesha in your
house. Feel His Presence in it.
Don’t forget not to look at the moon on that day; remember that it behaved unbecomingly towards the Lord. This really means avoid the company of all those who have no faith in God, and who deride God, your Guru and religion, from this very day.
Take fresh spiritual resolves and pray to Lord Ganesha for inner spiritual strength to attain success in all your undertakings.
May the blessings of Sri Ganesha be upon you all! May He remove all the obstacles that stand in your spiritual path! May He bestow on you all material prosperity as well as liberation!
Vakrtund Mahakaya Surya Koti Samaprabha |
Nirbhignam Kurumedaya Sarva Karyashu Sarvada |
He is sick tired unwell
This cat he could not bell
He tried with his laconic limericks
His hate comments as well
So he took a rope lassoed his balls
A new way of committing suicide
A short cut to cut even the poetic drivel
But he survived 9 lives
Dreams within his dreams to dwell
He has gone in for a new identity
Change a change for this poetic rebel
No he has retired as Tweed Heads
Celebrity bard.. yes he realized
His demons he could not scare well
His past in wraps his newness
A magical spell..
His skin the color of black
Curly hair transplant
Michael Jacksons plastic sugeon did well
He laughs when the world questions
Who killed Allen James Saywell?
melodious music kinetic
a moment at the ganesha visarjan poetic
The Hijda Mujra Dancer athletic
Her persona magnetic
To be blogged as a photo
Touching hearts and souls cybernetic
neither man nor woman
of her androgynus fate
a female fatale cosmetic
seeking love in the wilderness
razor sharp remorse prophetic
ganesh visarjan is the immersion of the elephant headed god, son of shiva and parvati into the seas...
Again I came back at 4 am to shoot the last journey of the Lal Bagh Chya Raja , ended up on the picture and the cops deleted all my early morning pictures as photography is not allowed on the beach..
And for you guys at Bloggers and Words Press, pictures of the Visarjan over 100 are here at Flickrs I dont have the energy to cross blog this at my other sites..
also the Lal Bagh Chya Raja 2007 pictures and the Visarjan at Juhu Beach are all at Flickr..
I am happy being a follower of the faith I was born in a faith I recieved from my mothers womb..yes I am a Shia and proud of being an Indian Muslim.
I left my shop to shoot the Visarjan pictures, again came back to Girgaum in my state of fast early morning 4 am to shoot the last journey of Lal Bagh Chya Raja , I was stupid to follow his entourage right up to the beach, and was given the stick for shooting pictures of the Visarjan, my pictures deleted yet photojournalists from Times of India can shoot this and a photo blogger gets the stick.Actually the Mumbai Police dont even know what t a Photo Blogger is.. a Blogger who works his ass off without editorial benefits or money..
Anyway coming back to innocencenow..it shocks me to be told what to post or what not to post unlike her a free Flickr member throwing her attitude at me where as I have paid the princely amount of US $47 ...
Pictures of blood , yet she has no qualms the Jehadis shed killing innocent people, decapitating journalist heads , but it is my pictures that effect her sanctimoniusness, and who cares a fuck fof her relationship with Lucknow Nawabs according to me even a guy named Nawab at birth becomes blue blood in course of time..And I am not in awe of Nawabs..but I respect the human nature of a few nawabs though their ancestry may be questionable , but I am not interested in seeking the hand of their daughters for my unmarried son..
So now I copy her message ..
Subject: I request you with folded hands
I request you with folded hands please do not post pictures of blood. I am quite sensitive to feelings of Shias and respect them because I liked the nawabs of awadh I am myself a Lucknowite and have many shia friends but perhaps it would be better if you kept photos for viewing by your friends and acquaintances it is very likely that people who know nothing about sacrifice of Shia leaders would not understand the message that you might be trying to convey and form a bad image of Lucknow. I am sure you yourself will not like that.
I hope you will kindly consider my suggestion. I will be indebted to you for the same.
My reply Go Stuff Yourself...
At home I felt my fast, my leg wound too was giving me trouble..at about 6pm, I decided to go to Girgaon Chowpatty to continue shooting the Ganeshas , so I carried stuff to break my fast took a train to Charni Road from Bandra , reached Opera House junction , and began shooting , at about 7 pm I broke my fast, and at 10 pm I walked or rather limped towards Chira Bazar shooting the various processions heading towards the sea at Chira Bazar I took a cab to Colaba to my parents house, I had decided to spend the night here and catch up with the Lal Bagh Chya Raja when he reaches Chowpatty at 4 am, for Vsarjan, I slept, at 3.30am I began my fast and brother Firdaus who was going to the airport to catch a flight to for Hyderabad dropped me at Chowpatty, I shot a few pictures of Dongri ka Raja and than came the King Of Kings Lal Bagh Chya Raja , I shot all this on a new card following him till the beach, here to my bad luck I was aiming the camera towards the sea and caught by two drunk volunteers of Umerkhadi, who objected to my camera, hassled me no end when they came to know I was a Muslim, why I was wearingthe Lal Bagh Chya cap, I was taken to the Mumbai cops, and from there to another officer of the Mumbai Police, and was made to delete all my pictures I had shot of Lal Bagh Chya Raja, this is the flip side of being a Muslim at the wrong place and the wrong time, I had shown my Bandra Samachar press card too, but such is the fear psychosis of man, even the Inspector did not believe me..and this shocks me, I told them I was fasting , that shook them up more including my attire..
Luckily all these were on a new card or imagine having to delete everything that I had shot the night before, I have returned home to Bandra quite sad dejected..I at times like this feel, that being a Muslim is a tough cross to carry , where you are pronounced guilty before you prove you are innocent..I try to share my pictures on the net without any bias, and Ganpati is about a cry for freedom vociferously echoed by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, to get rid of the British Government, Ganpati is not only about Hinduism or Hope or Hindutva it is about our nationalism, about our Indianess, not satisfied with my Press Card the Mumbai Police Inspector took my visiting card too..Well this is the Finale to my Ganesh Visarjan at Girgaum Chowpatty , I was abused by the Maharashtrian boys Umerkhadi, ruffians, shabbily treated, I tried to call my neigbour Advocate Ashish Shelar, but he was unavaiable.. and he is a BJP corporator, and knows what Ganesha means to me..
I shall now hit the sack,, yes I am tired and disillusined but I guess this is Life and the show goes on..Try never to carry your camera on the beach for Visarjan, I was lucky they dod not smash my camera.. or me for that matter...
I am perhaps the only Muslim shooting Lalbaugh Chya Raja for over 20 years or more ,,thanks to Mr Sudhir Salvi head honcho of the Mandal.....
Shah-e-Mardan Sher-e-Yazdan Quwat-e-Parwardigar Lafata Ila Ali La Saif Ila Zulfiqar , originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1 ....
Ek Shahenshah Ne Banake Yeh Haseen Tajmahal Ham Gareebon Ki Mohabbat Ka Udaya Hai Mazak.. , a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Fli...