September 2011 Ezine - "Ganesh Chaturthi" celebrating Lord Ganesha's Birthday...



 

Ganesha's birthday which is called Ganesha Chaturthi is one of the important festivals for Hindus and is celebrated with much fanfare in India.
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Namaskar,

Ganesha is one of the deities best-known and most widely worshiped in the Indian subcontinent and world over. In south India, almost very corner of the street would have a tiny temple dedicated to Ganesha. So going about the daily business, we are bound to meet him at every walk on the street. Which I find is very reassuring..

The elephant-deity has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. Always portrayed with a mouse  his official carrier/ vehical (called Vahanam in Sanskrit ), his body and form has not only mesmerized devotees but also has been an inspiration for artists .

He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshiped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. He is honored at the beginning of all rituals and Hindu ceremonies. 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. Ganesha's belly represents the brahmanda, the entire universe and its illusory quality to encompass everything good or bad.
 

                "The Content" © sandhyamanne 2011

  
Ganesha's birthday which is called Ganesha Chaturthi is one of the important festivals for Hindus and is celebrated with much fanfare in India. The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usually falls between 20 August and 15 September, This year it was on September 1st. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdasi (fourteenth day of the waxing moon period).

The festival always reminds me of my childhood, I would assist my mother and father in its preparation. My mother would prepare a variety of delicacies on the day of the festival. The most important is the Modhakam, Ganesha's favorite among food. The recipe for modhakam differs from region to region. My Mother (and I now) make them with rice flour, jaggery and coconut. The day would start with Kolam (floor art) in the fort-yard, head baths and wearing the traditional clothes.

Then I would accompany my father on his scooter to the local market for fresh flowers , coconut, fruits, betal leaves all of which would be offered to the lord at the time of worship. But the most important is the wet clay Ganesha, that are freshly made with red clay right at the market in various sizes. The potter would make and sell them until the clay lasts. We would shop everything else required for the day and then buy the fresh mud Ganesha at the end since I had to hold it sitting on the scooter back home. I would hold a steel plate and then father would pour a handful of rice grains (considered a symbol of prosperity, sustenance and abundance....but I think it held the fresh wet idol to the plate better) and then place the Ganesha on it. Now the important task was for both of us to get on that scooter along with the Ganesha idol, since it is fresh and wet, we had to be careful not to smash him. .
Riding back holding the Ganesha, I would watch everybody else shopping for fruits and flowers and the mud Ganesha idols. That would be the common site on the streets that morning.
Back home we would place the Ganesha in our shrine along with other deities and then mother and me would decorate him with flowers, dhurba grass and would place all the fruits, sugercane and delicacies in front of him as an offering. Father would check the time, for the Pooja (the act of worship) has to take place at the auspicious time of the day for it to be most effective. 

 

Lord Ganesha  decorated with flowers... food offerings on plantain leaf...
 

Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations end with the immersion or Visarjan of clay Ganesha idol in water. Hindus worship Brahman or the Supreme Soul present in all animate and inanimate. But for majority of the people it is not possible to worship this formlessness. They need a form to pray. Clay and water is mixed to give form to the formlessness. People bring Ganesha in clay idol form into their home on the first day of the Ganesh Chaturthi, the Idol is installed in the household shrine. Installation of an idol is nothing but " Prana Prathista" and "avahan" invoking the particular God into the idol. It symbolizes that Lord Ganesh is there in the idol during the festival and receiving our prayers, chants and food offerings. And, since no one can bear the power and energy of Ganesha after the 9 day festival except Bhudevi ie Mother Earth, the idol is immersed in water, there by after the celebrations, it is time to accept the eternal cosmic law that which took form has to become formless again. It is a never ending cycle (Chakra).

The formlessness giving way to form and then moving again towards formlessness. Each year Ganesha arrives to teach us that forms change but the Supreme Truth remains the same.

 
 
 
 
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  • Finally, the schools have reopened and life is getting back to normal..giving me more time at the studio...
  • August news from the studio...
  • My new artwork Brown Chakra is up for sale just click on it to View-Buy.       
  • My first Art Faire was held at Lakewood Summer Arts Faire here in Dallas. The faire was on the 27th and 28th of August. I got a booth to display all my work for 2 days. I sold 4 paintings, met some awesome people and learned a lot about my craft..
 
 
My Booth at the Arts Faire.....
 
 
  • I have been juried in as one of the regular showing artists at the Oxide Gallery in Denton. The next Art Exhibit will be up from Oct 1st to Jan 31st. I will be showing my from this show. Would love to have you at the receiption on Oct 1st....
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