About: Ganesh Chaturthi
There are two parts to Ganeshji Chaturthi, the Chaturthi and the Lord himself.
Shri Ganeshji, the first gods.
The Lord is the one who paves the road to success, both spiritual and materialistic. He is the Viganharta, he smoothens the road and make sure there are no obstacles on the highway of success. I think the point he tries to make is take the Lords name and turn obstacles into opportunity. Ganeshji has three wives Riddhi (Riches), Siddhi (Expertise, Wisdom) and Budhi (Intellect, Grey matter!). He wrote the Mahabharata the great epic, as Rishi Ved Vyasa narrated to him. Any good deed act or thought should if started chanting his name, then success is there for the grabs. He is the auspicious one.
There are couple of stories related to Ganeshji birth, the famous one being, he born to Mata Parvati, wife of Shivji. He was born in Shivji’s absence. The Hindu fables from Hindu mythologies enlist number of Gods, avtars and heroes born from vegetative propagation (asexual form of progeny), Vishnu and Brahma, Lord Ram and his brothers, Sita, Hanuman, (and his son too, Makar Dhwaja) Ravan, Guruvayoor (not so sure) Narsingh avatar of Lord Vishnu, Kauravas, Draupadi and her brother there may be a few more from crores of Gods and heroes hailing in the mythology.
So, when Shivji returned home to Kailash after penance, he found a stout little boy eating modaks and ladoos and guarding the entrance of his house and not allowing him to get in the house. Parvati had stationed him outside as she was having a bath inside. As the son and father encountered each other for the first time, the boy did not budge from the instruction of allowing anyone inside. Shivji sent his followers but they all got beaten in the fight.
Shivji got angry for not being allowed to enter his own house and threw the Trishul. The trishul and the Sudarshan Charka being the most powerful of all divine weapons, only the Godesses and avtars have them at their disposal. The boy was decapitated by the Trishul; Mata Parvati was distraught seeing his beloved soon. She asked the Lord of the universe to bring back his life. The Lord said he cannot go against nature and bring dead boy to life. He suggested that if someone else head is bought, boon of life could be given. The Ganas, Shivji’s followers, instructed to get a head of being in the north direction. The found an elephant and bought its head. The boon of life is given. Mata Parvati was further aghast seeing an elephants head. She cried who will pray to an elephant headed God? But then Shivji proclaimed that he is the first Bhakta among all his followers and starting anything in Ganeshji name will end success. All the puja and havens are invoked taking Ganeshji name.
The Ganesh Chaturthi in Indian Freedom Struggle.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak stated celebrating Ganeshji Charuthi. Since people across all class, castes and sub castes, follow Ganeshji. The thought behind Ganesh Chaturthi was to bring people closer and unite them for a struggle for independence. In those times over hundred years back public gathering wasn’t allowed. So religious massed had to be organised and that was used to start political struggle for freedom
Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak was fiery brand of leaders before Gandhiji. He was one of a fiery brand of National leaders with great presence, Tilak was know as Himalaya of Indian politics because of his tall stature, physically and his political influence. “Swaraj is my birth right.” He was the father of Great Indian Unrest (or was it Gokhale). He was convicted for sedition by the British Raj and exiled to Mandalay. You know Jinnah was the defence counsel?
Ganesh Chaturthi today.
There is so much that can be done. The sad part is nothing of that sort is done and festival like many other is reduced to sale offer, loud music systems, churning out Bollywood dance numbers, the chaos and traffic snarls. I always supported the hands that help are holier than lips they pray. The whole thing is reduced to a show of pomp with lot of show and little of substance. Although the festival was limited to cities of Maharashtra and to a little extent Gujarat, I sense the festival growing to other parts of country too. The aftermath is unkempt pandals, dirty roads and beaches. I think the pomp and pageantry is because of rising terrorism. It is one of the many good ways of fighting the Religious Fundamentalism.
The “unity” in not only for a certain class of people or for people belonging to certain faith or belief. It is for the society as a whole. This platform of Ganesh Chaturthi can be used to awaken people against the wrongs being done in society. It can be done to uplift the socio-economic plight, corruption, pollution, accountability and many other things of political nature. But that isn’t to be.
Now for a fun side, while in Surat,for me Ganesh Chaturthi marked starting of festivals or festive celebrations of events. Naratri n Durga Puja, Dasshera, Diwali, Shivratri, Ram Naumi and ending with Holi. I wasn’t complaining with the amout of sweets that were exchanged. My mother would get busy arranging the events. So that was fun.