As the bestower of siddhi, success, Lord Ganesha is one of the most beloved gods of the hindu pantheon. Ganesha is the benign god of wisdom and remover of all obstacles. Kind and generous Ganesha is always invoked before any important work is undertaken.
Nationalist and freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak was the person who turned the private household Ganesh Chaturthi celebration into a huge public festival, as the leader saw the need to unite Indians more and the festival served as a meeting place of all caste and communities at a time when public, social, political gatherings were banned by the British.
Tilak also wanted the Ganesha festival to become a social gathering where everyone could enjoy and co-exist in the same flavour and valour. This year marks his death centennial year, and we can say that his wish has been fulfilled and his efforts cherished to a wider extent.
Today, Lord Ganesha is not just worshipped and looked at as a religious deity but also as a friend, a family member and a guide especially during the Ganpati festival. Children as well as adults love Ganesha like a close friend, to share all their joy and sorrows and seek blessings from their adored lord who is also seen as a lovable parent.
I feel this is a very natural and progressive development of what started off as a religious festival. Today everyone enjoys the festival not just as a traditional gathering but as a fun and enjoyable social affair. There is a lot of excitement and promotion of this carnival not only in many parts and states of India but also in many countries. As Lord Ganesha signifies success, we can say it’s already met in a very beautiful way!
Originally Ganesha idols were sculpted using the eco-friendly shadu clay and now again we have an increasing awareness and implimentation of the same. People are making their own eco-friendly Ganesha, sweets and modaks which is also a de-stressing and a family bonding activity.
However in the present times, as we have already met the social unifying and social gathering aspect of it, we must also put some more light and spread more awareness, during the festival, especially on how relevant, creative and meaningful are Lord Ganesha’s personality traits, leadership qualities, attributes, symbolisms, artistic qualities and teachings expressed and explained extensively in literature and scriptures.
Time has come when we should start celebrating this festival, highlighting more his intellectual and versatile qualities and promote those well in the ganpati pandals, mandals and during processions along with prayers and cultural songs so that in the coming years we would gain success with a growing intellectual, sensible and sensitive citizens.
The world is suffering from environmental hazards like the recent Amazon rainforest fires, the melting glaciers, global unrest, war-like situations. All these obstacles and negativity can have a solution in the ‘blessings’ or the perfect understanding, rightful approach and practice of Lord Ganesha’s virtuous qualities, clever and positive tactics of problem solving and maintaining peace. The more we adhere to these techniques and inculcate them, during the festival and throughout the year, the better we will succeed and prosper.
The Lord teaches us to open our third eye, use our wisdom when we are confronted by obstacles.
Let us open our spiritual eyes, to contemplate on the various attributes of Lord Ganesha clearly and implement them to grow as a human. Let us be true to our conscience. Once our mind is cleared of all unwanted thoughts, we will experience self-realization that we are all a part of this nature, which includes animals and all living creatures in it and that we cannot exist without it, and we all co-exist in this eco-system.
To mutually co-exist, we must love and co-operate, and be tolerant to all worldly living beings and befriend everyone.
This will be the celebration of the lord in true sense and our reward of devotion and dedication to the lord.
As Lord Ganesha rightly suggests,
Desire, unless under control can create havoc.
We must ride the desire and keep it under control, like Ganesha rides his vehical the mouse, and
never allow it to take us for a ride.
Let us celebrate this Ganesh Chaturthi, let us listen more, forgive easily, meditate and keeping our ego aside, let us try to understand everything happening around us, and take steps wisely for our peaceful and harmonious co-existence.
“In the infinite glory of the waking morning…
The glittering dawn…
In the echo of soulful scintillating cymbals…
stringing souls of compassion and unifying benign peace…
The Meditation of sublime presence…
My ode to the beauty…
O my beloved Lord Ganesha!”