Ganesh Chaturthi, the birthday of Lord Ganesha is celebrated every year during the Hindu month of Bhadrapada with much fervour and enthusiasm. The ten day long festival ends on Ananta Chaturdashi with the immersion of Ganesha idols. Slogans of Ganpatti Bappa Morya.
Much credit goes to revolutionary freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak for resuscitating interest in the festival. It was during 1893 when Tilak urged the masses to unite and come together to celebrate the festival. The main motive was to unite people and inculcate feelings of patriotism in them.
Lord Ganesha is considered to be the son of Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati. He possesses the head of an elephant on which there’s a tiara. His four hands hold a symbolic object like the trishul or trident. Other symbolic objects carried by Lord Ganesha are a goad or ankush and a lotus. Lord Ganesha is known as the deity of wisdom and auspiciousness and he is said to have a great sense of humor as well.
The association between Lord Ganesha and the Chaturthi is due to the fact that he was born on the 4th day of fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Magh. Hence, his birth anniversary celebration is known as Ganesh Chaturthi.
An interesting story behind Lord Ganesha’s birth is that his mother PARVARTI had once created a human figure and instilled life in it, thus asking it to guard the door while she had gone on a bath. During this time, Lord Shiva came to see his wife after a prolonged period and meditation at Mountain Kailash. When stopped by the human figure from entering the house, Lord Shiva was outraged and cut off the former’s head.
Very soon, Shiva came to know that the human figure was created by Parvati. So, he sent his attendants to look for the head of the first living object they could find. The attendants found an elephant and cut off its head to place on the human figure’s body so as to bring him back to life. This is why Lord Ganesha is seen to have an elephant head. He is known as Ganapati or Chief of Ganas or “Lord Shiva’s attendants”
Lord Ganesha is a symbol of auspiciousness, wealth, good luck and prosperity. His image is a composite of elephant and man with each part having its own significance. The elephant head represents great strength.
The human form is a symbol of wisdom and intelligence. Lord Ganesha’s mouse represents presence of mind. The four arms of Lord Ganesha depict the four directions are space. To all his devotees, Ganesha remains as the most important God; he is the universe.
The human body of Ganesha represents the “tvam” whereas his elephant head symblolizes the “tat”. Hence, the combination of these two (the body of Lord Ganesha) represents the highest reality of the Brahman.
Lord Ganesha’s ears resemble winnowing baskets. Just as one separates grain and dirt, one should also learn to distinguish the real (Brahman) from the unreal (maya) by listening to the scriptures from his Guru.