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Tuesday 6 October 2015

The story behind Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayak Chaturthi is one of the major traditional festivals celebrated by the Hindu community. The festival marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha; the Lord of knowledge, wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. It is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Ananta Chaturdashi.

There are many stories associated with the birth of Lord Ganesha, one of the most relevant ones is shared here. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is the son of Shiva (The God of Destruction in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer) and Parvati (Shiva’s consort). One day, as Parvati was alone at home, she felt the need for someone to guard the door to her house while she took a bath. Parvati created Ganesha out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him the task of guarding her door while she bathed. Lord Shiva returned while Parvati was bathing, but was abruptly stopped by the man-god Parvati had posted at the door. Outraged by the cheek of this stranger, Shiva cut off his head only to discover later that he had killed Parvati’s son! When Parvati learned of this, she was so enraged and insulted that she decided she was going to destroy the entire world. This worried everyone and they requested Lord Shiva to find a solution to calm her rage. Shiva then ordered all his followers (ganas) to immediately go and find a child whose mother had her back towards her child in negligence and bring his head. The first child seen by the followers was that of an elephant and they, as ordered, cut his head and brought it to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva immediately placed the head on Ganesha`s body and brought it to life again. He declared Ganesha to be his own son as well, and gave him the status of being foremost among the gods, and leader of all the ganas (classes of beings), Ganapati.

It is not known when and how Ganesh Chaturthi was first celebrated. But according to historians, the earliest Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations can be traced back to the times of the reigns of dynasties of Satavahana, Rashtrakuta and Chalukya. Historical records reveal that Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations were initiated in Maharashtra by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, the great Maratha ruler, to promote culture and nationalism. It has continued ever since. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great pomp and fair in states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

On the occassion of Ganesh Chaturthi, may the Lord fill your life with prosperity and success. Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

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