MPORTANCE OF GANESH  CHATURTHI -----

GANESH CHATURTHI---

Ganeshji is remembered on chauth or chaturthi, the 4th day of every month of the Hindu calendered, but most of all on Ganesh Chaturthi which is celebrated as his birthday.

Ladoos are distributed, milk is offered to idols of Lord Ganesh at home and at temples, and worshippers visit Ganesh temples for Ganesh Puja.

Lord Ganesh---

One of the most popular Gods in India, lord Ganesh or Ganpati is considered a symbol of wisdom and a bringer of good luck. It is said that his elephant head epitomises everything related to wisdom-small shrewd eyes, long ears that miss nothing, a long nose that can smell out anything fight and his vehicle, a mouse, reflects how much importance a wise man gives to the smallest of life forms. Shown at gateways and on doors, either by visuals or symbols, generally facing the rising sun in the east, Ganesh is revered across India as a great clearer of obstacles. Meetings, gatherings, weddings, functions and celebrations begin with a prayer of lord Ganesh and no new venture-be it a new company, a new house, a new shop is inaugurated without reciting a mantra of lord Ganesh.

Mythology----

Centuries ago during a war between the Gods and the Demons, Lord Shiva was away for a long time. His wife, Goddess Parvati, afraid of being alone for an extended period used her divine powers and created a son, Ganesh, and gave him the responsibility of protecting the house. When Lord Shiva and his army, returned victorious to his home, Parvati was in her bath, and Ganesh had been strictly instructed not to allow anyone in. Angered by Ganeshs refusal to allow him in to the house, Lord Shiva and his army chopped off the boys head. When Parvati came out of her bath, she was shocked and grieved to see her son dead. Lord Shiva, to pacify, her proclaimed that the head of Ganesh would be replaced by that of the first creature that came up the hill. As luck would have it the first visitor to the hill was an elephant and his head was promptly cut off and placed on that of Lord Ganesh, and life was restored to the son of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati. To pacify his wife further and compensate for the act of killins own son, Lord Shiva bestowed upon Ganesh the powers of a God and blessed him that henceforth no activity will begin without invoking your name and blessings. Since then, it is said, no new venture - the inauguration of accompany, the opening of a shop, the foundation of a building, entering a new home - is deemed complete by Hindus without a Ganesh puja.

Ancient Hindu texts are filled with tales about Lord Ganesh, his powers, wisdom and goodness, one of the most delightful being the one about a contest between him and his brother, Kartikeya. Kartikeya was very proud of his mount, the peacock, and his own speed and efficiency, challenged lord Ganesh to a race around the world 7 times. While Kartikeya made a tour of the world thrice, Ganesh just encircled lord Shiva and goddess Parvati, his parents 7 times, and claimed victory. The story is often related to inculcate in children the importance of God and their parents.

The Festival---

Ganesh is remembered on chauth or chaturthi, the 4th day of every month of the Hindu calendered, but most of all on Ganesh Chaturthi which is celebrated as his birthday. Ladoos are distributed on the day-by tradition ladoos were placed in different corners of the house and eaten before the meal. Milk is offered to idols of lord Ganesh at home and at temples, and Ganesh puja is performed at all temples and hi-house prayer rooms. Fasting, feasting and distribution of sweets offered to Lord Ganesh are important aspects of Ganesh chaturthi rituals in India. Hindus pray to images of Lord Ganesha, large and small, many of them made specially for the occasion by cottage industries and street side artisans, and those that do not wish to keep the idols alive by daily prayers, offerings and lighting oil lamps, immerse them in the nearest water body (all rivers, lakes and the sea which are sacred to Hindus).

Tilaks Contribution----

Ganesh chaturthi was further promoted by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who brought to the cause of independence a fire of religious revivalism. Tilak (1856-1920) was a Maharashtrian Brahmin from Poona, who believed that self government could not be achieved by co-operating with the British. His slogan, Swaraj (Home Rule) is My Birthright, was echoed for miles on every side, and when he wrote articles in the Kesari, applauding the action of terrorist and the death of 2 British women in a bomb blast in Bengal, he was promptly brought to trial and sentenced to 6 years imprisonment, resulting in a 6 day long riot in Bombay. He was the first Indian freedom fighter to be given the kind of hero-worship, later acquired by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru , Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Sardar Patel, by millions of people. After his release, he rose to become an all-India leader, working with the likes of Anne Besant for home rule, and was always respected as an intellectual.

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