When was Lord Ganesha born
HinduismIt is the elephant god's birthday
Ganesha's father Shiva is responsible for the preservation and destruction of the world. As Mahadeva - "great god" - he has his own cult and is considered the master of all worlds and all beings, says the Indologist Manjiri Bhalerao from Pune:
"Ganesha is also assigned a cult of its own. Unlike Shiva, however, he is not yet mentioned in the ancient Indian scriptures, the Vedas. It was not until the third century that Ganesha was mentioned in the texts."
The Hindu pantheon is extremely complex. There are deities like Shiva who are responsible for the destruction and the renewal of the world at the same time.
"Ganesha is delighted with any form of worship and he will favor the believer in return."
So the priest Trilok Murthy from the Ganesha temple Sri Vinayaka Mandir in New Delhi.
"There are various rituals that we can perform for him. For example, we bathe the statues every day and we add beneficial essences to the washing water. During this time we recite Vedic verses. When we chant these mantras, we fill Ganesha with great joy Then we symbolically offer him 1,008 flowers by declaiming all his names. Ganesha's beauty is based on his intelligence. He is also stout, rides a rat and he can do everything! That is why people love him. "
"He can do anything"
Ganesha is worshiped not only by Hindus, but also by Jainas and some Buddhists. The faithful ask him for his goodwill before starting a trip, before signing contracts, examinations or before building a new house. The statue of the god with the broken tusk, who holds a bowl full of sweets in one of his four to ten hands, towers over house and shop entrances and looks down into the traffic from the dashboards of Indian cars and buses.
In the temples, the believers whisper their wishes in his rat's ear - Ganesha's agile, small mount is considered an ambassador and close confidante of the deity. In front of the statues of the rat, mostly cast in bronze, temple visitors stand in line until it is their turn and can entrust the companion of their god to convey their concerns.
A little further on, the crowd in the temple slows down again - where the believers can tell Ganesha what is important to them on specially attached blackboards. His followers write down their requests and wishes in all national languages - with ballpoint pens, felt-tip pens or simply with their fingers.
A god for young and old
During the Aksharabhyasa ritual, children all over India are introduced to their first attempts at writing with the help of Ganeshas. The god of all well-intentioned undertakings, the patron saint of artists and writers, should help the little ones to learn the alphabet and safely navigate the pitfalls of their mother tongue.
Ganesha, the well-fed god, who is sometimes supposed to shower his followers with pearls and jewels, is worshiped by some of the Hindus as their main god. The so-called Ganapatyas mostly come from higher castes and come from the state of Maharasthra or from southern India. The followers of this Hindu denomination ensure, among other things, that Ganesha temples are built, maintained and operated in accordance with religious guidelines throughout India.
The various representations of the god are omnipresent during the three-day Ashtavinayaka pilgrimage in the state of Maharashtra. In the eight Ganesha temples, which the believers then pay a visit, they see Ganesha-Ganpati's portraits and statues of all stripes.
Ganesha followers who undertake the hardships of this pilgrimage gain the benevolence of their God in a special measure. This is probably one of the reasons why many of the believers do not make the trip just once. In addition, the so-called "Tirtha Yatra" offers the opportunity to exchange ideas with like-minded people.
For Ganesha followers there is no doubt that their deity can do anything. In their eyes, Ganesh embodies the unity of macro and microcosm. With the help of his strong body and intelligence, he can overcome any obstacle and strike a path for believers everywhere. His elephant head also makes him king of the animal world. In addition, if necessary, Ganesha can count on the help of his mount - his rat, which can bite through anywhere.
Ten days long birthday party
Ganesha's worship peaks each year when his birthday is celebrated. The festivities last for ten days, at the end of which the clay statues of Ganesha-Ganpatis are transported for hours in processions through the city or through the village to the nearest river or the sea. This is where the Ganesha representations are sunk. Depending on the lunar calendar, the so-called Ganesh Chaturthy festival is celebrated in August or September. This year, Ganesha's feast day, Ganesh Chaturthy, falls on August 29th.
"The people love him - not least because they can celebrate the Ganesh Charturthy for his sake and in his honor. This is a time when anything is possible in the name of Ganesha! The faithful enjoy the ten days of the festival very much - they are in a good mood and most of them manage to forget the worries of everyday life for a short time. There is lively dancing and plenty of food and drink. Those who can take vacation and leave the beaten path. "
Weeks in advance, statues and floats for Ganesha's birthday are made across India. Families who celebrate the feast day at home decorate their house altars with flowers, clothe the statues and hand over Ganesh rice, bananas and his favorite dish - Laddus sweet confectionery balls rolled in butter. A priest symbolically breathes life into the clay figure Ganesha made for the occasion.
During the Ganesha festival there is no getting through on many streets and squares. Pompous, colorful processional floats and vegetable carts rumble across the asphalt, floats that have been upgraded with fresh paint and shimmering gold brocade ceilings and are now allowed to carry the colossal statues of Lord Ganesha. Hundreds of believers march behind these floats, carrying their Ganesha figures on their shoulders.
Creation, preservation, destruction, new beginning
On the tenth day, the statues are moved into a new cosmic state. After formless matter had taken shape, breathed into its life and the Ganesha statue became the believer's guest, it is now released back into formlessness.
Creation - preservation - destruction - new beginning. The Hindu cycle closes when the believers deliver their Ganesha figures to the sea or a river at the end of the procession.
"We have always believed that our fate is in his hands."
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