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September

Ganapati Bappa Moraya…Pudhachya Varshi Lavkar Ya!!

Ganpati VisarjanBy the time this post gets published we will be having our own Ganapati adorning the designated place in his own adopted house for the next few days. The houses will be full of activities – preparing special meals with all Ganapati’s  favourite dishes including the most important Ukadiche modak,  twice a day puja and arti followed by Prasad, entertaining visitors and finally bidding farewell  to our most beloved guest  with moist eyes. Everything so predictable and yet so endearing!

Like every Maharashtrian, I feel a special bonding with the festival. Not bringing the deity to our own house did not dampen our spirits as small children. We simply went to neighbours’ houses and participated with enthusiasm in decorating the makhar (temporary puja house, mostly made out of thermacol or flowers), picking durvas, reciting artis and generally helping in every which way possible.  When I got married I became involved in all the rituals first hand from making modaks  to looking after the arrangements for the puja. Being the new daughter in law in the family at that point of time, the help was expected in the kitchen. Among all the other delicacies making modaks under the vigilant eyes of the elderly ladies of the house was the ultimate acid test. 

Making perfect modaks is an art. Their many folds are expected to be just so…delicately crimped and filled with the exact amount of jaggery and coconut filling. The thick modaks with just four folds pinched around its surface are highly looked down upon. The shape is very important…..many petals are brought together and firmly joined together on the top. Second most important dish cooked during this period is the Rishichi bhaji. It is made on the second day of Ganapati festival called as Rishi Panchami.  This particular combination of various seasonal vegetables is cooked together without anything made out of any animal’s efforts(that’s why no grains but only roots and wild veggies found in the woods) including salt. Yes, you get exclusive Rishi’s salt. Apart from modak and the above mentioned bhaji there are many other delicacies that change with the caste and region. Many houses that host not just Ganapati, but Gauri, his mother, have a different kind of feast.  Gauri who comes to visit her son on the third of the festival prefers the spread of either mutton, chicken and vade or some sweets especially puranpolis along with some traditional mixed vegetables over the satvik ( without onions and garlick) food preferred by her son.

How I always envied the people who have Ganapatis for five days or seven days or ten days! They got to keep Bappa for a longer time, but then I wonder if we feel so much vacuum in our house after ganapati’s two days stay, how much emptiness these people must be feeling on the day of visarjan. Ganapati’s existence changes everything in the house. The mixed smell of flowers, camphor, burning lamp, incense, the daily Prasad, puja, visitors and after his immersion everything becomes same routine, mundane. Final part of this Utsav is accompanying the deity to the beach, lake or a river with the fanfare.

For years we used to take Ganapati for Visarjan to Dadar Chowpatty in Mumbai. I always loved the charged atmosphere at the beach and not to forget the ritual of eating bhajjis near Udyan Ganesh in Shivaji Park. While standing there I could neutrally observe the movements of the people –The ones that would be accompanying the deity would be joyous, jubilant, dancing on the rhythm of Ganapati Bappa Morya…Pudhchya varshi lavkar ya… , spreading gulal in moderate quantity (large quantity being reserved for the tenth of Ganapati that is Anant Chaturdashi), generally moving at a slower pace as if to stretch the last few minutes with dear Ganapati. On the other hand those who are returning from Ganapati immersion look matter of fact, quiet, fast paced, without any fuss they get into their vehicles and move towards home. The visarjan of the huge Kings of pandals takes place with the utmost pomp and glory. The large decorated trucks are preceded and followed by many smaller trucks carrying paraphernalia such as sound systems, lightings while the band, dancers, devotees walk all the way with their lord. The volunteers and police try their best to keep the discipline and many generous organisers make the water, first aid and food available for the devotees.

On the day of Anant Chaturdashi we used to take our places on the balcony of a relative who happened to have a house overlooking one of the busiest junctions of Mumbai. We would love to watch magnificent idols thronged by thousands of devotees dancing on the rhythm of Nasik dhol and banjo forgetting the world around them. This sight used to make my heart heavy with some unknown feeling. My children used to wait for the next Ganesh idol to come along the way with equally grand procession perhaps this time some jugglery and lezim thrown in. The bigger the better.  I always marveled at the absolute faith and devotion and wondered whether I would ever be able to do this.

However, I liked being part of all this because of my shifting out of India, for the last few years I missed all these things sorely. Now that I have shifted back to India for past couple of years, I enthusiastically sat in front of the television to watch The Ganesh Visarjan being telecasted live from different immersion points in the city, but unfortunately that previous feeling is replaced by cynicism. That could be the aftereffect of taking a ferry off The Gateway of India and hearing some of the revolting comments made by the people in my company about the yellowish brownish water lapping on the sides of the boat. The idea of lowering our beloved Ganesha in this water was not at all appealing.

 Without being a preacher or spoiling everyone’s mood I would like people to think over with a cool head (I know that is too much to ask)and think do we really need these kind of massive idols to prove our degree of devotion or is it a display of the Mandal’s wealth to outscore other such Sarvajanik  Ganapatis? Mumbai’s population has increased manifold and so has the number of pandals that have mushroomed in every nook and corner and each one competing with the other in terms of decoration size of the idol and number of celebrities visiting it. We have come a long way from the original idea of Lokamanya Tilak’s public celebration of Ganesh festival.  By doing immersion of thousands of Ganapatis in the already polluted waters of Arabian sea we are making it unbearable for its habitat if it still exists in the vicinity of the coast.

Last few years the trend of eco- friendly Ganeshas made of shadu ( a kind of clay) has taken its roots in a certain segment of the society which has gained momentum this year. I hope this movement reaches far and wide and by next year many more pandals opt for them. Same applies to the Ganesh idols brought to our houses. I hope most are sticking to the idols made of clay and opting for the artificial water bodies created by the municipality for the same purpose. This is one admirable programme initiated by the then Mayor of Mumbai Shubha Raul. She, in fact, opened the gates of the Mayor’s bunglow for the people to utilize the ponds specifically dug in its garden for the purpose. I have actually seen her urging people to spread the idea of having more and more such ponds in their areas so as to control the pollution of the sea. It is not every day you come across such environmental conscious politicians. My respect for the lady grew immensely there and then.

Last few years I have also seen a trend among the educated class of that of bringing a very small idol made of shadu and immmersing it in water kept in a specially made pot till it dissolves completely and then using that water in the garden. I applaud these people. They are the real devotees of God Ganesha who is a God of wisdom, intellect, rational thinking and above all a presiding deity of all sciences and arts. What can be a more appropriate gesture than thinking independently and weighing our decisions not just by the emotional standards but by applying logical scales too.

Now though the number is low, I am sure it is going to increase every passing year and soon we will have a festival befitting to this God of enlightenment.  A clean, green and of course grand festival without  noise and environmental pollution.  I am sure that day is not far away if all us instead of getting stuck in age old and hence outdated rituals look forward and say yes to new traditions just the way we accepted new dressing , eating and living style. I am sure Ganapati Bappa himself will take this task on his able shoulders and will give right sense to all his devotees. Till then, GANAPTI BAPPA MORAYA AANI PUDHACHYA VARSHI LAVAKAR YA!!

How to perform Ganesh Pooja


Ganesh Pooja Arrangement

Ganesh Pratishthapana Pooja Preparation Guidelines

|| Preparation & Dais Arrangement ||

Ganesh Festival begins on 4th Day of bright half of Lunar month Bhadrapad so Shri Ganesh Pratishthapana

is done on that day.

At least 2-3 days in advance, buy 1 big Ganesh Murti of any material like Metal, Plaster of Paris etc… for

decoration purpose, 1 small earthen Murti for immersion.

Finish your daily Pooja and start preparing for the Ganesh Pratishthapana. Check all the Pooja samagri

again.

Tie the door hanging to the main door. Decorate your main entrance with colorful Rangoli.

Play some divine music like Sitar, Shehnai, Santoor, Flute etc… to create a holy atmosphere.

Check if your camera and camcorder are in working conditions; batteries charged. This is a precious

moment in your life and you should capture it, preserve it, cherish it and share with your relatives & friends.

Prepare the Prasad (offerings to the god like food, minimum 21 Modak, sweets etc…) well in time.

Before starting the Pooja the host couple should wear dresses suitable and appropriate for the Pooja as

per the family tradition. Typically the husband should wear Indian silk Dhoti and the silk kurta or regular

Kurta Pajama. Wife of the host should wear a sari or salwar kamiz dupatta etc...

Follow the steps given blow and the pictures for preparation of Pooja.

|| Ganesh Pratishthapana Pooja Dais Arrangement ||

A Chaurang is to be used as Pooja Dais for Pooja.

Place the chaurang against a wall in such way that the deities on the chaurang are facing east (if not west

is also OK). Place a nice decorative cloth on it.

Keep all the Pooja samagri in different plates on the right side of the chaurang. Prepare a bowl full of

Panchamrut by adding 2-3 tea spoon curd, 1 spoon honey, 1-2 spoons pure ghee & 1 spoon sugar to about

1 cup milk. If required prepare more panchamrut enough for all the guests invited for the Pooja.

Keep 2 flowerpots at the 2 back corners of the Chaurang with some decorative flowers of different types in

them. If possible and if you like, create a nice decoration for Shri Ganesh. If possible involve kids and help

them using their creativity.

Keep small earthen Ganesh Murti at the center of the Dais, to its right side keep the regular metal Ganesh

Murti which you use in your daily Pooja. Keep murti or coin of Goddess Lakshmi to the right of metal

Ganesh Murti.

Place the Bell (Ghanta) at the front left corner of the Chaurang and place the Conch (Shankha) on the front

right corner of the Chaurang with its tail facing you. Keep some rice grains below the conch to make a

proper base for it.

Keep the Lord Ganesh Murti in front of the Kalash at the center and keep murti or coin or photo of Lakshmi

to the right side of Lord ganesh.

Keep all other deities as per your family tradition e.g. Kuladevata on the Chaurang at a suitable place.

Photos can be also placed on the wall if needed.

Arrangement around the Chaurang:

Place sufficient aluminum foil (about 2 feet wide strip) on all the 3 sides of Chaurang (front, left & right side)

so that the floor will not get spoiled due to Pooja material.

Keep one oil lamp (Samai) and one Ghee Lamp (Niranjan) on the right hand side of the Chaurang on the

foil. Use a small plate below Samai or niranjan so that the oil or ghee will not spill outside.

Keep the incense stick (Agarbatti) in a proper holder next to the ghee lamp on the right side of Chaurang.

Keep 5 coconuts with water in front of the Chaurang on the aluminum foil. Keep one Beatle Leaf in front of

each coconut. Keep one dollar note folded on each leaf, keep one quarter coin on each dollar note, keep

one Beatle Nut on each coin. Keep one peace of dry coconut on each Beatle Leaf and keep a small piece

of “Deshi Gud” i.e. Jaggery on each piece of dry coconut. Keep small quantity of 5 types of dry fruits like

cashes nuts, almonds, resins, pistachio, dry dates etc…

Keep one Jug full of water near the Chaurang. Keep a big utensil or big bowl to keep the used water.

Keep two mattresses one each for the husband and wife performing Pooja in front of the Chaurang about 2

feet away from the Chaurang. Husband will seat facing the Chaurang and the wife will seat on the right

side of the husband. The Chaurang should be in the center for both to perform Pooja comfortably.

Keep one mattress on the left side of the Chaurang for Panditji who will be facing the couple performing the

Pooja. If the host is facing East Panditji should be facing West and if host is facing West Panditji should be

facing East.

Keep all other Pooja material on the right side of the Chaurang duly arranged in different plates as per the

samagri list without fail (Please do not keep the Pooja Samagri in the plastic carry bags). Double check all

the material as per the list is available. (Do not misplace Pooja Samagri and very important; do not fight

with each other over keeping Samagri. )

All the above preparation should be done before arrival of Panditji so that Pooja can be finished in time


Virtual Ganesh Pooja

Ganapathi Bappa Morya!!!
Here at India Unlimited, we are going to celebrate Virtual Ganesh Pooja for 10 days and we will add something new related to Ganesh Pooja for the next 10 days. Stay tuned...

Day 1 - Ganesh Chaturthi

India Unlimited wishes all its fans and viewers a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi. In India Ganesh Pooja is celebrated in homes as well as in public places for 10 days. The first day is on Chaturthi and the last day is on Chaturdashi or the day before the full moon.

Khirapat - Recipe to make a popular prasad

KhirapatIn Maharashtra, khirapat is often given as a prasad during Ganapati. It is very easy to make and you can do little variation as per your liking. You can make it in advance and store it in a container..... Click here for Khirapat


Story of Ganesh and Ganesh Shloka

Ganesh PoojaGanesha also known as Ganapathi is always the first god worshiped before undertaking any work. He is also the remover of all impediments. There are at least two slightly different versions of how he got the elephant head.... click here to read Story of Ganesh and Ganesh Shloka



Ramzan and Eid-ul-Fitr

Ramzan and EidRamzan (Ramadan) is the 9th month in the Islamic or Hijri calendar, which is a lunar calendar.  It marks a period of fasting and is regarded as one of the holiest months in the Islamic year. Fasting is observed by participating Muslims from sunrise to sunset. It is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to God. They ask for the forgiveness of past sins, seek future guidance and purify themselves of all evil deeds.

In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur'an. Some Muslims perform the recitation of the entire Qur'an by means of special prayers, called Tarawih, which are held in the mosques every night of the month. Ramzan is also a time when Muslims are to slow down from worldly affairs and focus on self-reformation, spiritual cleansing and enlightenment. They are to establish a link between themselves and God through prayer, supplication, charity, good deeds, kindness and helping others. Since it is a festival of giving and sharing, Muslims prepare special foods and buy gifts for their family and friends and for giving to the poor and needy who cannot afford it; this can involve buying new clothes, shoes and other items of need.

The social aspect of this festival includes preparation of special foods and inviting people for Iftari. At sunset, the family will gather for the fast-breaking meal known as Iftar. The meal starts with eating of three dates (khajoor) — just as Muhammad used to do. Then it's time for the Maghrib prayer, which is the fourth of the five daily prayers, after which the main meal is served. Over time, Iftar has grown into banquet festivals where families, friends and surrounding communities gather.

Charity is very important in Islam, and even more so during Ramzan. According to tradition, Ramzan is a particularly blessed time for charity. For that reason, Muslims will spend more in charity (sadaqa), and many will pay their zakat during this time. In many Islamic nations, it is not uncommon to see people giving food to the poor and the homeless, and to even see large public areas for the poor to come and break their fast.

Eid-ul-Fitr or Ramzan Eid marks the end of this holy month and the start of the month of Shawwal, after the new moon has been sighted. It is a day of joy and celebration. It is considered unholy to fast on this day. People put on their best, usually new, clothes; and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends. Presents are also given, mainly clothes and money. Seviyan, haleem, sheer khurma, chicken and mutton biryani, khajoor are the typical foods eaten on this occasion.


Atharvashirsh

Click here to hear Atharvashirsh on Youtube

|| Shri Ganeshaya Namaha ||
Om bhadramkarne bishnunayama devaha
Bhadram pashyemak-shyabhirya jatrah
Sthirai rangai stuvasa stanumbihi
Vyashema devahitam yadayuh
Svastina indro vruddhashravah
Svastina pusha vishvavedaha
Svastinastakshyo arishta nemih
Svastino brihaspatir-dadhatu
Om shanti shanti shantihi |
Atha Ganesh Atharvashirsham vyakhya syamaha ||
Om Namste Ganpataye
Tvameva Pratyaksham Tatvamasi
Tvamev Kevalam Kartasi
Tvamev Kevalam Dhartasi
Tvamev Kevlam Hartasi
Tvamev Sarvam Khalvidam Bramhasi
Tvam Sakshadatmasi Nityam ||1||
Hritam Vachmi
Satyam Vachmi || 2 ||
Ava tvam Mam
Ava Vaktaram
Ava Shrotaram
Ava Dataram
Ava Dhataram
Avanuchanamava Shishyam
Ava Paschatat
Ava Purastat
Avo Uttaratat
Ava Dakshinatat
Ava Chordhvatat
Ava Dharatat
Sarvatomam Pahi Pahi Samantat || 3 ||
Tvam Vangmayastvam Chinmaya
Tvam Anandmayastvam Bramhamaya
Tvam Sachitananda Dvitiyosi
Tvam Pratyaksham Bramhasi
Tvam Jynanmayo Vijyanamayosi || 4 ||
Sarvam Jagadidam Tatvo Jayate
Sarvam Jagadidam Tatvastishtati
Sarvam Jagadidam Tvay Layameshyati
Sarvam Jagadidam Tvayi Pratyeti
Tvam Bhumi Rapo Nalo Nilo Nabha
Tvam Chatvarim Vak Padani || 5 ||
Tvam Gunatraya Atitaha
Tvam Dehatraya Atitaha
Tvam Kalatraya Atitaha
Tvam Muladharastitiyosi Nityam
Tvam Shaktitrayaat akaha
Tvam Yogino Dhayayanti Nityam
Tvam Bramhastvan, Vishnustvam,
Rudrastvam, Indrastvam Agnistvam,
Vayustvam, Suryastvam, Chandramastvam,
Bramhabhur Bhuvasvorom || 6 ||
Ganadim Purvamuccharaya Varnadim Tadanantaram
Anusvaaara Parataraha
Ardhendu Lasitam
Taaaren Hruddam
Etatva Manusva Rupam
Gakarah Purva Rupam
Akaro Madhyama Rupam
Anusvaras Chantya Rupam
Binduruttara Rupam
Nadah Sandhanam
Saishitaa Sandihi
Saisha Ganeshvidhya
Ganak Rishi;
Nichrud Gayatri chandah
Ganpatir devata
Om ‘GANG’ Ganpataye Namah || 7 ||
Ek Dantaya Vid Mahe
Vakratundaya Dhimahi
Tanno Danti Prachodayat || 8 ||
Ek Dantam Chatur Hastam
Pashmam Kusha Dharinam
Radanch Vardam Hastair
Bhibhraanum mushaka-dhvajam
Raktam Lambodaram Shoorpakarnakam
Rakta Vasasamam
Rakta Gandhanu Liptangam
Rakta Pushpaihi supujitam
Bhaktanu Kampinam Devam
Jagat Kaaarana machutam
Avir Bhutamcha Shrustyado,
Prakrute Purushatparam
Evam Dhayayati Yo Nityam,
Sa Yogi Yoginam Varah || 9 ||
Namo Vrat Pataye, Namo Ganapataye
Namah Pramatha patye,
Namste astulambodaraya Ekdantaaya
Vighna Nashine Shiv Sutaya
Shri Varad Murtiye Namah || 10 ||

 
Try delicious Pedhe Modak and Khirapat
 
Make your own Ganapati Idol
 
 
What is Ganesha Symbolism?

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