Shree Ganesh Festival, in its 28th year, will be celebrated in Muscat (Oman) from September 19 to 21.
To be held in Muscat Shiva Temple, it will reportedly include Ganesh Pratishtapana, Panchamrita Abhisheka, Gana Homa, poojas, Vedic chants, Ganesh Sahasranama Smarane, Bharatnatyam/Odissi dances, traditional floral decorations, bhajans, Shukla Yajurveda Ghanam chanting, Veena recital, etc.; besides offering of laddu/modaka/chakkuli.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, applauding the Oman Hindu community for organizing this elaborate Ganesh Festival, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, wished that all prayers of Oman devotees be answered on auspicious occasion of Ganesh-Chaturthi, which falls on September 19 this year celebrating the birth of Lord Ganesh.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged the Oman seekers to undertake deeper study of Hindu scriptures as it would open another eye for them. As our scriptures told us: conquer your passions and senses; meditate; keep your heart pure and full of love; seek higher knowledge; and realize Self which is deathless, source of all light and knows all, Zed suggested.
Popular festival of Ganesh-Chaturthi is celebrated on fourth day of the bright lunar fortnight of Bhadrapada, which may last for up to ten days. One of most widely worshipped deities in Hinduism, elephant headed (with a broken tusk) and human bodied Lord Ganesh is regarded as god of wisdom and good luck, patron of learning and remover of obstacles, and invoked at the commencement of all undertakings. He is said to have equivalents in Buddhism and Jainism also. Business people and students present their books to Lord Ganesh to ensure good fortune.
Ramesh Shettigar is reportedly the convener of Muscat Shree Ganesh Festival Committee, which is formed of large number of volunteers.
Muscat, which means “anchorage”, is the burgeoning capital of Sultanate of Oman, oldest independent state in the Arab world. Its Internet domain is “.om”, which is similar to “Om”, Hinduism’s mystical syllable containing the universe. Most Omanis follow the Ibadi form of Islam and Qaboos Bin Said Al Said is the Sultan. Lonely Planet has described Muscat as “forward-thinking” and “spotlessly clean and whimsically uniform city”. Besides Shiva temple, Muscat has reportedly a Krishna temple also.
One of the most recognizable of Hindu Gods, the elephant-headed, pot-bellied statue of Ganesha can be found in most Hindu temples. Lord Ganesha is primarily known as the God of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. But he is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth.
As with all gods, each feature of Lord Ganesha symbolises something. His most obvious feature, the elephant head, symbolises wisdom. The right tusk is broken off and held in his right hand. This was used to help him to write the Mahabharata, and thus symbolises sacrifice. In the statue, Ganesha is seen stepping on a mouse (only partly visible in the photo). He is actually riding on it, and it shows that he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures.
The story of how Ganesha got his elephant head is an interesting one.
“Once goddess Parvati, while bathing, created a boy out of the dirt of her body and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access, and struck off the boy’s head in rage. Parvati broke down in utter grief and to soothe her, Shiva sent out his squad (gana) to fetch the head of any sleeping being who was facing the north. The company found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its life and made him the leader (pati) of his troops.”
Koni Prakash Naik,
The Tulu community of Oman celebrated Lord Ganesha’s festival at the Shiva Temple here recently under the auspices of Shree Ganesh Festival Committee Muscat.
The year 2011 marks the 27th year of celebrations by the Tulu community in Oman.
The three day long celebration commenced on September 1. Ganesh Chaturthi is the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day).
Various pooja rituals like Aarathi, Maha Pooja, Ranga Pooja, Pushparchane, were performed. Devotees sought the blessings of Lord Ganesha by offering 108 coconuts, modaka, laddu, kodu Bale, chakkuli and the like.
The ceremonial couple for the celebration was Mallar Shashidhar Shetty and his wife.
Almost two quintals of fresh flowers of different varieties and colours were flown in from Bangalore, Mangalore and Mumbai. Fresh flower garlands of Mangalore Malige, Roses, Jasmine, Lotus, Kewra, Marigold, Zeenia, etc adorned the idol of Lord Ganesha on all the three days.
Right in front of the Mantap, a beautiful rangoli depicting Panchamukhi Lord Ganesha, was created by Paru Negandhi and Bijal Ved. The Rangoli design was replete with all the symbolic representation and ornate jewellery stones, bejeweled with stone necklaces.
Chauthi Fervor – Devotional Music and Dance
Devotional music strains diffused in the environs of the hall and the air reverberated with melodious keynotes from the harmonium, pulsating beat of the tabla and mridang, clankity clank of cymbals, plucking of strings of veena, rhythmic footsteps coupled with the bells of the anklets .
Popular bhajans like Vandipe Ninage Gana Natha, Jai Jai Ganapati Jai Ganesh, Gaja Mukhane Jayatu Gana Nathane, Mangala Shubhakari Mata Maheshwari, Maje Maher Pandari, Jai Ganesha Jai Ganesha Deva, Prathama Vandana, Namo Sharade, Neenyatako Ninna Hangyatako, Vinayaka Vinayaka, Pavamana, Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya, Tuja Magato Mi Aata, Sharanu Sharuvayyo Gana Nayaka, Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma were rendered and the session was concluded with mangala bhajan ‘Jaya Mangalam Nitya Shubha Mangalam.
The hall reverberated with the Vedic Chants by Vaidhyanathan and Group; Shukla Yajur Veda chanting Ghanam by A V Manohar. Devotional music resonated in the air with musical offerings by Om Shree Ganesha Vrinda, disciples of Anita Chandrakant, Meenakshi Group, Mata Amritanandamayi Bhajan Group, Oneness Group, Sai Devotees, Krishna Bhajan Group ,Chinmaya Bala Vihar Group, Maithri Vrinda Group, Divine Spark Group, Art of Living Group, Thyagaraja Samiti ,Muscat, Muscat GSB Group, Hare Krishna Group, Bhakthi Keerthan Mandali, Bharat Natyam dance performances were rendered by the disciples of Padmini Krishnamoorthy, Maithri Vrinda Children, Guru Premila Ramesh and disciples, Mahalakshmi Group and Odissi dance by Shreya Bangera and Group, Veena Recital by Chitra Ravi and disciples.
On all three days, Om Shree Ganesh Vrinda team consisting of Karunakar Rao, Koni Prakash Naik, Ashok Kotian, Kishore Kotemane, Nisha Anil, Prema Umesh, Shuba Bhat, Anil Kumar, Chethana Vishwanath and Driti Ravi Kanchan presented their musical offerings to Lord Ganesha.
The finale of the three day celebration was the ritual of immersion. Amidst the repeated and befitting choral chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’ the immersion of the idol of Lord Ganesha was conducted.
Traditional Mangalorean cuisine was served as Prasad on all the three days and on the last day after immersion a sumptuous cuisine namely Moode, Payasa, Holige, Chitranna, Kodhel, Saar, Huli/ Sambar, Mosaru/Majjige (Curd/Butter Milk) were served on plantain leaves to all those who were present enhancing the flavour of the festival.
All the arrangements were impeccably coordinated and executed. The committee members along with a number of volunteers contributed to the proceedings of the three day festival with immense devotion. A group of children too volunteered and did their bit efficiently.
Prasada was distributed on all three days, both in the afternoon and night, after the Maha Pooja. It was catered by Raviraj Ballal, Swagath Group of Hotels and Mahesh Shetty.
Kanaksi Khimji and his wife, Sudhir and family and Ashwin Nensey and family were among
the merchant community, Krishnakumar Taori and family among others were present for the pooja.
The committee members, under the able guidance of the convenor Ramesh Shettigar, have impeccably conducted and devoted all their efforts undauntedly towards the proceedings of the three day long festival. The Muscat Ganesh Festival Committee comprises of Prakash Naik Koni, Ramanand Kunder, S K Poojary, Karunakar Rao, Ashok Kotian, Umesh Karkera, Shashidhar Shetty Mallar, Nagesh Shetty, Ravi Kanchan, Mangaldas Kamath, Gurudas Pejathaya, Shreenivas Shriyan, Dr Anchan C K and Kashinath N Anchan.
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There was a beeline of devotees standing in a queue to pay obeisance before the deity and to offer their letter of wish-list. Devotees believe that Lord Ganesha would fulfill their wishes.
“We have written this letter thinking that, at present times as we have wishes and we face difficulties in our life, and he is our leading deity, whom we worship on all auspicious occasions, so we are hopeful that our wishes will be fulfilled,” said Neelam, a devotee.
The festival is celebrated with enthusiasm and fervour across India, but the uniqueness of celebration in this city is that people irrespective of their caste, age, and sex come out and pray to the holy almighty and seek his blessings.
Organisers of Ganesha Utsav believe that Lord Ganesha fulfils everyone’s wishes if they write their wishes on the letter and offer it to the deity during this festive season.
“The wish list that is kept here and all those devotees who write their wishes in it and offer it in our temple, we believe that it is surely fulfilled by the deity,” said Satish Aggarwal, organiser.
The annual celebration falls between the months of August and September.
It marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha as numerous rituals are performed while a colourful statue of the portly Hindu god marks the event.
This year the ten-day long festival began on September 01.
This festival is celebrated in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra, where hundreds of thousands of Ganesha idols are worshipped during the festival and later immersed in free flowing water. (ANI)
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By Kanika Sikka
Mumbai‘s favourite god made a grand entrance this year with his graceful trunk, stunning jewellery and alluring avatar. Meet the person who added enthusiasm to this fervour by invoking lord Ganesha into these idols- Sapre Guruji.
Performing religious ceremonies since childhood, guruji took this up as a full-time profession in 1989 after undergoing a proper training. Ganesh Chaturthi, being one of the most important day for almost all Mumbaiites, is an essential day for guruji, who performs the Ganesha puja in various houses in Thane area of Mumbai.
His day on Ganesh Chaturthi starts like any other day. “I get up at 5 in the morning, finish the daily puja in my house and then get done with the chores,” he said. Guruji, who visits just five to six houses on the day, sets out for performing puja by about 7am.
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the busiest day for all those priests who perform the Ganesha puja, it is obvious that overshooting time, starting late, etc is faced by almost all households who wait for the priest to perform the ceremonial puja and invoke life into their charming idols. Sapre guruji, however, says that none of his hosts (yajman, as he calls them) has to wait for him. He reaches every house at promised timing.
Impossible, you may think. But guruji explains that he promises to visit only 6-7 houses in a day and performs a one-hour- long puja for each house. He does not move out of his area, which helps him save on his travel time. “A proper ceremony for me, takes about an hour.It follows the various procedures of the Ganesha puja. So my day happens to pass like that while I travel from one house to another with an hour’s puja in each house,” he says.
The priests are often seen in a hurry, which forces them to cut down on their time for puja, but Sapre guruji says he does not compromise on his quality of puja. “I’d rather perform a quality puja and satisfy the devotees so that they have a peaceful and joyous Ganesh Chaturthi. There is no point in holding 15 minutes services and running away. It disappoints the devotees and does not give me any peace of mind either,” says guruji, who wraps up his day by 1pm.
Speaking about the procedure followed in the Ganesh Chaturthi puja, guruji explains the process of bringing life to Ganesh idols.
“You start by praying to Lord Ganesha and recite mantras or bhajans dedicated to Lord Ganesha. In these mantras, we recall as to what we are doing at that moment and why we are doing so,” says guruji.
“Various prayers are said during this process. Following which, all the equipments used in the puja are cleaned and purified. After this, the idol is brought to life through pran-prathishta. Lord Ganesha is hence invoked to add soul to the idol. This is followed by shhodashopachara, which are the 16 ways of paying tribute to lord Ganesha. This includes panchamrit puja i.e. Ganesha’s idol is washed with 5 essential things- milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar; the atharvashirsha is then recited.”
“The idol is then dressed up with royal clothes in the process called janeu dharna and decked up with jewellery, after which it is anointed with red unguent or sandal paste,” guruji explains.
After this, each body part of the idol is then prayed to, which is called angapuja. “Patripuja is where lord is offered 21 of his favourite leaves. Bhirgaraj, tulsi, karaveera, machi, are the most common type of these leaves,” says guruji.
These ceremonies are followed by the mantras which call upon Lord Ganesha saying, “Like each year, I invite you to my house. If any of us has made any mistakes, please excuse us and please give us a good sense and guide us into the right direction in life.”
For the 10 days following Ganesh Chaturthi, guruji does other pujas in various homes across the city. Not only homes, guruji also performs the ceremonies for mandals or community Ganesha.
Though most of the priests prefer not to go and perform the Ganeshchaturthi puja for any of the Ganpati mandals, Sapre guruji differs in his views. Most of the priests feel that there is no respect when it comes to a community ganpati. It is usually observed that for such mandals, the 11 days of Ganpati is merely a competition or an excuse for celebration, with the religious meaning of the festival taking a back-seat.
However, guruji feels it is not so in every case. Unlike most other priests, each year, guruji performs the ganesh chathurthi puja for Highland Residency, a housing complex in Thane. The building reunites as one big family while guruji performs the ceremony on the day they bring ganpati to their building.
Being the man who actually gets idols to life, guruji accepts that these 11 days are his busiest day of the year.
The horror of the recent terror attacks may have settled in the minds of the people during Janamashtmi, which saw less enthusiasm this year, Ganeshotsav is all set to get people out of their fears and reunite as everyone shouts ‘ganpati bappa moriya‘. As guruji says, Ganesha is the ‘vignaharta‘, he will not let any problem touch his followers.
When Ganesha’s pet mouse goes missing, he is very upset. He hunted high and low for it…
Little Ganesha’s mischievous pet was driving the inmates of heaven mad. The mouse was constantly scampering into places it had no business to visit. Ganesha’s mouse had eaten his way through Lord Shiva’s meditation mat. Lord Indra’s shawl had several holes because of the mouse. The cooks of heaven haddhotis with gaping spaces in them. Goddess Parvati’s sari too had tiny holes.
The mouse often crawled into Kuber’s treasury, overturning the mountain of gold and silver coins and the jewellery. The god’s tired of the mouse’s antics tried to trap it many times. The cunning mouse always managed to escape.
One day, Ganesha could not find his mouse. Though he searched everywhere, there was no sign of the mouse. Ganesha was sad and lonely without his furry companion. He even lost interest in food: his favourite sweet-laddoos held no charm for him. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati tried to woo their son by showing him many creatures. Ganesha was adamant that no other animal would take the place of his mouse. It was strange that something could disappear from heaven without a trace.
Days passed, everyone forgot about the mouse. But, Ganesha frequently searched for his pet. One day, while walking past Lord Kuber’s house, Ganesha was startled to hear the familiar squeaks.
As Ganesha circled Kuber’s house the squeaks sounded more frantic. Invisible golden threads circled the house. The threads prevented intruders from venturing too close to the house. If by chance, an intruder neared the invisible barriers, the threads suffocated the intruders, choking them to death.
The threads melted away as Ganesha neared, as he had the subtle magic to make such threads melt. Ganesha entered Kuber’s house and went through the house to the basement. As Ganesha climbed down the stairs, the squeaks became louder. When he neared the door that led to the treasury, it swung open.
The gold and silver lying in the room would have blinded a human. But, Ganesha was a divine child. The squeaks were more persistent. Ganesha waded through the mountain of gold and silver, but there was no sign of his mouse.
The towering mountains of gold and silver toppled, nearly burying Ganesha underneath. Ganesha managed to crawl out and continue his search.
Ganesha saw a small jewellery box in a corner; the box was shaking as though something was trapped in it. Ganesha opened the box.
He was delighted to see his mouse. The mouse was equally delighted to see his master.
“You have troubled me a lot,” Ganesha scolded his mouse. “I’ve spent weeks in search of you. From now on you will be unable to move away from near my feet, where I can keep a constant watch over you,” Ganesha commanded.
The mouse squeaked in protest, but Ganesha had no desire to take back his curse. The mouse was trapped by that curse. Heaven breathed a sigh of relief. Now the mouse would not trouble anyone.
Ekakshara Ganapati is one among the 32 forms of Ganesha. In this form, Ganesha symoblises the primordial sound ‘OM.’ Ekakshara is a meditative form of Ganesha and the belief is that this form helps in controlling the sense and mind. Ekakshara Ganapati Mantra is
Raktorakangangkasha kusumayutah tundialah chandramoulih
Nethraih yuktistribhih vamanakaracharano beejapundadhanah
Hastagra kalusa pashankasharada varado Nagavaktrohi bhoosho
Devaha padamasano no havatu natsuro bhootayae vighnarajaha!!
This form has four hands and holds noose, goad, modak (sweet ball) and a broken tusk. A crescent moon is shown on his hair. The ornaments around the stomach are in the form of snakes.
In some Puranas, it is stated that this form should be depicted as riding on mouse, the Vahana of Ganesha.
Ekakshara Ganapati helps in meditation. Constant prayers help to keep the wandering mind in check.
Vara Ganapati is one among the 32 forms of Ganesh and he has Pushti Devi as his consort. The popular belief is that this form of Ganapathi can be easily pleased and He fulfills all the desires. Vara Ganapati mantra is
Sindhoorabhimabhananam trinayam haste cha pashankushou
Bibhranam madhumat kapalamanisham sadhivindumouli bhaje
Pushtyashilshyathatanum dhvajagrakarayaa padyollasadhastyaa
Tadhyonyahita panimattamasumata patrollasat Pushkaram
Vara Ganapathi is depicted as having a vermilion complexion. This form has a third eye on the forehead. The four hands hold a crescent moon, noose, goad and Pushti Devi. The Goddess is depicted as holding lotus and a flag.
This is a happy form of Ganesha.
Exclusive temples dedicated to this form of Ganapati is very rare. But this form is found as subsidiary deity in some temples in Karnataka.
This application helps Lord Ganesha devotees to worship while they are on move. Following are salient features:
- Ganesha Mantra.
- Mantra can be set as morning alarm.
- Temple bell sound when devotees touches bell.
- Shankanaad on touching Shankha.
- God can be put as widget. Widget image changes automatically at every 30 min.
- Three different sizes of widget supported