Ganesh Chaturthi 2019: From India to Bali to Mexico, the much loved deity with universal appeal!

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Published: September 2, 2019 3:13:01 PM

What is most interesting is that Lord Ganesha worship enjoys a universal appeal that is rare, unusual and beyond geographical and cultural barriers.

ganesh chaturthi, ganesh chaturthi 2019Ganesh festival wishes and messages are being shared with tremendous enthusiasm.

Ganesh Chaturthi 2019 celebrations are already in full throttle across the country. Meanwhile, across all social media and messaging platforms, Ganesh festival wishes and messages are being shared with tremendous enthusiasm. While traditions differ from place to place, devotees are known to offer obeisance to Lord Ganesha first or before embarking on anything important. In southern India, for instance, the breaking of coconut before the deity is the most common tribute of seeking the blessings of Lord Ganesha, who is worshipped as ‘Vigneshwara’, remover of obstacles.

What is most interesting is that Lord Ganesha worship enjoys a universal appeal that is rare, unusual and beyond geographical and cultural barriers.

Bali, for instance, is dotted with plenty of temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha. A prominent figure, the deity is represented in his unusual form in most temples.

In Mexico, for instance, several icons of the deity have been discovered and it is mentioned in the book, ‘Jai Ganesa: God of Wisdom’, that his name in Mexico was ‘Virakosa’ and the form was exactly the same as Lord Ganesa!

In Nepal, worship of Lord Ganesha depicts the deity with five elephant faces.

In China’s rick cut temple of King Husein dating back to AD 531, Lord Ganesa’s image is present.

In Japan, the deity is associated with good luck and romance. They call him by a different name, ‘Koni -Kiten.’

In the United States, the early 70s paved the way for the deity to be enshrined in many of its magnificent temples in New York, Pittsburg, Houston, Chicago, San Francisco and in Edmonton in Canada.

READ: Ganesh Chaturthi 2019: Online greetings messages, WhatsApp Status, SMS, Facebook and Instagram posts

Known as the first and foremost to be worshipped in the galaxy of gods and the remover of all obstacles, Lord Ganesha represents a powerful and positive energy, sporting an unusual yet lovable form that is associated with ancient symbolism such as the elephant face, the broad girth and the figure’s overall proportion, rhythm and harmony. His ears indicate a valuable message in today’s cacophony ridden world to ‘listen more’. A ‘big’ tummy is not an indication of a foodie but of magnanimity to accept everything in his stride, the good, the bad, the palatable and the non-palatable with equanimity. The little vehicle ‘mouse’ is known to indicate Lord Ganesha’s love and respect for creation, big or small.

A much-loved deity among children and families, what makes Lord Ganesha more lovable to all sections, is this form. Inner and outer harmony represent the very essence of the deity.

According to a book titled ‘Jai Ganesa: The God of Wisdom’ published by Sri Sharada Peetham, Sringeri, the elephant head symbolises qualities such as majesty, strength, power and calm. Also, an elephant is known for its memory, thinking power and sagacity.

Notably, the same book also points out that when the primordial sound of creation ‘Omkara’ is written, the letter in all Indian languages resembles the curved trunk of an elephant, ‘vakra tunda.’

Interestingly, in the northern part of India where the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations take place with the dynamism of a mass movement, the image of Lord Ganesa is usually flanked by two consorts: Buddhi (Wisdom) and Siddhi (Accomplishment). During Diwali celebrations across northern India, this image occupies a central position in all households where traditional Diwali puja is observed.

A deeper and esoteric interpretation point to this as two representatives “Saktis’ of Lord Ganesha, reflecting the inner aspects of his divine state of being.

In the southern part of India, however, Lord Ganesa is worshipped without any consorts. Further, temples in southern India mark their celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi differently. Mostly, the festival is referred to as ‘Vinayaga Chaturthi.’

Across most south Indian households, ‘Vatapi Ganaptim bhaje’ is the opening sacred song that marks the beginning of an auspicious day. Artists, musicians and film-makers are also known to begin their concerts, pooja and so on with this traditional invocation.

No doubt, Mumbai hosts the grandest Ganesh Chaturthi festival in the grandest way possible. A reference to history books hints that Maharasthra’s large scale celebration of the Ganeshostav was hugely boosted by freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s efforts to transform it into a massive community event. His efforts paved the way for the grand scale occasion to also become a hub for creativity such as through poetry, art, intellectual discourses and cultural initiatives that bring various communities in a spirit of togetherness.

Inner and outer harmony form the crux of Lord Ganesa worship. Significantly, it is even more interesting to know about the deity’s universal appeal and how people across continents have embraced this deity with great love.

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