Ganesh Chaturthi 2021: While we Savour the Modaks, Let's Know our Bappa Closely
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most early awaited festivals in India that is widely celebrated across the length and breadth of the country in varied names such as Vinayaka Chaturti, Ganeshotsav, Vinayaka Chaviti and more. Ganesh Chaturthi marks the birth of the deity Lord Ganesh and kick starts the festive season in India. For years now we have heard and chanted ‘Ganapathi bappa morya’, but the story behind brings out the beautiful relation between a god and a Devotee. The Story goes as Ganesh being delighted with Morya's devotion, appeared in his vision and grants him a boon. In return, Morya asked his name be forever attached with the lord himself. Ganesh ratified it with a Tathastu.
The Elephant headed deity is renowned as the Lord of Good Fortune who blesses his devotees with prosperity, success and fortune. He is believed to be the remover of obstacles, wittily he also lays obstacles in the path of those who keep needing to keep a check.
Merriment ends with Visarjan
The auspicious gala kick starts with devotees welcoming the idols of the deity to their homes and worshipping him. The worship is begins with the pranapratishtha, a ritual to give life to the murthi shadowed by the 16 ways of paying tribute referred as shhodashopachara. Following which several vedic hymns from religious texts are narrated while the idols are decorated with red sandalwood paste and yellow and red flowers. Then coconut, jaggery, and modaks are offered to the idols. Families enjoy mouthwatering delicacies, rejoice with friends and family, worship the deity with fervor and zeal and lastly head to visarjan by immersing the idols marking the end of the commemoration, signifying bappa’s journey to Mount Kailash, the dwelling of his parents Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti.
Flabbergasting Incarnations of Ganesh
We are quite familiar with the birth and rise of Ganesh but not many are aware of this potbellied God’s diverse incarnation/ avatars. It is said that Lord Ganesh has taken eight different incarnations to defeat eight weaknesses found in human beings namely anger, arrogance, desire, delusion, ego, inebriation, and jealousy. Interestingly, there is a symbolic function in each of these incarnations.
Vakratunda is the first avatar of Lord Ganesh that refers to his curved trunk. In the Vakratunda avatar, Lord Ganesh assassinated the demon Matsarasura who was Lord Shiva’s devotee. Matsara means jealousy and selfishness the demon has obtained a fearless boon from lord Shiva thus, along with his two sons Sundarpriya and Vishaypriyahe conquered three worlds and created chaos every. To solve the issue all the gods chanted a monosyllabic mantra to call upon Lord Vakratunda, who came on his vehicle, lion and killed the sons of Matsara. And the demon surrendered witnessing the mighty power of Vakratunda. In his Vakratunda avatar, Ganesh destroyed jealousy.
Ekadant, this name signifies Ganesh’s single tusk, in this incarnation, he defeated the demon Madasur who after getting his uncle Shukracharya’s Shakti Mantra ‘Hrim’ performed penance for thousand years and obtained special powers. Alongside, the influence of alcohol Madasur conquered the three worlds and flaunted the embodiment of arrogance. To end his arrogance, Ganesh took came as Ekadant on his vahana, mouse and waged war against Madasur. In Ekadant avatar, Ganesh crushed down the pride that intoxicates a person to end up losing their control.
Mahodara is Ganesh’s third incarnation which he took to vanquish the demon of delusion and confusion, Mohasura. This demon was a devotee of the Sun god and ruled over the three lokas. Thus, the deities worshipped Mahodara to defeat Mohasura. Eventually, the demon following lord Vishnu’s advice surrendered to Mahodara and turned his devotee forever.
Gajanana the incarnation taken to end Lobhasura, fearful energy manifested into that was emitted from Kubera who lusted goddess Parvati. Lobha chanted the mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ to perform penance and gained the power to control the three realms. To end his chaos Ganesh incarnated as Gajanana and revealed that lust would naively ruin one’s soul.
Lambodara: Lord Ganesh incarnated into this avatar to eradicate the demon of anger, Krodhasura. According to legends, during Samundarmanthan when Lord Vishnu had taken the form of Mohini, Lord Shiva was struck with passion. On seeing this Vishnu immediately gave up the avatar. Lord Shiva became angry and out of his disappointment, a terrible demon names Krodhasura was born. Lambodara's vahana was the divine mouse, Krauncha.
Vikata avatar was taken to pacify Kamasura, the demon of desire. He was born to Vishnu and demon Jalandhara’s wife Vrinda. Kama meditates on Shiva and receives a boon to conquer the whole world and trouble the gods. In Vikata avatar Ganesh controls Kamasura. This incarnation shows the world that desire has no end. Satisfaction and happiness are not the outcomes of any achievement but a state of being that comes from within. In this incarnation, a divine peacock serves as Ganesh's vahana.
Vighnaraja is the most popular incarnation of the Lord Ganesh. In this incarnation, Ganesh killed Mamasur, the demon of attachment, also known as Mamtasur. This incarnation is perceived as the remover of obstacles. In the seventh avatar, Lord Ganapati’s mode of transport was a sheshnaag.
Dumravarna has been taken to defeat the demon of self-infatuation, Ahamkarasur. According to legends, tired of the rule of Aham, all the deities worshipped upon Lord Ganesh for liberation, it was then that the Lord came in the form of Dumravarna and killed the demon.
Ganesh Chaturthi 2021
As the nation is switching on and off the Covid restriction, lately we just got the relaxation from the government-imposed curfew. However, the Covid third wave is around the corner the officials fret about the festival season and are imposing certain restrictions hoping to curb the virus spread.
Karnataka permits five days long public celebration with the public presence limiting to 20 people per pandal at a time, alongside other restrictions still imposed. Also, travel to Kerala is also under check to prevent third wave infection. On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh keeps the night curfew on from 11 PM to 6 AM and has permitted home celebrations curbing the public ones. Goa remains stern with its curfew and extends strict curfew till September 13. Kerala relaxes Sunday and night curfew on account of Ganesh Chaturti. Manipur and Uttar Pradesh relax night curfew by two and one hours respectively.