Ganesha Chaturthi...


Ganesha is the first amongst all Hindu deities to be worshipped and is usually referred to as Prathama Pujya or the “first worshipped”. The Ganesha festival or Ganesha Chaturthi as it is commonly called is observed and celebrated on the fourth lunar day during the bright fortnight in the Hindu month of Bhadrapad which corresponds to August-September. The most auspicious time to commence this festival is midday as stated by Brihaspati in Kala Niraya. A beautiful murti of Ganesha usually made from clay is consecrated and worshipped utilizing the sixteen Upacharas or the sixteen steps of worship. The sixteen steps of worship would include all of the following and whatever else the priest deems necessary during the consecration ceremony:
1. Awahanam
2. Asanam
3. Padyam
4. Arghyam
5. Achamaniyam
6. Snanam
7. Vastram
8. Yagyopavetam
9. Gandham
10. Akshatam
11. Pushpam
12. Dhoopam
13. Deepam
14. Naivedhyam
15. Tamboolam
16. Dakshinam

The ceremony requires twenty one modakas or ladoos to be offered. Five are offered to Ganesha in the puja, another five are offered to five Brahamanas and the remaining eleven are to be offered to the host of the puja or yajna to be eaten by him or her and or members of his or her immediate family. As far as the sharing of prasad is concerned, all rules that applies must be followed in accordance with the instructions of the presiding priests.

Ganesha Visarjana...


At sunset Chandrama puja or prayers offered to the Moon God must be done and Arghya must be offered. Charitable gifts should be offered to all priests present including Sadhus or people of similar status and Dakshina should also be offered to those who are deserving. Appropriate discourses should be read from relevant texts such as Mudgal Purana, Ganesha Purana and the Ganesha Bhagavata.

This great festival of Ganesha can be observed for one and a half days, for two days, for five days or for ten days. Ganesha Visarjana or the closing prayers are offered on the final day of the festival which is on Ananta Chaturdasi or the fourteenth lunar day of the month of Bhadrapada as mentioned above. This wonderful festival concludes with a great procession taking the Ganesha murti and immersing it in the ocean, a well, a tank or a river. The immersion is best done when the Sun moves into Simha Rashi or Kanya Rashi, this corresponds to the Sun entering into the houses of Leo or Virgo in the Zodiac. Guidance here can be provided by astrological consultants.