Hinduism: God Ganesha, Vinayaka, Ganapati, the essential mantras for Chaturthi

Lord Ganesha or Vinayaka is a much revered god in India and in the pantheons of the Hindu communities across the world. As a remover of obstacles, it is believed that any work started with the auspices of this great god leads to success. This spectacular festival honors the birth of the beloved Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha, popularly worshiped for his ability to remove obstacles and bring good fortune. It is celebrated for 11 days, with the biggest spectacle taking place on the last day called Ananta Chaturdasi day. Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, also called Vinayagar in Tamil Nadu, is the Hindu festival celebrated on the occasion of birthday of Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, who is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees in the duration of this festival. It is the day Shiva declared his son, Lord Ganesha as superior to all the gods. When do we observe Ganesha Chaturthi? Find out by clicking here Listen to the Bhajan Service rendered at Melrose Temple for Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganesha is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel.   The festival, also known as Ganeshotsav (“festival of Ganesha”) is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada.  The date usually falls between 19 August and 15 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi.  While celebrated all over India, it is most elaborate in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa.  Outside India, it is celebrated widely in areas of concentration of Hindus. The legend of Ganesha Traditional stories tell that Lord Ganesha was created by goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva. Parvati created Ganesha out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at her door while she bathed. Lord Shiva returned and, as Ganesha didn’t know him, he didn’t allow him to enter. Lord Shiva became enraged, severed the head of the child and entered his house. After realizing that he had beheaded his own son, Lord Shiva fixed the head of an elephant in place of Ganesha’s head. In this way, Lord Ganesha came to be depicted as the elephant-headed God. Celebration, rituals and tradition Two to three months before Ganesh Chaturthi, artistic plaster of Paris (originally clay) models of Lord Ganesha are made for sale by specially skilled artisans. They are beautifully decorated and depict Lord Ganesh in poses. The size of these statues may vary from 3/4 of an inch to over 70 feet. Ganesh Chaturthi starts with the installation of these Ganesh statues in colorfully decorated homes and specially erected temporary structures mandapas (pandals) in every locality. The pandals are erected by the people or a specific society or locality or group by collecting monetary contributions. The pandals are decorated specially for the festival, either by using decorative items like flower garlands, lights, etc. or are theme based decorations, which depict religious themes or current events. The priest, usually clad in red or white dhoti and uttariyam (Shawl), then symbolically invokes life into the statue by chanting mantras. This ritual is the Pranapratishhtha. After this the ritual called as Shhodashopachara (16 ways of paying tribute) follows. Coconut, jaggery, 21 modakas, 21 durva (trefoil) blades of grass and red flowers are offered. The statue is anointed with red unguent, typically made of kumkum and sandalwood paste. Throughout the ceremony, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda, the Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and the Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted. Ganesha is worshiped for 10 days from Bhadrapada Shudha Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, On the 11th day, the statue is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, and fanfare to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees.  This is the ritual known as Ganesha Visarjane in Kannada, Ganesh Visarjan in Marathi and Vinayaka Nimarjana or Vinayaka Nimajjanam in Telugu. At individual homes the Visarjan/Nimajjanam is also done on 3rd, 5th or 7th day as per the family tradition. All join in this final procession shouting “Ganapati Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Laukar ya” (O lord Ganesha, come again early next year) in Maharastra and “Ganesh Maha Raj ki, Jai” (lord Ganesha, victory is yours) in Andhra Pradesh. After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the idols to the river to immerse it. The main sweet dish during the festival is the modak (modak in Marathi, modakam/kudumu in Telugu, modaka in Kannada and modagam in Tamil). A modak is a dumpling made from rice flour/wheat flour with a stuffing of fresh or dry-grated coconut, jaggery, dry fruits and some other condiments. It is either steam-cooked or fried. Another popular sweet dish is the karanji (karjikai in Kannada) which is similar to the modak in composition and taste but has a semicircular shape. Ganesh Visarjan in Mumbai: In Andhra, kudumu (rice flour dumplings stuffed with coconut and jaggery mixture), Vundrallu (steamed coarsely grounded rice flour balls), Panakam (jaggery, black pepper and cardamom flavored drink), Vadapappu (soaked and moong lentils), Chalividi (cooked rice flour and jaggery mixture), etc., are offered to Ganesha along with Modakams. These offerings to god are called Naivedyam in Telugu. In Andhra, Clay Ganesh (Matti Vinayakudu in Telugu) and Turmeric Ganesh (Siddhi Vinayakudu in Telugu) is usually worshiped at homes along with plaster of paris Ganesha. Public celebrations of the festival are hugely popular, with local communities (mandalas) vying with each other to put up the biggest statue and the best pandal. The festival is also the time for cultural activities like singing and theater performances, orchestra and community activities like free medical checkup, blood donation camps, charity for the poor, etc. Mauritius:  Celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mauritius dates back to 1896. The first Ganesh Chaturthi Puja was held in the 7 Cascades Valley next to Henrietta village by the Bhiwajee family who is still celebrating this pious festival for more than a century. Over the years the festival gained such popularity on the island that Mauritian government has attributed a public holiday for that day. How to observe Ganesha Chaturthi at home

Ganesha Chaturthi (IAST: Gaeśa Caturthī, devanagari: गणेश चतुर्थी) or Ganesha Festival is a day on which Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees. It is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi in Sanskrit, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu, Chavath ( चवथ ) in Konkani and Chathaa (चथा) in Nepali Bhasa.

Lord Ganesh Pooja and the mantras for you

Place the idol of Lord Ganesh on the altar after taking bath in the morning. Sit comfortably, fold your hand in namaste, close your eyes and chant Om slowly three times.

Ganesh Mantra

vakratunda mahaakaaya soorya koti samaprabha nirvighnam kuru mein deva sarva kaaryashu sarvadaa

Chant the following mantra, while placing the mukut on the idol

Asmin Bimbe Chitrapate Maha-Ganapataye Namah Vastrartha Mukutam Samarpayami

* Sound the bell for 5 seconds.

Next step is to invoke Ganesha into the image. This is known as pran-prathishta. The Pran Prathista mantra in Sanskrit to be invoked is found in the Rig Veda and is part of Ganesh Suktha.

The Rig- Veda mantra for Pran-prathista should be recited: om ganananh tva ganapatim havamahe kavim kavinam – upamashravastamam | jyeshhtharajam brahmanan.h brahmanaspata A nah shrivnvannutibhih sida sadanam || (Rig Veda 2.23.1) ni shhu sida ganapate ganeshhu tvamahurvipratamam kavinam | na rite tvat.h kriyate kinchanare mahamarkam maghavan.h chitramarcha || (Rig Veda 10.112.9)

Now Ganesh’s soul is invoked in the idol and you can start performing the customary puja rituals/bhajans.

Saraswati Mantra

saraswati namastubhyam varade kaama roopinee poojaarambham karishyaami siddhir bhavatu mein sadaa

English meaning:

Goddess Saraswati, my salutations to you. I am starting the puja, please bless me with knowledge.

Make a resolve to perform the pooja.

mama upaatta samasta durita kshaya dwaaraa parameshwara preeti artham mahaa ganapati poojaam karishye

Guru Mantra

English wording: gurur brahma guruvishnuh gurudevo maheshwara gurussakshaat parabrahma tasmai shri gurave namah

English meaning: The teacher is the embodiment of the trinity – Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. To that Guru, who is none other than God himself, I salute.

Prepare the Nandadeep (lamp) by pouring oil in it and making a cotton wick.

Meditate upon Lord Ganesh

English wording: shuklaambara sharam vishnum shashi varnam chaturbhujam prasanna vadanam dhyaayet sarvavighnopa shaantaye

English meaning:

I meditate upon Lord Ganesh, who is wearing bright colored clothes, and has four arms, pleasant faced Lord Ganesha removes all obstacles.

Make arrangements for garland to be placed around Lord Ganesha’s neck.

*Invite the Lord to accept your worship.

asmin bimbe chitrapate

maha-ganapataye namah

karpura nirajanam



acamaniyam samarpayami

English meaning:

I offer camphor aarti to Lord Ganesh in this beautiful form. After the camphor aarti, pure water is offered to Him.

*Welcome the Lord with flowers and water

I welcome the Lord with these flowers and kalash of water.

Fill the kalash (copper pot) with water and arrange flowers.

*Offer milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar. At the end offer water from the kalash. Pour the mixture of all these five items into the Charanamrit set. Offer everything with Charanamrit Set. Dip flowers in the kalash and offer to the Lord.

*Worship the Lord with a bit of kumkum (sindoor), haldi (turmeric powder), abir (black powder) and a paste made out of sandalwood bar.

*Offer the benevolent Lord the traditional Dhoop Aarti with Brass Dhoop Lamp and circle the Lord Ganesha Idol three to five times in the clock-wise direction

* Perform The Lord Ganesha Aarti – Jai Ganesh Deva/Jai Dev Jai dev

Jai Dev Jai Dev Arti

Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti ll Darshan Maatre Man: Kaamna Phurti ll

Sukhkarta Dukhharta Varta Vighnachi ll Nurvi Purvi Prem Krupa Jayachi ll Sarvangi Sundar Uti Shendurachi ll Kanti Jhalke Mal Mukataphalaanchi..ll Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti ll Darshan Maatre Man: Kaamna Phurti ll Ratnakhachit Phara Tujh Gaurikumra ll Chandanaachi Uti Kumkumkeshara ll Hirejadit Mukut Shobhato Bara ll Runjhunati Nupure(2) Charani Ghagriya ll Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti ll Darshan Maatre Man: Kaamna Phurti ll Lambodar Pitaambar Phanivarvandana ll Saral Sond Vakratunda Trinayana ll Das Ramacha Vat Pahe Sadana ll Sankati Pavave Nirvani Rakshave ll Survarvandana ll Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti ll Darshan Maatre Man: Kaamna Phurti ll

For those who have difficulty in saying the marathi words, here is Jai Ganesh Deva, the popular arati of Lord Ganesha :

Jai Ganesh jai Ganesh jai Ganesh deva Mata jaki  parvati pita mahadeva

Ek dant dayavant Char bhuja dhari Mathe pher sindur sohe Muse ki sawari

Jai Ganesh jai Ganesh jai Ganesh deva …

Pan chadhe phul chadhe Aur chadhe meva Ladduan ka bhog lage Sant kare seva

Jai Ganesh jai Ganesh jai Ganesh deva …

Andhan ko ankh det Kodhin ko kaya Banjan ko putra det Nirdhan ko maya

Jai Ganesh jai Ganesh jai Ganesh deva …

Vighne harane mangala karane Puhan puhan prakash Nama le Ganesh ka Siddha ojata kaja

Jai Ganesh jai Ganesh jai Ganesh deva …

After completing the arati,

* Stand up straight. Fold your hands and do namaste. Turn clock-wise three times. Do namaskar to the benevolent Lord Ganesha.

Take prasad and distribute it to everyone present. Take blessings from Lord Ganesha for a happy and prosperous life.

After reciting the following Shanti Mantra, cleanup your pooja place sarve santu sukhinah sarve santu niramayah sarve bhadrani pashyantu maa kashchid sukhabhag bhavet

//OM Ganeshaya Namah//


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