Ganesh Chaturthi is the celebration of the birth of Lord Ganesh. He is the elephant -headed Indian god that is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He has over 108 names and is revered as the god of new beginnings, remover of obstacles, arts, wisdom, and intellect and good fortune.
Story has it that Goddess Parvati created Lord Ganesh from the dirt/turmeric off her body to guard the entrance while she took a bath. However, Lord Shiva came early and was stopped by Lord Ganesh from entering as he did not recognize him. In anger, Lord Shiva severed his head, and upon seeing this, Goddess Parvati was heartbroken and furious and begged him to bring her son back to life. He was remorseful and knew he could not bring the lifeless boy back to life, so he instructed his Ganas (friends/companions) to look for the head of the first living creature away from his mom to replace Ganesha’s severed head. They found a baby elephant’s head and this is how Lord Ganesha came back to life and later was named Ganpati by Lord Shiva.
I was not raised in a very religious household or environment. Instead of learning all the in and outs of Hinduism, my parents taught me life lessons and values that I will carry with me always. They taught me to treat others with love and kindness, forgive people quickly, always look at your actions before you judge others, always be open to give back without expecting anything in return. I may not go to the temple but once every few years but that is because mom taught me that God is everywhere and if we want to pray or think of him then just do it. I have never been one to follow traditions mindlessly and always look to learn and understand of WHY we do something.
Personally, I look at Ganesh more as a symbol of how I can learn and elevate myself morally and spiritually rather than just following religious traditions.
Some of them are:
- Look outside of yourself (big head)
- Listen to others, ignore gossip, and talking about others (big ears)
- Talk less and value your words and think before you talk (small mouth)
- Look within and also look beyond what you see (small eyes)
- Always keep the good and throw away the bad (big belly)
- There is unity in diversity
- Make Forgiveness one of your biggest virtues
- Be humble and modest
- Never compromise on self-respect
- Always make the most of what you have
Happy Ganesh Chaturthi from our family to yours.
(a few Ganesh art scribbles from me)