Monday, 22 August 2016

Ganesh Chaturthi story / Tales 2016

What is Ganesh Chaturthi? Why is it celebrated?


We celebrate this 10-day-long festival every year. But how many of us know what Ganesh Chaturthi is and why it is celebrated?

Ganesh Chaturthi is a ten-day Hindu festival celebrated to honour the elephant-headed God Ganesha's birthday. He is the younger son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

Ganesha is known by 108 different names and is the Lord of arts and sciences and the deva of wisdom. He is honoured at the start of rituals and ceremonies as he's considered the God of beginnings. He's widely and dearly referred to as Ganapati or Vinayaka.

There are two different versions about Ganesha's birth. One has it that Goddess Parvati created Ganesha out of dirt off her body while having a bath and set him to guard her door while she finishes her bath. Shiva who has gone out, returned at that time, but as Ganesha didn't know of him, stopped him from entering. An angry Shiva severed the head of Ganesha after a combat between the two. Parvati was enraged and Shiva promised Ganesha will live again. The devas who went in search of a head facing north of a dead person could manage only the head of an elephant. Shiva fixed the elephant's head on the child and brought him back to life.

The other legend has it that Ganesha was created by Shiva and Parvati on request of the Devas, to be a vighnakartaa (obstacle-creator) in the path of rakshasas (demonic beings), and a vighnahartaa (obstacle-averter) to help the Devas.

This year, September 17th marks the beginning of this festival which is also called as Vinayaka Chaturthi. Here are some quick facts.

In the Ganapathi Upanishad, Ganesha is identified with the Supreme Self. The legends that are connected with Lord Ganesha are recorded in the Ganesha Khanda of the 'Brahma Vivartha Purana.' Here are two such popular stories - 'The Curse of the Moon' and 'Who is Elder?'

The Curse of the Moon :

It is said that anyone who looks at the moon on the night of the Ganesh Chaturthi will be falsely accused. If someone inadvertently sees the moon on this night, he/she may remedy the situation by listening to (or reciting) the story of the syamantaka jewel found in the 'Puranas' or ancient Hindu scriptures.

Briefly, Satrajit, who secured a jewel syamantaka from Surya, did not part with it even when Krishna the Lord of Dwaraka, asked for it saying it would be safe with him. Prasena, the brother of Satrajit went out hunting wearing the jewel but was killed by a lion. Jambavan of the Ramayana fame killed the lion and gave it to his son to play with. When Prasena did not return, Satrajit falsely accused Krishna of killing Prasena for the sake of the jewel.

in order to remove the stain on his reputation, set out in search of the jewel and found it in Jambavan's cave, with his child. Jambavan attacked Krishna thinking him to be an intruder who had come to take away the jewel. They fought each other for 28 days, when Jambavan, his whole body terribly weakened from the hammering of Krishna's fists, finally recognized Him as Lord Rama.

As a repentance for his having fought Krishna, Jambavan gave Krishna the jewel and also his daughter Jambavati in marriage. Krishna returned to Dvaraka with Jambavati and the jewel, and returned it to Satrajit, who in turn repented for his false accusation. He promptly offered to give Krishna the jewel and his daughter Satyabhama in marriage. Krishna accepted Satyabhama as his wife but did not accept the jewel.

Who is Elder?

Ganesha and His brother Lord Subramanya (Kartikya) once had a dispute as to who was the elder of the two. The matter was referred to Lord Shiva for final decision. Shiva decided that whoever would make a tour of the whole world and come back first to the starting point had the right to be the elder. Subramanya flew off at once on his vehicle, the peacock, to make a circuit of the world. But the wise Ganesha went, in loving worshipfulness, around His divine parents and asked for the prize of His victory.
Lord Shiva said, "Beloved and wise Ganesha! But how can I give you the prize; you did not go around the world?"

Ganesha replied, "No, but I have gone around my parents. My parents represent the entire manifested universe!"

Thus the dispute was settled in favour of Lord Ganesha, who was thereafter acknowledged as the elder of the two brothers. Mother Parvati also gave Him a fruit as a prize for this victory.  


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