The Festival of Ganesha Chaturthi: Welcoming Auspiciousness

Article of the Month - Sep 2023

This article by Prakriti Anand

(Viewed 713 times since Sep 2023)
गजाननं भूत गणादि सेवितं,
कपित्थ जम्बू फल चारू भक्षणम् ।
उमासुतं शोक विनाशकारकम्,
नमामि विघ्नेश्वर पाद पंकजम् ॥

गणपति बप्पा मोरया, मंगलमूर्ति मोरया

“He who is revered by Bhootas and Ganas, who is offered the Kapitha, banana, and other delicious fruits. The beloved son of Uma (Parvati) and the annihilator of sorrows, I bow down to the lotus feet of that Vigneshwara (Sri Ganesha).”

In the divine Hindu pantheon, where gods and goddesses with ten, sixteen, and a thousand arms, with ethereal forms, are revered for the protection of the devotees, the dotting, plump son of goddess Parvati, with a Modak (sweet) in his hand and Mooshaka (his mount rat) in his feet, fills the heart with affection for his childish charm. But when the festival of Ganesha Chaturthi approaches, the innocent Uma-Suta becomes “Bappa”- the father, of innumerable Hindus, who can not wait for him to grace their homes.

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As the festival of Chaturthi comes knocking on our doors, let us revel in the legends of Sri Ganesha- his birth, the celebration of Ganesha Chaturthi, and the different forms in which Ganesha comes to our homes.

Sri Ganesha- The Auspicious Protector from Vedas to Puranas

Ganesha in the earliest texts is mentioned as “Ganapati” or “Vighnesha” – the Lord of Ganas or the Lord of Vighnas. The Yajurveda reveres him with the hymn- 

“ॐ गणानां त्वा गणपतिं हवामहे
          कविं कवीनामुपमश्रवस्तमम् ।
          ज्येष्ठराजं ब्रह्मणाम् ब्रह्मणस्पत
          आ नः शृण्वन्नूतिभिःसीदसादनम्”

The hymn is an invitation to Ganapati, who is the Lord of Wisdom and the presiding deity of prayers, to come and purify the sacred altar of Yajna with his presence.   

In the Hindu Puranic corpus, the glory of Ganesha reached its heights, with the description of his birth legend in several Maha Puranas and two Puranas- the Ganesha Purana and Mudgal Purana devoted to the recital of his power in a splendid language. Drawing from the contents of these Puranic texts and other sacred literature, the sect of Ganapatayas emerged and grew, who worship Sri Ganesha as the Saguna Brahma and the supreme reality of the Universe.

The Birth of Sri Ganesha

The celebrations of Ganesha Chaturthi in the autumnal months in India are a commemoration of the story of Ganesha’s birth, mentioned in the Hindu Puranas in different ways. Some, like the Matsya Maha Purana narrate that goddess Parvati put the figure she created in the waters of Ganga, who sent it out, enriched it with life, and claimed him to be her son. The child was left free to decide and chose Devi Parvati as his mother. In other variations, Parvati consecrated the image with Ganga’s holy water and gave him life.

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According to the most famous Puranic legend, when goddess Parvati was in her inner chambers, taking a bath, Lord Shiva suddenly arrived unannounced. Awed at this surprise visit, goddess Parvati decided to create her guard, to look after her space. She rubbed Chandan (sandalwood paste) on her divine body, formed a figure, and blew life into it. When Shiva came to visit her wife, Uma, he was faced by the boy guarding her doors. Enraged by his constant attempts to keep him from entering the chambers, Shiva with his Trident or Trishula, severed the boy’s head. Seeing this, Jagadamba (the mother of the Universe), goddess Parvati was filled with cosmic rage, which threatened to end the three realms.

To calm her, Shiva sent his Ganas in search of the head of the first creature they saw, which happened to be an elephant. The Ganas came back with the head, which was placed by Shiva on the body of the boy, who was then given the boon of life. Shiva also declared him to be the head of his Ganas, which gave him the name “Ganesha”- the Isha (Lord) of Ganas.

The son of Adi Deva Shiva and Mahadevi Parvati thus came to be the source of auspiciousness and the guard of virtuous beings. With the blessings of Shiva and Shakti, Ganapati protects goodness on earth and gives boons of Shubha and Labha

Ganesha Chaturthi and the Shubha Muhurta for Worship - 2023

Ganesha Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi falls in Shukla Paksha (New Moon) of the Bhaadrapada Maah (the sixth month of the Hindu sacred calendar), which corresponds to the August-September months in the Gregorian calendar.

In 2023, according to the Hindu calendar, Ganesha Chaturthi is on 19th September, and the festivities end on 28 September 2023, with the Visarjana of Ganapati.

The Shubha-Muhurta for Ganesha Chaturthi begins on September 18, 12:39 pm, and ends on September 19, 8:43 pm. 

The day of Ganesha Chaturthi begins with the arrival of Ganapati or Pranapratishtha. The image of Ganesha is established in the home of the Puja-pandals (especially in Maharashtra and adjoining regions) and welcomed with devotional zeal. Then, the Shodashopchara (shodasha- sixteen, upchar-ritual offerings) starts, in which 16 forms of prayer and worship are offered to the Lord. As the day of departure approaches, the devotees prepare Bappa with Uttar-Puja, for the last part of the rituals, which is the Visarjana.

3" Small Lapis Lazuli Gemstone Blessing Ganpati Idol and Diya

Visarjana as a ritual form an integral part of Ganesha Chaturthi, arguably the most awe-inspiring one. Colossal images of Pandal and small figurines from the homes of Ganesha-bhaktas are all collected on the banks of rivers and seaside. With innumerable forms of Ganapati flocking public spaces, the ambiance is filled with devotion and affection for Bappa, with emotions brimming- for the auspicious one departs with the promise to come back and forever guard his children.

Superfine Lord Ganesha Playing Tabla Stone Sculpture

The Many Forms of Auspiciousness

In the spiritual art of India, the manifold aspects of Ganesha are displayed, which are brought to be established in homes during the Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations.

1. One of the most popular statues of Ganesha is his roopa as Raja-Ganapati or Ganesha on the throne. Ganesha in this form is shown seated on a Simhasana, on his Mushaka, or with his legs folded, adorned like a divine king. Revered amongst his devotees as the supreme sovereign of the universe- “Brahmanda-Nayaka”, this form of Ganesha is a divine and auspicious one for worshipping at home. 

24" Sitting Lord Ganesha Statue in Vietnam Marble

2. Ashta-Vinayaka or the eight forms of Ganapati, popularized by his sacred shrines in Maharashtra- Mayureshwara, Siddhivinayaka, Ballaleshwara, Varadavinayaka, Chintamani Ganesha, Girijatmaj, Vighnahar and Mahaganapati are powerful forms taken by the elephant-faced deity for the protection of his devotees. The sacred legends behind these forms are presented in the Puranas related to Sri Ganesha. Often worshipped as a cluster, these aspects of Ganesha bestow boons of fortune and auspiciousness with their presence in one’s home.

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3. 32 Sacred forms of Ganesha, mentioned in the Mudgala Purana are aspects which each showcase his distinctive potencies. As a divine warrior, bestower of wisdom, and vanquisher of inauspiciousness, along with his Shakti and Riddhi-Siddhi, Ganesha in his 32 forms is worshipped with prescribed rituals to gain success and abundance in every aspect of life.

32 Forms of Ganapati | Handmade

Besides these forms, Ganesha with goddess Parvati and Shiva, Baala Ganesha, Nritya Ganapati, and Panchamukhi Ganesha are some of the most beloved aspects of the deity, which are welcomed by his Bhaktas during these 10 celebratory days. In every form, miniature or gigantic, Ganesha fulfills his promise of protecting the auspiciousness of the world, which is why, though the festival of Ganesha Chaturthi ends, the devotees’ love and devotion for Vinayaka remain endless.

With the celebrations of Ganesha Chaturthi, the quest for a Ganesha statue for home begins! At Exotic India, you will find a heavenly collection of Ganesha statues in brass, bronze, stone, copper, and wood, made with the ancient rules of iconography. We also pride ourselves in having a pristine assortment of ritual and Puja items and traditional books- everything that you need to welcome Ganesha into your home. Visit our website, and be prepared to welcome auspiciousness and abundance, because here comes Bappa! 


1. Ganesha Purana (Gita Press Gorakhpur)

2. Sri Ganesha Upasana

3. Ganesha the Benevolent 

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