September 19, 2023
The Spiritual Significance Of Ganesh Chaturthi (Part 1)
We celebrate the advent and birth of Sri Ganesh with great faith and enthusiasm, invoking him to destroy obstacles in our life. Most of us are familiar with the mythological story of his birth and his physical form. Like every other festival, Sri Ganesh Chaturthi (September 19th to September 28th) holds deeper spiritual significance. Sri Ganesh represents the divinity originally present within each of us. His appearance, symbolic of several virtues, is full of guiding principles for us to imbibe and follow in our own lives.
The story goes that Sri Parvati Ji wanted someone to guard the gate when she wished to bathe. So she created a child out of the dust on her body, breathed life into him and instructed him to stand as a guard. Sri Shankar Ji returned home from an intense meditation of 10 years, but the child Sri Ganesh denied him entry. An annoyed Sri Shankar Ji cut off the child’s head, killing him. But upon learning facts, Shankar Ji placed the head of an elephant on the child’s body and brought him back to life.
Although it is an interesting story, we need to pause and question the flow of certain events in it. How did the deity Sri Parvati Ji have dust on her body, so much as to create a child out of it? How was it possible for the deity Sri Shankar Ji to become so angry soon after returning from years of meditation? Also, he is a merciful deity, why did he kill an innocent child for a minor reason? Why did Sri Ganesh Ji get an elephant’s head and not his own head back?
Introspecting on the essence behind the story shows that answers to the above questions are relevant to our own life. The child that Sri Parvati Ji created from her body represents body-consciousness. His ego did not let him recognize his own father. This symbolizes that when we the souls are body conscious; our ego prevents us from recognizing our own Supreme Father who is the Almighty God or the Supreme Soul. The head represents ego. Sri Shankar Ji cutting the child’s head symbolizes that God finishes our ego and replaces it with a head of wisdom. Wisdom gives us the strength to destroy all our obstacles. The birth and virtues of Sri Ganesh teaches us how to become a Vighna Vinashak or destroyer of obstacles.
(To be continued tomorrow …)