For most, India is a mystical land of snake charmers and call centers. But this ancient land is also home to Lord Ganesha – The elephant headed God of wisdom, well being and new beginnings. Call him Gajanana, Buddhinath, Mangalmurti or Siddhivinayaka or one can choose a name from any of the 108 names! Each of which personify the virtues of this happy deity.
Wondering how I know so much about Lord Ganesha (also known as Vighnaharta – remover of all obstacles)? Well, every year in the state of Maharashtra, families host Lord Ganesha or Vinayaka – Lord of all as he is lovingly called for ten days (Typically, not every family hosts him for ten days. Some host for one and a half days, some for five, some seven and some for ten. ) They love him, worship him and pamper him during his stay and lovingly invite him to visit again the coming year. Fortunately, I happened to be in Pune to witness this festival first hand thanks to my visit to BlazeClan Technologies.
Just like thousands of families, this corporate family too celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi and hosted Lord Ganesha (a.k.a Ganadhisha – lord of the armies) for one day and a half day. The Lord was welcomed in all the pomp and fare fit for royalty, at least corporate royalty!The entire team was fervently involved in all the decoration and puja preparations.
Even the “Priest” was in-house! The Puja was headed by one of the Marketing Ideators! Once the puja was over, the pampering began. The Lord with a curved trunk (Vakratunda – quite literally, the Lord with a twisted face) was offered his all time favorite delicacy – the Modaks (a sweet dumpling traditionally made from rice flour and stuffed with mix of coconut and jaggery). Believe me its one food indulgence you must try!
It is said that the Lord comes and resides in the clay idol and while I stood there, I knew it wasn’t just a belief. In fact when the puja began, the Lord was officially “invited” to grace the occasion. One can actually feel the positivity in the air during this period. There’s something else too that I discovered during my visit there. Lord Ganesha, is not just a deity that grants wishes, gives boons, removes hurdles or transfer knowledge. On a deeper level, he signifies the life we should lead or at lease aspire to lead.
When you look closely, this God of prosperity has a large elephant head which tells us to think big. His large ears tell us to listen more and the small mouth to talk less. His narrowed eyes represent concentration. Something that we all practice at some point or the other. With one tusk gone, He tells us to retain the good and throw away the bad. His elephant trunk symbolized the highly adaptable nature and efficiency that a being has and should use to the fullest.
He has four arms that signify the hard work that can make wonders in this crazy world. While his one arm is raised to bless, another is holds a rope to pull one closer to his goals, still another one holds an axe to cut all bonds of attachments while the fourth one holds a Modak, the sweet reward of concentrated hard work put into achieving the set goals.
Though most of us would like to believe that a large belly is the sign of prosperity, the Lord’s stomach is the personification of the ability to digest both good and bad peacefully throughout one’s life.
The Prasad (offerings) made to this pious divinity means that the whole world is at one’s feet and for his asking.
It might look amusing or even strange that a God this large should have a mouse as his choice of transport. But again, the mouse is the symbol of unbridled desire, which if not controlled can cause havoc in one’s life. By choosing the mouse as his vehicle, Lord Ganesha keeps it in control and thus tells us to stay in control of our desires and stay focused on our real goals.
I don’t know about you guys, but I am going to attempt this lifestyle soon, but for now, just like Lord Ganesha, I’m going to say – “Modaks! Keep them coming!”