Amma's Discourses on Ganesha Chaturthi
August 31, 2022
In observation of Sri Ganesha Chaturthi, celebrations in worship of Sri Maha Ganapati have been happening every year on this day at Amma’s ashram at Penusila on a grand scale. Ganesh Chaturthi festival, every year will also be celebrated in a uniquely auspicious way. There will be many sacred worship events on this day, and they are detailed below:
Worship at the Temple
It is believed that Lord Ganesha descends on the earthly plane on this particular day to bless His devotees and hence this day is known as Ganesha Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi. The significance of Ganesh Chaturthi lies in the way in which people attach themselves with all their devotion and faith to the care and pampering of the all-embracing Lord Ganesha.
On this day, people worship the Ashta Vinayakas referred to as the eight embodiments of Lord Ganesha, who abolish the negative powers of the evil elements that exist in this world. The belief that adds to the significance of this day is that “Lord Ganesha always comes to abolish the negative forms in every period and in every age”.
Maha Ganesha Nija Rupa Darshanam
The auspicious moment of the moon entering into Chaturthi on the fourth day of the waxing moon. In observation of this supremely auspicious moment, devotees can witness the true form of Lord Sri Ganesha at Divine Mother’s Manidweepa abode.
Navagraha Dosha Nivarana Divya Jyoti
The divine ghee lamp that removes negative effects of all the nine planets will be lit in front of Lord Ganesha.
Sri Gaulakshmi Puja
The program activities will start with a very special and powerful worship of Sri Gau Mata or Cow Puja..
Devotees will begin their journey to the temple as a procession starting at the simha dwara or the main entrance, where Sri Lakshmi Ganapati is situated. The procession will be lead by devotees carrying kaavadis in which they will carry a variety of auspicious ingredients used for worship. There will be kaavadis carrying milk, flowers, sandalwood, modukas, garika, holy grass, bilva, apple wood leaves, sindhur, a type of vermilion, and lotus flowers, respectively. As devotees carry these kaavadis, they will be accompanied with mangala vaadyas or auspicious music of drums and pipes, and loud chants of Jai Ganesha! Jai Ganesha! Jai Ganesha! from all devotees. The procession will eventually reach the entrance of the temple, and devotees will then enter the temple. Devotees can come to Penusila, participate in this procession, and carry one of these kaavadis in person. Or else, they can sponsor a kaavadi and have a devotee carry it on behalf of them in the procession.
As per the tradition of Sanatana Dharma, vedic mantras will be chanted as a prayer for peace and welfare of all beings upon the earth, prior to the start of all worship events of the day.
Next, vedic mantras will be chanted and rituals performed to energize water, which will then be sprinkled throughout the temple complex in order to sanctify the place and the people.
Then, nava-kalashas, nine water pots will be installed for invoking Lord Ganesha. In the main kalasha, Sri Lakshmi Ganesha will be installed, and in the remaining eight kalashas, Lord Ganesha in the form of Ashta Ganapatis will be installed by chanting appropriate Vedic mantras.
Next, the supremely powerful maha abhishekam or devotional bathing of Lord Sri Ganesha will be performed. The sacred bath will begin with holy water procured from all sacred rivers including Ganges, Godavari, Narmada, Sindhu, Kaveri, Krishnaveni, Tungabhadra, and others. As these waters are poured on Lord Ganesha with 108 most sacred dakshinavrita shankhas, Ganapati Atharvasirsha mantras are chanted to make the whole ceremony most sacred and powerful. This will be followed by a sacred bath with milk to the chants of Sri Ganesha Suktam. Then, as a last step of the maha abhisheka, there will be sacred bath with sixteen types of sacred ingredients performed to the chanting of vedic mantras. The sixteen ingredients are: sesame oil mixed with akshatas, energized rice and sacred durva grass, clarified butter from cow’s milk, cow’s milk, yogurt, mango juice, dry fruit pieces, sandalwood powder or paste, sugar cane juice, sacred ash, turmeric powder and vermilion powder, flowers and nine gems, sacred durva grass, bilva, wood apple leaves, lotuses, warm water, and finally panneeru or fragrant water. This supremely powerful sacred bath ceremony performed with one hundred dakshinavrita shankhas is quite rare and is performed at Penushila only once in a year, on Ganesha Chaturthi.
Nutana Vastra Samarpana
Lord Sri Ganesha will be offered nutana vastra, new silk clothes to the chanting of sacred vedic mantras.
After offering new clothes, Sri Ganesha will be offered suvarna yagnopaveeta, sacred thread made of gold, once again amidst chants of vedic mantras.
Sri Ganesha will then be worshipped in a grand way with several sacred ingredients including swetha arka pushpas(white crown flowers), sacred durva grass, lotuses, bilva leaves, red flowers, and red sandalwood paste.
Maha Naivedya Samarpana
After the grand worship, Sri Ganesha will be offered maha naivedyam or supreme offering of sanctified food. The food preparations will include a huge heap of rice, sugarcane, kudumulu (steamed round balls made of rice) 1,001 modukas, and 1,008 laddus.
Sri Ganesha will then be offered tambulam, or beetle leaves, together with nut powder, fruits, and flowers.
Maha Harati Samarpana
As a final step of the worship at the temple, Sri Ganesha will be offered maha harati or grand offering of lighted lamps. The offering of lighted lamps will be done in accordance with Vedic custom and tradition. It will begin with a single wick lamp and steadily progresses culminating with a meru or pyramid of lights, where several lighted lamps are arranged into a tall cone shaped form.
Maha Homa and Annadana Events
As the worship in the temple is going on, Sri Ganesha will be carried on a palanquin into the yajna shala, where sacred fire ceremonies are performed, amidst mangala vaadyas or auspicious music of drums and pipes. Then new clothes will be offered to both Sri Ganesha and the priests who perform the fire ceremony.
In the yajna shala vedic priests will perform Sri Ganesha homa with offerings of ten thousand modukas. Also, there will be one hundred and eight oblations with milk, as an offering to Lord Sri Ganesha. Then the fire ceremony will end with purnahuti, the final concluding offering to Sri Ganesha. The fire ceremony is expected to end around 2:00 pm at which time there will be mangala harati, the grand offering of auspicious lighted lamps. Then Sri Ganesha will be taken back to the temple in the silver palanquin, with great reverence.
After the worship at the temple and the fire ceremony at the yajna shala are completed, free food will be served to all participating devotees. Sponsoring Annadana is considered to be a great seva and will confer untold blessings on one and one’s family. Every year hundreds of people are served free food during all festival days at Amma’s ashram. Give generously for this noble cause.
The evening ceremonies will begin with pulangi seva or the decoration of flowers, which will take place between 5:00—6:00 pm. During this ceremony, Sri Ganesha will be adorned throughout His body with beautiful fresh flowers. One must witness this beautiful form of the fully adorned Ganesha, to experience the bliss of it.
Then there will be sandhya puja or evening worship, with chants of one thousand and eight names of Sri Ganesha together with the seed syllable “Gam” added at the beginning of each name. As part of this evening worship there will also be bilva patrarchana or worship with the sacred bilva (bael) leaves. This worship will remove all hardships and devotees may also participate in this very special worship.
Subsequently, there will be a very special worship with vedic mantras for all the nine kalashas, where Sri Lakshmi Ganapati and Ashta Ganapatis have been invoked in the morning.
After the evening worship, there will be a grand magala harati with offerings of lighted lamps.
This will be followed by vinjamara seva or the offering of a gentle and soothing breeze to the Lord, with hand held specially made fans.
The evening celebrations will end with ashthavadhana seva where vedic scholars will exhibit their knowledge as an offering to the Lord.