2. SIGNIFICANCE OF LORD GANESH• Shree Ganesha symbolizes auspiciousness. Ganeshas image is a strange composite of elephant and man, generally mounted on a mouse with four arms. Every part of his image is symbolic of facts : The Elephant head represents the great strength of elephant. The Human form signifies wisdom, intelligence and ability. The Tiny Mouse denotes presence of mind. His Four arms represents four directions of space. Shree Ganesha is associated with a wealth of myths and legends, which depict his importance and magnitude of his power and the reason for his popularity.... Among all the Hindu Deities, Shree Ganesha is the closest to the material plane of consciousness, most able to assist us in our day-to-day life and concerns Shree Ganesha has comfortably adopted modern and contemporary form. Surprisingly, there are no religious objections when Ganeshas image is given "new forms" The spread of Ganesha is not confined to India alone his Ganeshas images are found worldwide. Although, his image is altered by devotees as per their perceptions, their faith remains unaltered. To them Ganesha, is the Universe, the most important God.
3. LEGENDThere are a few legends attributed to the birth or rather the manifestation of Ganesha. However the most popular one is that He was formed by Parvati from the material of Her own body. She then commissioned Ganesha to guard while she had her bath. It is said that the steadfast Ganesha did not allow entry to Lord Shiva Himself and the enraged Lord sent His Ganas or demigods to vanquish Ganesha. Since the Ganas had to embrace defeat, as Ganesha was formed out of Mother Sakhti (Parvati who stands for power), Lord Shiva had to tackle Him directly and in the ensuing battle, severed the head of Ganesha which enraged the Mother.Lord Shiva then ordered His Ganas to proceed westward and come with the head of anything that they happened to see first. It so happened that it was an elephant and its head was fitted to the body of Parvatis manifested son.Shiva then declared Ganesha as the leader of His retinue and henceforth be worshipped first in the beginning of all religious activities for fruitful results to ensue.
4. Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi• The very story of Ganeshas manifestation holds the essence of Advaita Vedanta. He has been manifested out of the divine essence of (Parvati). This is a reminder that we all are made up of the same, all pervading essence or the spirit though we may vary owing to the disparities in shape and form.• The truth or the essence is but one, the formless spirit that pervades all destroys the disparities. The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi reveals that while we worship the divine with the form, we ought to bear in mind our formless reality. This is depicted in the elaborate worship that is carried out on Ganesh Chaturthi and finally dissolving the form that we endear in a water body in remembrance of the divine as the formless reality even beyond the manifested form.
5. GANESH CHATURTHI POOJA• Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated across the country irrespective of religion caste and creed. Lord Ganesha is invoked in a Kalash or an idol of the Lord is installed in the house. Pooja is carried out with Vedic mantras, Homas, archana and offerings of His favorite Modhak, puffed rice, sweets and jaggery according to each ones mode of worship. Some wind up the worship in a day or two while others carry it on for a week. On the final day of worship, the Ganesha statue made out of clay is dissolved in a water body or the water from the Kalash is also mixed in a water body.
6. Bringing lord Ganesh home• The highlight of the Ganesha festival is the enchanting idols devotees take home to worship. For devotees there is more to Ganesha than an elephant head. Every feature of the idol carries an interesting connotation for them. We spoke to several devotees and idol sellers to find out how the faithful choose their deity.