This blogpost is written in the backdrop of the Supreme Court of India monitoring various bits of the Hindu faith… From Sabarimala, to the ban on Jallikattu to regulating the height of the Dahi Handi pyramid, the SC has effectively invaded the space occupied by Hindus.
Then recently, a Whatsapp message was being circulated: It said don’t offer flowers and fruits to Ganapati but instead offer a pen and notebook which can go to slum dwellers at the end of the festival. My objection is not to the second part of the statement, its to the “don’t offer flowers and fruits to Ganapati” part of the statement. In my opinion, there is a reason why this statement is being made.
The actual reason behind the problem is like this. The people filing PIL’s and the judges represent a microcosm of Hindu society. It is within Hindu society itself that the problem lies. And what is this problem which lies in the minds of those who think in the manner?
Let me paraphrase those thoughts. After all it was just around twenty years ago when I thought similarly.
- “The Ganapati moorti is just an idol, it does not matter if you offer fruits or flowers to an inanimate idol, it does not live”
- ” The Ganapati idol can be broken and anyway after 10 days, you are going to put it into a river so it is not important”.
- “I cannot see the idol to live but I can see the child to who I offer the notebook and pen to become visibly happy, hence no need to keep the idol”
- “The flowers pollute rivers and waterbodies and rot there and hence its not useful to offer these to an idol which is not living anyway”
- “We are a secular country and so these things are wrong”
I can give you n number of reasons why people think in this manner and it is not wrong… its just that its not accurate, its an application of Abrahamic principles to Hinduism which is not Abrahamic in origin and is basically a study in consciousness.
The problem is because
1. Hardly anybody “normal” knows why you are offering flowers and fruits.
2. Is the moorti of Ganapati you bring home alive? If so, when does it live? When does it not live?
3. What is the right time to worship Ganapati every year?
So, let me attempt to answer these basic questions which have remained away from certain people for years …..because of which they now feel “lets not offer flowers and fruits” to Ganapati.
- The offering of flowers and fruits is a part of a Pancha upchara ” Five fold offering”, based on an attempt at purification of the five elements which exist within your own body. each offering within this Pancha upchara represents something within your own body: The five elements are earth, water, fire, wind and space and gandha (sandalwood powder representing earth), flowers (red flowers for Ganapati representing water of your own body), a diya (representing your fire) , lighted agarbatti (representing your wind or Vayu) and a whole fruit representing Akasha or space. Offering these on a daily basis purifies your own elements, it helps if you know it although even if you don’t know it, it will still have an effect.
- The moorti of Ganesha you bring home is just that…. an idol, You must consecrate and bring it to life using appropriate mantras. This is a very short procedure and after that short procedure, the moorti is living and Ganesha is deemed to be present in the idol…. you can repeat this process every day. This makes the process more potent. If you don’t know these “prana pratistha” mantras , please refer here to page 17 of this manual which gives the Prana Pratisthapana mantra for Ganapati: http://vedicastrologer.org/homa/ganapathi.htm
- The ancient sages ritualised the process of worshipping Ganapati to the 10 days which occur in every year based on the soli lunar calendar starting from the 4th day of the waxing or bright half of Bhadrapada to the 14th day of the bright half of Bhadrapada month. (This year: 5th to the 15th of September of 2016). These 10 days are excellent for the invocation of Ganesha after which a mantra visarjan can be done to remove the prana from the moorti and transfer this to your own heart. After this the idol is put in water…. that is why the idol should be made of dissolvable material, so that you see the idol dissolve after you have actively transferred its energy back to your heart.
May we all worship Ganesha and realise the ability of Ganesha in isolating our Indriyas from external obstacles of wrong sight, noise and the like.
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PS: Some believe in an alternative mapping of elements where water is for the fruit and the flowers are for the Aakasha tattwa.
To read my blog on Astronomy and Mathematics in ancient India, do read,
To read my updated Jyotish blog, do read www.artjyotish.wordpress.com
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