Ganesh is one of the most popular deities in the Hindu religion and is worshipped by many people across the globe. It is traditional to begin any Hindu religious ritual with a prayer to Ganesh, the god of wisdom and beginnings, and during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, the Ganesh puja is performed. This ceremony can be performed at a temple, but it is popularly performed at home, before a small clay image of the god. The Ganesh puja is often performed at midday, although it can also be done in the evenings, with the whole family gathered around the image of Ganesh.
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Things you need
- Statue of Ganesh
- Coconut leaves
- Flowers with red petals
- Red sandalwood paste
- Sandalwood incense
- Mantra CD
Take a ritual bath, and put on fresh clothes. You should have already ensured that the house has been cleaned from top to bottom. Place the coconut leaves around the platform on which the idol will be put, and then add garlands of red roses. If you are reusing your image, or clay statue, of Ganesh, then before you begin the ritual, you need to wash the image and dry it thoroughly. Stand it upon the platform, and put more garlands of flowers on it. Place the sandalwood paste on the image, and clean your hands. You can then begin the Ganesh Puja.
Recite a mantra to welcome Ganesh into the idol. This can be a very simple type of mantra, such as "Aum Gam Ganashya Namah," repeated three or more times, or "Avahanam Samapayami." If you wish to do a more complicated prayer, you can read out a section of the Rig Veda, which has many passages devoted to Ganesh. A popular method of calling in Ganesha is to say, "Vakratundda, Mahaakaya Suryakotee Samaprabha, Nirvighanam Kuru Mey Deva, Sarvakaaryesha Sarvadaa." This calls on Ganesha using some of his names (Lord Ganesha of the large body and curved trunk, as brilliant as a million suns, remove all obstacles in my work, always).
Place the modak, which is a type of sugary sweet, and the rice next to the statue, saying, "Aum Shri Ganesha Namah." Light the incense and the ghee lamp. Once this has been done, you can perform the Shhodashopashara, or ways of paying devotions to Ganesh. Wash the image's hands and feet, and offer him water to drink, saying, "Aum Shri Ganesha Namah Achmanee Yam Samarpayami."
Offer the god more flowers, and place coconut leaves near to the idol. You should then begin to recite the 108 names of Ganesh. These are salutations which describe particular features of the god, including those above, which mention his curved trunk and large body. When the last of the 108 names has been said, the family should bow down before the image of Ganesh and ask for his blessing. The Ganesh puja is then complete.
Tips and warnings
- It is a good idea to use a Ganesh Mantra CD in order to recite the words completely and in the right order.
- The Ganesh Puja can be performed with pranayama (breathing) yoga methods in order to improve the chanting.
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