The excitement and festivities of Ganesh Utsav in Bhagyanagar are always the best when compared to anywhere in India. The excitement with the festive procession is moving forward and the atmosphere is full of happiness and joy. The procession paused here for a while, people are gathering here to listen to a few thoughts. This is a good thing on this great occasion.
Along with excitement and joy, we should have intelligence and wisdom. Today Ganesh Nimajjanam- Immersion is going on. Vinayaka is the son of Shakthi, son of Parvathi Devi. She is Jagath-janani, Goddess of Universe. Ganesh is her great devotee. Once there was a question among the Gods, `Who’s the best among all’? So it was decided that whoever circumambulates the Universe thrice will be declared the best of all. All Gods and Goddesses arrived on their vehicles, Sri Lakshmi Devi came on her uluka- owl vehicle, Sri Saraswathi devi came on her hamsa – swan, Sri Mahavishnu came on his Garuda, Karthikeya on his peacock vehicle and so on. Everyone stood in line, ready for the competition. So they said to Sri Vinayaka ‘you are so plump, and your vehicle is the small mouse, how can you participate in the competition, have you just come here to watch the race?’. Sri Ganesh answered that he too came to participate. Everyone started on their journeys around the Universe. Sri Ganesh simply circumambulated around Sri Parvathi Devi with Sri Mahasiva as his witness and won the competition.
We also travel here and there and around the world. We enter into the world of sciences and knowledge. We do extensive research in various fields. But people who have true devotion towards the mother will obtain everything. Our mothers are in our homes; after Jaganmatha, the mother of Universe, Bharath Mata- Mother India is our true mother. Through these Ganesh festivities, we should inculcate devotion and care towards Bharath Mata. Our victories, fame and welfare are embedded in that. But it’s not enough to have the feeling, we should capacitate ourselves. Sri Ganesh is a symbol of Shakthi, he’s the son of Shakthi, he is also the God of Wisdom and Intelligence. Without wisdom what is the use of power?
A man taught everything to his pet monkey, he used to talk to the monkey and it would understand. Once he was sleeping under a tree, gave his knife to the monkey and asked it to guard and protect him. After sometime, a fly came and sat on the man’s nose, it wandered around and came back again and again. The monkey was furious, took out the knife and cut the man’s nose, the fly simply flew away. We cannot use power without intelligence. And Sri Ganesha is the God of Wisdom.
Intelligence teaches us about everything and everyone, what are you as a person, what am I as a person and so on. We understand everyone’s secrets too. But we should keep those in our stomachs, and for that we need big stomachs, Lambodara like Ganesh. Ours is a very big society, with different kinds of people. To keep everyone bonded together, we need to understand the mentalities of everyone. We should discuss everything. Ganesha is the Lord of Word; Speech does good for everyone. It digests all the faults and mistakes in it’s stomach, and corrects it in a timely manner. Not just that. Lord Ganesha has a big nose, two sharp eyes and very big ears. Nothing is hidden from Him. He knows everything and whether people are thinking correctly or wrongly. To the right thinking people, he gifts them laddoos. If people are eating too many laddoos and getting diabetes, he has 21 kinds of leaves as a remedy for that. And for the people who are thinking wrong, He has the Trunk to tie them up with. And for those who keep the society bound in discipline, and have self-discipline themselves, he is represented with the Spike in His hand.
Sri Ganesha comes to us with all these qualities for 10 days. Comes from where? Goes where? He neither comes from somewhere nor goes anywhere. I will tell you where all he resides, all 24 hours, in all this creation, in eternity, he is available to us there; the very first, in our Mooladhaar – the root and very basis of the Existence; second, everywhere in this creation- all permeating, he’s Gana-nayaka, the commander of forces- he binds everyone and leads everyone. He who binds everyone, resides with everyone and directs everyone. He is also very alert and careful, our country needs to be alert all the time, even in smaller things. In bigger issues, we succeeded. People wanted to win the country with their arms and power, people wanted to defeat our country by deluding us with their brains, nothing has worked. Now they are trying smaller narrower ways to win, by showing some small snippets on TV, a few people writing something, and by pitting one against the other. We should remain alert and aware, should not get trapped in these minor ways, not misunderstand our own people, we should bond with and take everyone along.
Sri Ganesha is the Lord of Organization, and organizing ourselves is what we need today in our society, we don’t need anything else. If we organize and remain united, the good people find relief, and bad people go silent. Just by seeing us. Even with Sri Ganesh ji it’s the same, our wishes are fulfilled, if we see and sight him, and if we remember and recall him, we don’t even have to seek anything. Let us remind ourselves that we all belong to the same society, we invite Sri Ganesh ji who resides everywhere for eternity, He the form of Atma and Parmatma, to our homes. We as hosts, give Him offerings, we keep Him with us as ourselves. Then He goes away on a world tour to take care of the world and He will return next year.
When we worship Sri Ganesh ji in this form means, we try to become like Him. The offerings we give, like flowers, fruits, water etc are all symbols, but the real meaning of worship is, we must try and become like Him. We must become strong and powerful like Sri Ganesha. People don’t listen to even good things without power. Power is not to kill, hurt or harass others, but to strengthen ourselves so that killers and harassers don’t overpower us. Our shakthi –power is to protect the good people. It is to protect the weak and helpless. Our power is never to frighten or hurt others. We neither fear nor frighten others. Another shakthi-putra like Sri Ganesh is Sri Hanuman. There is great friendship between Sri Ganesh and Sri Hanuman.
To worship Sri Ganesh means to try and become powerful like Him. But Shakthi –power needs direction from Buddhi – Wisdom. And both Power and Wisdom require Bhakthi – Devotion in their minds towards Bharat Matha. Devotion to Bharat matha- Mother India means devotion towards India’s nature, people, water, forests, land, trees and animals. Keeping all these in mind, if we have that fervent devotion towards motherland, then the shakthi and buddhi- power and wisdom will be completely beneficial to all the people. Along with these qualities, we should imbibe Sri Ganesh ji’s liberal and tolerant attitude, and His capacity to absorb and correct the mistakes of others; the qualities represented by His long trunk, sharp eyes and big ears, and His vehicle, the small mouse. There is no place the mouse can’t go, it goes into all nooks and corners, we can’t catch it. The mouse has even learnt to escape mouse-traps. It goes everywhere and brings information from all places, yet it remains within itself. We have to become like that, reach everywhere, become well-informed, and think about welfare of all, like a well-wisher.
Today we are bidding farewell to Sri Ganesh ji, we are saying to Him, you have work everywhere, please go and complete, but come back early next year. In Maharashtra we say, Ganapati Bappa Moraya, Agle Baras Thu Jaldi Aa, meaning come back early next year. Sometimes there’s an extra month’s delay due to calendar. But He can’t stay away without returning. Why does He return every year? Because He feels that if he resides in our homes, as one amongst us, we will learn some good things from Him. He’s not afraid to stay with us, He is God, nothing wrong touches him. There can be no wrong, where He stays. But we have to learn good things from Him. We should learn good things from everyone, ignore the bad things in others. If we can help end bad things in others with affection and friendship, we should try. But get together with everyone, there is strength in being united with others. We should build that strength by unifying people. The thought about welfare of the world is embedded in joining with others, we should awaken that unifying spirit. In doing this, we should not look at our selfish interests. Why are we doing this? We are doing this for Bharat matha. `Tere vaibhav amar rahe maa, hum din chaar rahe na rahe’! We should work with this spirit. Sri Ganesh ji has achieved that, when he circumambulated the universe. We should strive to emulate Sri Ganeshi ji in our lives, not just make him a festival entity. If we are able to do that, this holy day of Ananta chaturdasi when we are bidding farewell to Sri Ganesha will be cherished. If I come to know that the participants of this farewell journey are trying to become like that, then I will visit you all once again to fold my hands in gratitude to all of you.
Translation by Pradakshina