Chanakya Quotes

Monday, 9 September 2013

The Irony of Green Ganesh Chaturdasi


Ganesh Chaturdasi is one of the most exciting festivals of Hinduism or Sanathana Dharma. It is one of the major festivals celebrated by the Hindus worldwide. It lasts for nine days during which various pujas are performed to the deity after the Ganesha is invoked into a Vigraha (idol).

At the end of the ninth day of Vinayaka Chavithi a grand procession is performed followed by Nimarjana or Visarjana, which means to leave the Vigraha (idol) into the nearest water body.

History of Ganesotsav

This has just been confined to individual families which made idols out of the clay obtained from the tank digging works prior to the monsoon season till the times of Tilak. 

The Vrata Kalpa or the guide to perform says that the idol must not be lengthier than ones palm and must be made of either clay (to be merged with the source afterwards), or else Pancha Loha, i.e., the metals like Gold, Silver etc. (which can be retained).

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a renowned freedom fighter made it a community affair in the name of Ganeshotsav by establishing mandalas to facilitate community congregations, which were banned during the pre-independence era in Maharashtra.

Although initially, the community festival was in accordance with the guidelines, gradually it became an affair of false pride and exhibition over the years and recently the events have corporate & political sponsors who donate in lakhs. 

People began to make huge idols that even measured over hundred feet to win the competition with nearby communities to remain the talk of the town.  In the process, erecting Plaster of Paris idols emerged, that caused environmental concerns.   

Bal Gangadhar tilak who introduced Ganeshotsav, a community affair

Why is Green Ganesha an ironical term?

Coming to the irony of Green Ganesh Chaturdasi, the term seems an utter nonsense if you can investigate the real significance of the festival. This is because; festivals of the Hinduism are prescribed by holy Rishis after years of gaining spiritual awakening and experiencing divinity. 

They are a set of guidelines with alternatives as well for any ritual or festival. If rituals are performed with lot of deviation from the principle, there will be no results and even may turn out as disasters.  

The term “Green Ganesh Chaturthi” was coined to stop using the Plaster of Paris (POP) idols coloured with toxic substances being worshipped and submerged. This resulted in the creation of terms such as “India’s toxic festival” to mock the holy celebration.

But in fact, this is all on the contrary in reality, is a detoxification and water cleansing drive proposed by Vedic Scholars. Yes, it is in fact! 

Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi

What is the significance of Ganesh Chaturthi?

The south west monsoon season, which is the major season of rainfall in India starts during the month of Ashada (June-July), intensifies during the month of Shravana (July-August) and abates during month of Bhadrapada (August-September).

Earlier, rainy water was collected into local artificial tanks by digging up suitable areas for local reservoirs. The water was full of all sorts of pollutants right from the mud to the toxic substances from dead reptiles, insects and other microbes that got into the flow from high lying areas. The water was never safe to consume or else cultivate which made this festival important.

Even river baths and pilgrimages are banned during this season for the same reasons. So, towards the onset of Bhadrapada month (end of August), to be precise on the very fourth day of the the first half i.e Sukhla paksha Chavithi, anually pooja is performed to Gana Nayaka Vigneshwara as he is the deity to cure Vignas or hindrances of any sort.

As agriculture (which started post to monsoons) was the primary occupation of many people at that time, people prayed for a good health and prosperity by this pooja to get past the initial setbacks to health and well being.

This also signifies the Karma yoga of Hinduism in which a person is expected to act in the direction of the fruit with no expectation for the desired output, not just leaving everything to divine will.

In this pooja, the deity is offered the leaves with medicinal value and let to be in home for nine days. At the end of nine days, the vigraha is submerged in the near by water body with all the leaves that have dried up. The leaves also cleanse the home atmosphere from the vapours of the dried up leaves.

Today, as we have not much of the leaves available, we make big idols of pollutants instead of searching for the leaves to show our Bhakti. 

Leaves or Patri used in Ganesh Chaturthi and their effect:

This pooja is to be performed with 21 different leaves with medicinal value that are of great importance. Most of them like mango, green grass,tulsi, Pomegranate are all available in our vicinity too. 

Leaves or Patri used in Ganesh Chaturthi


The leaves cure many diseases by suppressing microbes causing them. Some of them have capability to neutralize the venom of the dead snakes, scorpions and insects & reptiles too. Here is the use of each leaf to be offered to Vigneshwara with proper mantra:

S.No.
Common leaf name
Scientific Name
Disease Cure
1
Machi Patram
Artemisia vulgaris/ Imperata Cylindrica
Skin diseases (leprosy, leucoderma), nervous diseases, and abdominal related.
2
Brihathi Patram
Solanum indicum/ Carisssa Carandass
Asthma, cough, constipation. Also used for women in post natal period.
3

Bilva patram
Aegle marmeolus
Used for Dysentery. It also purifies water.
4
Durvara Patram
Cyanodon dactylon/ Cyanodon Dacry
Skin diseases, arresting bleeding, and anaemia.
5
Dattura Patram
Stramonium
Joint pains, abdominal, skin diseases, hair fall. Also used in poisonous bites.
6
Badari patram
Zizyphus mauritiana/ Z.jujba
Digestive disorders, wounds and injuries, blood impurities, maintaining the voice.
7
Apamarga Patram
Achyranthus Aspera
Used for digestive disorders and also used for poisonous bites.
8
Tulasi patram
Ocimum sanctum
Used for respiratory diseases, skin diseases, purifies air, water and surroundings.
9
Choota Patram
Azadarcata indica/ Mangifera indica
Used in Diabetics, for cracked heals, diseases of throat.
10
Karaveera Patram
Thevetia Nerifolium/Nerium indicum
Used for leprosy, wounds and injuries, hair fall, lice.
11
Vishnu Kranta Patram
Evolvulus Aisinoides/Convolvulus pluricaucis
Nervous related, memory power.
12
Daadimee Patram
Punica granatum
Used for Dysentery, Vata/Pitta/Kapha dosha.
13
Devadaaru Patram
Cedrus deodar
skin diseases, wounds/injuries.
14
Maruvaka patram
Origanum Vulgara
Diseases of the heart.
15
Sindhuvaara
Vitex Nergunda
Anti venom drugs. Its juice cleanses the eyes.
16
Jajee
Myristica fragrams
Indigestion.
17
Gandaki Patram
Sterculia Urens/Latha Durva
Heart related, Piles, Skin diseases.
18
Shami Patram
Prosopis specigera
Respiratory problems.
19
Aswatha Patram
Ficus religiosa
Its bark is used in preparation of many medicines. It is also used for arresting bleeding.
20
Arjuna Patram
Morinda Tinctoria/Terminelia Arjuna
heart diseases and wounds and septics. The famous tonic, Arjunarishta,
is prepared with these leaves.
21
Arka
Calotrophis Procera
The leaves have white milky juice which is a reliable medicine for the poison of scorpion, centipede, rat etc. It cures external wounds and ulcers.


Action without reasoning may result in questioning of future generations about the necessity of  the practices and the culture may slowly fade away if the questions are not answered.

If we can’t follow our culture in a proper way, then it is like offering a chance to the forces trying to demonize Hinduism in every possible aspect every single second. 

So be conscious and celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi as per the guidelines and be a true Hindu. Do remember that the true spirit of Ganesh Chaturthi lies in collecting as many leaves mentioned as possible instead of going for false pride of buying the biggest idol in the town.


Sources:

www.infosamay.com/21-types-of-patra-patri-used-in-ganesh-puja

             www.sanathanadharma.com/articles/Ganesha.htm