Shri Ganesh Chaturthi Puja Rituals


        The destructive and Tama-predominant Yama waves reach the Earth in greater proportion during the 120 days from the Ashadha Pournima till Kartik Pournima. Their intensity is greater during this period. However, during this period of greater intensity (meaning, the period from Bhadrapad Shukla Chaturthi to Bhadrapad Shukla Chaturdashi [or Anantachaturdashi]), the Ganesh waves, too, reach the Earth in larger proportion. It helps reduce the intensity of the Yama waves.

        On Shri Ganesh Chaturthi, as also during the days of Ganeshotsav, Ganesh Principle is 1000 times more active on the Earth. Worship of Shri Ganesh during this period bestows greater benefits.

Shri Ganesh Chaturthi Video

1. In a family, who should celebrate Shri Ganesh Chaturthi ?

        The vrat (Vowed religious observance) undertaken during Shri Ganesh Chaturthi is known as the ‘Siddhivinayak vrat’. Ideally, it should be performed in all the families. If all the brothers in a family live together, that is, they have a common treasury and kitchen; they can all worship one Idol. However, if, for some reason, the treasury and kitchen are separate, then each one should worship Shri Ganesh independently in his own section of the house.

        In some families as per the family tradition, only one Ganapati is worshipped. In these houses, it is found that every year Ganapati is worshipped by turn in the house of different brother. If the family tradition or the firm belief to worship only one Idol is not to be broken, then it is most appropriate that the Idol be worshipped in the house of the brother with maximum bhav (Spiritual emotion).

2. Need for a new Idol

        Despite having an Idol of Ganesh for day-to-day worship, the reason for bringing a new Idol for Shri Ganesh Chaturthi is as given here. During the period of Shri Ganesh Chaturthi, Ganesh waves reach the Earth in very large proportion. If these waves are invoked in the usual Idol of worship, then that Idol will imbibe a tremendous amount of energy. It is difficult to worship such an Idol by meticulously abiding by all the norms of karmakanḍa throughout the year. Hence, a new Idol is installed to invoke the Ganesh waves and is then immersed in flowing water. The proportion of Sattva, Raja and Tama components in Ganapati waves is 5:5:5 while that in an average person is 1:3:5. This makes it difficult for an average person to imbibe Ganesh waves for a longer duration.

3. Using rangoli patterns for decoration around Shri Ganesh

        As per the science of Spirituality, each Deity is a specific Principle. Just as Shri Ganesh is offered red flowers, durva, leaves of shami (Mesquite) and mandar (Coral) trees etc., to attract Shri Ganesh Principle, some specific rangoli patterns also help attract Shri Ganesh Principle. Using these patterns in rangoli, illumination, or festoons for Ganesh multiplies the benefit of Shri Ganesh principle.

4. Duration of the rituals according to the scriptures and local customs

        An Idol of Ganesh is sculpted from mud on Bhadrapad Shukla Chaturthi. According to the ritual mentioned in the scriptures, it is to be placed on the left palm, consecrated there itself with the Name ‘Siddhivinayak’ and immediately immersed in flowing water. However, human beings who love festivities were not satisfied with such limited celebration; hence, they started keeping Shri Ganesh Idol for one and a half, five, seven or ten days and celebrating during this period. Many people have even started to immerse Ganesh along with Gouri (Jyeshṭha). If, as per the family tradition, Shri Ganesh is worshipped for five days and if we wish to change it to one and a half or seven days, we can do so. We need not ask an authority on scriptures to take such a decision. According to the custom, Shri Ganesh Idol should be immersed in flowing water on the first, second, third, sixth, seventh or tenth day.

5. Installation of the Idol on the seat

        Before commencing the ritualistic worship, rice (any other food grain if rice not available) is spread over the seat and then the Idol is kept on it. A fistful or a small mound of rice is used depending on the local custom. The benefit derived by installing the Idol on rice grains is given here. After invocation of Shri Ganesh into the Idol and performing the ritualistic worship, energy is created in the Idol. The rice on which the Idol is placed gets charged with this energy. If two stringed musical instruments of the same frequency are placed side by side and sound is generated in one, the same sound gets generated by the other, too. Similarly, generation of vibrations of Shakti (Divine Energy) in the rice kept below the Idol results in generation of vibrations of Shakti in the rice stored in the house, too. Thus, rice grains charged with Shakti can be consumed as Prasad (Holy sacrament) throughout the year.

6. Rituals before the main puja (Ritualistic worship) and their significance

        While performing each of the following rituals, a specific mantra of each ritual is recited.

A. Achaman : This brings about internal purification.

B. Desh-kal-kathan : Pronounce the name of the country and time-period.

C. Sankalp (Resolve) : It is difficult to derive the benefit of a ritual without making a sankalp.

D. Asan-shuddhi (Purification of the seat) : This is done by touching our seat and paying obeisance.

E. Shri Ganapatipuja : Shri Ganapati should be invoked on a coconut or a betel nut and be worshipped ritualistically.

F. Purush-sukta nyas : Amidst recitation of the Purush-sukta, the Deity should be invoked in the heart, head, shikha, face, eyes and between the eyebrows. This helps augment the Sattva component.

G. Kalashapuja : All Deities, seas, Holy rivers etc. should be invoked in the pot and gandha (Sandalwood paste), flowers and akshata should be offered to it. This sattvik (Sattva-predominant) water is then to be used in the ritualistic worship.

H. Shankhapuja : The conch should be washed and filled with water. Then gandha and white flowers should be offered to it. We should not offer akshata and tulsi (Holy basil plant) leaves to it.

I. Ghanṭapuja : To welcome the Deities and drive away the demons, ring the ghanṭa (Bell). The bell should be washed, placed to the worshipper’s left and gandha, flowers and akshata should be offered to it.

J. Deep-puja : Gandha and flowers should be offered to the lamp.

K. Matoli fastened above Shri Ganapati should be worshipped by offering gandha, flowers and akshata to it. (Raw fruits, roots etc. are hung from the ceiling in front of the Idol, which is called Matoli in Goa, Bharat.)

J. Pavitrikaran (Purification) : Take some water from the conch onto the right palm and sprinkle it over yourself and the implements used during the puja.

K. Dwarpuja : Take flowers and akshata in your hand and scatter them in all the four directions. This is worship of Dikpal, the guardian Deities of the directions.

L. Pranapratishṭha (Consecration) of the Idol : Place the right hand over the heart of the Idol of the Deity and recite the mantra. Consecration of an Idol is done on Shri Ganesh Chaturthi or to awaken any new Idol. This is not included in the day-to-day ritualistic worship since the God Principle is already present in it due to regular worship.

M. Dhyan (Meditation) : Recite the mantra, ‘Vakratunda mahakaya..(वक्रतुंड महाकाय०)’.

N. Avahan (Invoking the Deity) : At the time of invoking, recite the mantra, ‘Om sahastrashirsha Purushaha…. (ॐ सहदााशीर्षा पुरुषः०)’ and offer akshata. The akshata helps attract the Principle of the Deity faster.

O. Asan (Seat) : Offer akshata to the seat.

P. Padya (Holy feet) : To wash the Deity’s Holy feet, sprinkle water on the Idol’s feet with flowers or durva.

Q. Arghya : Take a spoonful of water, add gandha to it and sprinkle that water on the Idol with a flower. This is akin to welcoming guests by sprinkling rose water on them.

R. Achaman : Considering that the Deity is performing achaman, take water in an offering spoon and offer it to Deity.

S. Snan (Bath) : We should bathe the Deity by pouring water using an offering spoon.

T. Panchamrutsnan : First bathe the Idol with panchamrut. Each time, take water in an offering spoon and bathe the Idol with water. Thereafter, pour three spoons of water to symbolize performing of achaman, and finally, offer gandha, flowers and akshata.

U. Purvapuja : After worship with gandha, flowers (red flowers for Shri Ganapati), akshata, frankincense, and a lit lamp, the remaining panchamrut should be used as Naivedya. To make this offering, make a mandal (Protective sheath) with water in front of the Idol and place the panchamrut on it. (The mandal prevents energies other than the Deity’s from partaking of the offering.) There are two methods of offering Naivedya to Deities.

Method 1 – As per karmakandạ : After sprinkling water on the Naivedya with two tulsi stalks with two leaves each, place one tulsi stalk on the Naivedya and offer the other at the feet of the Deity. Reciting the mantra ‘Pranaya Swaha…..’, take the fragrance of the Naivedya to the Deity with the tips of the fingers of the right hand. The science in this act is as follows – Since the waves of the five Cosmic Principles are generated from the five fingers, we are able to get, at the same time, the waves of that particular Deity in the universe associated with the five Principles.

Method 2 – At the level of bhav (Spiritual emotion) : Sprinkle water on the Naivedya with two stalks of tulsi leaves as above, place one tulsi stalk on the Naivedya and offer the other at the feet of the Deity. Then, reciting the mantra ‘Pranaya Swaha…..’, offer the Naivedya to the Deity.

As a concluding part of worship, water should be poured over the hand into the tamhan thrice, to signify washing of hands and the mouth. A flower dipped in gandha should be offered to Shri Ganapati. Betel leaves with betel nut should be placed in front of the Deity and water poured over them. We should offer flowers and pay obeisance and then release water into the tamhan.

V. Abhishek : After the Purvapuja, abhishek is performed while reciting the Atharvashirsha or Brahmanaspatisukta. Water is sprinkled on the Idol either with a durva or a red flower.

W. Vastrarpan : Two pieces of red cloth should be offered.

X. Yadnyopavit : The sacred thread should be offered.

Y. Vilepan : Apply gandha with the ring finger.

Z. Akshatarpan : Offer akshata.

AA. Sindurarpan : Offer sindur (An orange powder).

AB. Anyaparimaldravya : Haldi (Turmeric powder), kumkum (Saffron), gulal (A red powder), bukka, Ashṭagandha etc. are offered.

AC. Pushpa : Offer red flowers.

AD. Angapuja : In this puja, offer either akshata or flowers to every part of Shri Ganapati’s body, from the feet to the head.

AE. Pushpapuja : In this puja, offer each type flower with its stalk facing the Deity, while pronouncing a specific Name.

AF. Patrapuja (Worship with leaves) : In this puja, offer each type of leaf unto the feet of the Idol while pronouncing a specific Name. ‘The following twenty-one types of leaves are offered to Shri Ganesh when performing His ritualistic worship – Madhumalati, maka, bel, white durva, badari, dhatura, tulsi, shami, aghada, bruhati, karvir, rui, arjunsadaḍa, Vishnukant, pomegranate, devadar, marubak, pipal, jai, kevada and agasti. In reality, tulsi leaves are never offered to Shri Ganapati except on the day of Shri Ganesh Chaturthi

AG. Nampuja : In this puja, dip durva in paste of red gandha and offer them one by one, while reciting each Name of Shri Ganapati.

AH. Dhoopdarshan : Wave frankincense and incense-sticks in a circular motion in front of the Idol.

AI. Deepdarshan : Wave the niranjan, in a circular motion.

AJ. Naivedya : Offer Naivedya in the same manner as described in the purvapuja.

AK. Tambul : Place betel leaves in front of the Deity and pour water over them.

AL. Dakshina : Place the monetary offerings on betel leaves along with the betel nut and pour water over it.

AM. Phalasamarpan : Place a coconut with its tip towards the Deity and pour water over it. If a coconut is not available, use a seasonal fruit. (The Shakti of the Deity enters from the pointed tip of the coconut.

Later, when devotees consume it as Prasad (Holy sacrament), they receive that Shakti.)

AN. Arati : Amidst singing of hymns, perform the Arati and ‘घालीन लोटांगण०’ should be recited.

AO. Paying obeisance and circumabulation : The worshipper should circumambulate himself thrice and then pay obeisance by prostrating before the Deity.

AP. Mantrapushpanjali : Offer flowers accompanied by recitation of mantra ‘Om Yadnyen Yadnyamayajanta…’ (‘ॐ यज्ञेन यज्ञमयजंत०…’).

AQ. Prayer : Offer prayers by reciting the mantra ‘Awahanam na janami….’, then take some water on the palm and release it into the tamhan.

AR. Obeisance offered by the devotees : Those present for the Arati and mantrapushpanjali (as well as those who come to pay obeisance at any time during the day), should offer flowers and durva to Shri Ganapati and prostrate before Him. The members of the family in the house should offer Prasad to them.

AS. Partaking of Tirth (Holy liquid) : Tirth should be partaken of after reciting the mantra ‘Akalamrutyuharanam ….’.

7. Madhyapujavidhi (Intermediate ritualistic worship)

        So long as the Idol of Shri Ganapati is there in the house, it should be ritualistically worshipped in the morning and evening in the normal way, excluding the consecration of the Idol. The worship should be concluded by performing Arati and mantrapushpanjali.

8. Comparative proportion of spiritual benefit gained

from various services, right from sculpting of the Idol to its immersion

        The benefits derived by those rendering various services, right from sculpting the Idol for Shri Ganesh Chaturthi to its immersion are given in the following table.

  Seva Proportion of benefit (%)
1 Sculpting of the Idol  
  A. Bringing the clay and mixing it 10
  B. Giving shape to the Idol 25
  C. Painting the Idol 5
  D. Giving a shape to the eyes of the Idol as if they are open 15
2 Bringing the Idol home and finally taking it to the site of immersion 11
3 Performing ritualistic worship, singing bhajans (Devotional songs) and Arati 8
4 Preparing food and offering Naivedya 21
5 Lighting frankincense and a lamp and keeping it burning continuously 5
  Total 100

From this table, the following points will be understood.

A. The proportion of the benefit derived by the maker of the Idol is maximum, which is 55%. However, this happens only if the bhav of the Idol maker is that of serving Shri Gaṇesh. Greater the commercial outlook while rendering this service, lesser will be the spiritual benefit from it.

B. In several families, the responsibility of bringing home the Gaṇesh Idol and taking it to the site of immersion is allotted to a hired person by paying him money. The table also illustrates how beneficial this service is if performed by oneself.

C. By performing ritualistic worship, Arati etc. only the mind is surrendered unto God’s feet; whereas by making the Idol, preparing the Naivedya etc. both, the body and mind are surrendered unto His feet. Hence, the benefit derived from these services is comparatively higher.

Reference : Sanatan Sanstha’s Holy text ‘Shri Ganapati’.