How should children participate in Ganeshotsav ?

1. Do this during Ganeshotsav

A. Chant the Name of Shri Ganapati.

B. Offer Namaskar (obeisance) to Shri Ganapati in the right manner.

C. Sing Shri Ganapati’s Arti (A ritual of waving a lit lamp in front of a Deity and Saints, accompanied with singing of hymns) in the correct tune.

D. Sing bhajans (Devotional songs) of Shri Ganapati.

E. Sing patriotic songs.

F. Participate in Stotra competitions. (A ‘Stotra’ is a hymn of praise for a Deity)

G. Wear only traditional Bharatiya clothes during the festival.

H. If you see any denigrating picture of Shri Ganapati, approach the person concerned and see to it that the picture is removed.

2. Do this to acquire Shri Ganapati’s grace

A. Do not attend programmes or competitions based on singing of cinema songs.

B. Do not visit a place where the idol of Shri Ganapati is not made according to the  scriptures.

C. Do not play with gulal (A pink powder which attracts the Deity b ‘s Principle, used in ritualistic worship) or throw it on others.

D. Do not dance in front of the idol of Shri Ganapati.

E. Do not wear variegated clothes.

F. Do not burst fire-crackers.

G. Do not watch films that show Shri Ganapati in a distorted form.

3. Importance of Shri Ganapati in the life of students

         Friends, all of us are students. ‘Student’ means the one who always tries to learn. However, without the grace of Shri Ganapati, we shall not be able to grasp any knowledge. Shri Ganesh Chaturthi is a very important day in our life. Shri Ganapati is the one who gives us the intellect to grasp knowledge. Unless our intellect is sattvik (pure), knowledge cannot be comprehended; hence, let us try to seek a grace of Shri Ganapati. During Shri Ganeshotsav, the Ganesh tattva (principle) is active in a high degree and we must take full advantage of this.

         Let us learn the meaning of the various Names of Shri Ganapati which we normally pronounce.

3 A. Vighnaharta (Remover of obstacles):bvnently, He removes all our obstacles, as he is the destroyer of obstacles.

3 B. Vakratunda : Those students who follow wrong practices, like copying during the examination, troubling other students, using abusive language; that is, those who are ‘vakra’ (crooked) are taught a lesson by Shri Ganapati using His own methods.

3 C. Buddhidata (Giver of intellect) : Shri Ganapati gives us sattvik intellect that teaches us to think in the right direction. Good thoughts give us Bliss. So, let us pray to Shri Ganapati to provide us with such a pure intellect.

3 D. Vinayak : Shri Ganapati is a nayak, that is, a leader, of all. Leadership is a quality that is very important in students’ life. Let us imbibe this quality of leadership by acquiring Shri Ganapati’s grace.

3 E. Mangalmurti : By worshipping Mangalmurti, we become ‘mangal’. Mangal means sacred. A sacred person is the one who does not have any disorders. So, let us strive to eradicate our personality defects and ego. This will help us become pure and blissful. For that, let us say a prayer: ‘O Ganapati, bless me with energy and intellect to eradicate my personality defects and ego and make me mangal (sacred) like you.’

4. How to worship Shri Ganapati ?

4 A. Chant the Name of Shri Ganapati as much as possible : By chanting the Name of Shri Ganapati during the period of Ganeshotsav, we are benefitted by the Ganesh tattva (principle) that is active in a very great proportion during this period. This helps in increasing our concentration and grasping ability and removes any negative thoughts and fear from our minds.

4 B. Recite Sankatnashan Stotra 11 times daily : By reciting this stotra, we are benefitted by the Ganesh tattva which is more active during this period. This helps in removing all obstacles in studies.

4 C. Recite Atharvashirsha : Children, if there is Chaitanya (Divine consciousness) in our speech, our speech acquires sweetness. By reciting Atharvashirsha, our pronunciation becomes clear and our speech becomes sweeter. So we will recite it.

4 D. Pray as much as possible : The language we speak is called ‘nadbhasha’, that is, ‘Language of sound’. Compared to other Deities, Shri Ganapati understands our language better. Hence, pray as much as possible to Shri Ganapati in order to acquire His grace.

4 E. Acquire grace by performing ‘Manaspuja’: ‘Manaspuja’ means mental worship. We feel enthusiastic by doing manaspuja. There is no restriction of any kind for doing manaspuja. We can just close our eyes and offer clothes or eatables of our choice to Shri Ganapati. Thus, by doing manaspuja, we can remain in constant company of Shri Ganapati and enjoy Bliss.

5. Stop malpractices occurring during Ganeshotsav

5 A. Singing of Arti in the incorrect tune and in a loud voice : If Arti is sung in the incorrect tune and loudly, it deprives us of the Ganesh tattva and also, the energy created there is destroyed. Arti means, singing ardently, pleading to God. Therefore, let us stop this malpractice and get the blessings of Shri Ganapati by singing the Arti rhythmically, in the correct tune and with a pleading gesture.

5 B. Bursting fire-crackers : Bursting fire-crackers destroys the God’s Chaitanya  and it also causes atmospheric pollution. Hence, we must stop this malpractice of bursting fire-crackers in order to get blessings of Shri Ganapati.

5 C. Dancing to the tune of film songs : If you want to stage a dance programme during Shri Ganeshotsav, then it should be a programme of classical dance. It is inappropriate to dance to the tune of film songs in front of the Deity. Boycotting such competitions is in itself a kind of worship. Therefore, children, boycott such competitions.

5 D. Bizarre dancing by putting mask of Shri Ganapati : Dancing with Shri Ganapati’s mask on the face amounts to ridiculing the Deity. Remember, Shri Ganapati is not a toy.

5 E. Playing cards in front of Shri Ganapati : Nowadays some children play cards in the pandal of Shri Ganesh to remain awake during the festival. We must stop this malpractice. To remain awake, we should sing bhajans (devotional songs) of Shri Ganapati.

5 F. Singing Arti of Shri Ganapati or Ganapati songs based on ‘Remix’ : If you happen to notice this malpractice, confront the person concerned  immediately and ask him to stop it. Arti has to be sung with bhav (spiritual emotion), in its appropriate tune.

6. Avoid denigration of Shri Ganapati

6 A. Wearing a T-shirt with Shri Ganapti’s picture on it : Wherever there is Deity’s picture, there exists that Deity’s tattva (principle). Wearing a T-shirt with Shri Ganapati’s picture on it amounts to denigration of Shri Ganapati. While washing this T-shirt, we twist and turn it. We keep it anywhere. This amounts to ridiculing Shri Ganapati. Let us make our friends aware of this fact and avoid this type of denigration.

6 B. Drawing picture of Shri Ganapati in a distorted form: Nowadays, we see drawings of Shri Ganapati in a distorted form, under the name of ‘art’. Friends, it is a sin to draw Shri Ganapati in such distorted form. It is not an art. To draw Shri Ganapati in a cartoon form or any other distorted form amounts to ridiculing Shri Ganapati. Will we ever draw pictures of our parents or  loved ones in such distorted forms ? Shri Ganapati is our God, whom we worship with great love and faith. He gives us intellect. He will never bestow His grace upon us if we draw His distorted pictures.

6 C. Having Shri Ganapati’s picture on our writing pad : Nowadays, when children appear for any examination, they use a writing pad on which Shri Ganapati’s picture is stuck. This too is a type of denigration of the Deity.

6 D. Making Shri Ganapati from paper : Shri Ganapati’s idol is made from Shadu-mati (pipeclay), because that clay has the ability to grasp and retain the Shri Ganapati tattva. Therefore children, make or get an idol made of clay only.

         Children, let us acquire the grace of Shri Ganapati by putting an end to these malpractices during Shri Ganeshotsav.

-Mr. Rajendra Pavaskar Guruji, Panvel