Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed God is the first God, is considered the first God. He is very revered in India as he is the epitome of wisdom and good luck and no auspicious work can be begun without chanting prayers to worship him. His elephant-head and small shrewd eyes symbolizes wisdom, his long ears and long nose cannot miss anything and his vehicle, the mouse reflects the fact that a wise man will give importance even to the most insignificant and small creatures and life forms.

The elephant head is a symbol of wisdom as elephants are considered to be very wise animals. Also, the symbolic philosophy is that of evolution – a mouse gradually becomes an elephant and then a man.

The myth behind Lord Ganesha’s birth:

In the ancient ages of the Gods, once Lord Shiva had left his wife, Goddess Parvati alone, she got scared of being alone and created a son, Ganesh with her divine powers and asked him to protect the house. When Lord Shiva came back, he stubbornly refused to let him enter the house as Parvati had gone to her bath and ordered that no one should enter.

An angry Shiva chopped off the boy’s head. When Parvati lamented over his mistake, Shiva ordered that the boy should be brought back to life with the head of the first creature that his army came across in the forest. Unfortunately, it was the head of an elephant and its head was cut off and Ganesha was brought to life.

To make up for his deformity, Lord Shiva bestowed the powers of a God on Ganesha and made it mandatory that no activity could begin without invoking his name and blessings. Since then, any inauguration of a house, a business or a building is not begun without Ganesh puja.

There is another myth surrounding him. In childhood, Ganesha was very fond of sweets and pudding. Once, when he was full of such sweets, a snake came up and scared his mouse at which his stomach burst and the sweets came out. However, Ganesha stuffed them back and tied the snake around his belly. The moon saw all this and laughed out loud, which annoyed Ganesha and he hurled one of his tusks at the moon and cursed that anyone who looks at the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi will earn disrepute and ill luck.

The Festival of Ganesh Chaturthi:

Ganesh Chaturthi is the birthday of Lord Ganesha and it falls on the 4th day of the fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September). All devoted Hindus celebrate this occasion in all parts of the world and milk and sweets are offered at homes and temples to the idols of Ganesh and Ganesh puja is performed. Small lamps are lighted and floated in the sacred rivers in the evening.

Everyone prays to Lord Ganesha to provide inner spiritual strength, wisdom and good luck so that they can attain good luck and prosperity in all their undertakings.

Source by Ford Walston