New Delhi: A festival that ends on the tenth day after its start, where a divine idol of people's Ganesha, or Gajavadan, the one with an elephant head, or popularly known as Ganpati Bappa is placed in homes or public stages and later carried in a grand public procession with music and dance and group chanting, then immersed in a nearby body of water such as a river or sea; and known as Ganesha Chaturthi.
Ganesha Chaturthi is counted as one of the most energetic festivals throughout the year. This year the Ganesha Chaturthi falls on August 22, 2020. The festival celebrates arrival of Lord Ganesha to earth from Kailash Parvat with his mother Goddess Parvati. The lord's clay idols are privately in homes, or publicly on elaborate pandals. Thereafter the clay idol is immersed in water, which gets dissolved and Ganesha is then believed to return to Mount Kailash to Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva.
The idol of Ganpati Bappa is placed and worshipped according to an auspicious muhurta of Ganesh sthapana on Chaturthi tithi. This year timings for Chaturthi are:
Chaturthi date starts: August 21 at 11:02 pm.
Chaturthi date ends: August 22 at 7:56 pm.
Shubh Muhurta of Murti sthapana is 11:02pm on August 21, 2020.
Mid-day Ganesh Poojan Muhurta is 10:46 am to 1:57 pm on August 22.
About the festival
The festival celebrates Lord Ganesha as the God of new beginnings and the remover of obstacles as well as the god of wisdom and intelligence. On this day, it is believed one should not even by mistake look at the moon otherwise one definitely gets trapped with some false accusations. Even Lord Krishna, the one believed to be the Supreme lord had also seen the moon once, due to which he was falsely accused of theft. Later Narada Rishi informed about it to Shri Krishna.
Lord Krishna worshipped Ganesha and got rid of that charge. According to the legends, this happens because of Ganesha's curse given to the Moon god on the Chaturthi of Shuklapaksha of Bhadrapada. Puranas have also given a mantra for freedom from accusation if someone mistakenly falls his eye on the moon. Chanting this mantra frees from blames and accusations in case someone spots the moon on Chaturthi night.
सिंह: प्रसेन मण्वधीत्सिंहो जाम्बवता हत:।
सुकुमार मा रोदीस्तव ह्येष: स्यमन्तक:।।
The effect of this mantra does not lets you fall to stigma. A person who gets caught in a false accusation, this, can get rid of the accusation by chanting this mantra. If chanting is not possible for one, then worshipping and fasting for lord Ganesha can be fruitful.
Lord Ganesha's curse of accusation (kalank; कलंक) also gives another name to the day which is ‘Kalanki Chaturthi’. But what were the deeds of the Moon god which made him cursed for an infinite time since history?
Let's get to know the story behind:
Ganesha and the Moon
In Indian mythological stories, the first revered deity Ganpati or Ganesha is very famous for his wisdom, strength and passion as well as his love of food. As per the physique description of lord Ganesha in history, it is clear he likes to have delicious food in plenty.
Lord Ganesha was placed as Gaja, so was called Gajavadan. Also, in a game of who would be the first to revolve around the earth and come back, Ganesha being intelligent, revolved around his parents Shiva and Parvati saying that his mother and father are equal to this earth and he was the first to revolve around the Earth. All the gods praised him then but the moon kept smiling secretly. The Moon god was proud of his beauty.
Laddu and modak are considered Lord Ganesha's favorite food items. Due to this food, an incident occurred in Ganpati's life, which left the moon cursed. On the night of Ganesh Chaturthi which was also the birth night of of Ganesh ji, he ate his favorite dishes in full. He consumed more until he was plump and went out to roam on his vehicle Mooshakraj (a rat) to digest food. First, Ganpati ji was already heavy and second, he seemed to be heavier as of his consumption that day.
The little Mooshakraj put his full power and tried hard to keep his them close. In no time, his balance deteriorated. Ganapati also came crashing down in the field as Mooshakraj slipped. Even though, no one had seen Ganpati falling, except for moon of Chaturthi that was shining in the sky. Seeing Ganpati fall having such a big stomach, Moon could not stop laughing out loud.
Ganapati was similarly ashamed and angry with the fall, but the laughter of the moon elevated the flames. Ganpati ji got up in anger knowing that the Moon ridiculed him arrogantly and immediately cursed the moon that any person who would see the moon of Chaturthi would be a part of the negative claims onto himself. Also, cursed him of turning dark.
Moon then realized his mistake. When he apologized, Ganesha said that with the light of the sun you will gradually regain your form, but today, Bhadrapad Shukla Chaturthi, will always be remembered for this punishment. Anyone who sees you today will be falsely accused of theft or anything. On Shukla Chaturthi of Bhadrapada month, thus, is not suitable for seeing the moon (chandra darshan).