After ten days of excitement and enthusiasm of performing puja, aarati, enjoying delicious prasad in Ganesh Festival comes a day of Immersion... Anant Chaturdashi. The day when we take promise from our beloved bappa to come early next year.
People from Maharashtra are more emotional about all this process. Every year we came across many emotional posts, news coverages of grand processions in every city and also many articles about the significance of Visarjan which is the concluding rite of this ten day long festival of worshiping Lord Ganesh in all of its glorious forms.
This year I came across many memes on Facebook, twitter about all this fun of celebration like Pronouncing correct words in aarati, eating as many modak and pedha, all the drama happens while decorating and even how playing dhol tasha in front of Ganapati is now status symbol for youngsters, how we all are excited to manage all this celebrations and want to dance in Visarjan Mirvnuk. Social media is flooded with pictures and videos of cute little ones holding Ganpati bappa's idols made by themselves with clay and how they really can't understand why their favorite baapa is going back to his home on the day of Visarjan.
I feel that like our children we, specially youngsters also know very little about all these rituals in our festivals. We fully enjoy it and love to have fun and apply fresh ideas, feel excited and faithful also .But true meaning of all these worships is very scientific and have deep power to make our lives more meaningful.
I agree many of us are passionately working on how the celebrations can have more useful and harmless to nature and maintain sanity. This work is going on various levels in each field with the help of social awareness campaigns, media platforms, NGO's, Governmental initiatives to protect festival’s importance on social, economic and environmental aspects. Sarvajanik Ganpati Mandals are also organizing and offering more and more help to needy ones in society. But in general, all of these efforts will be more effective if only we the people try to understand true significance of these festivals.
To know about why we celebrate Ganesh festival and what actually visarjan means we need to go towards basics of worshiping gods in Sakar way... i.e., we worship Lord Ganapati in the form of idol. This Idol should be made using clay from river. As per descriptions in various scriptures and puranic texts any Murti, aakar or symbol can be made of any of the five elements (Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Ether) or a combination of them. There is a beautiful concept behind creating Ganapati Bappa's murti from clay. We often say we are made up of Mitti... Mitti or clay is mixture of all the living forms on the earth and it take thousands of years to form which we see it on upper layer of earth’s crust. So by making idol with clay we emphasize on theory of god is nothing but our own spirit. Secondly, in this way all the types of people get involved in this and made to work in team to sculpt idols..ie potters. Who make clay available from diverse organic sources and shape it..skilled artists to decorate it to give them most lovable form and list includes many. It brings together all the people from various communities. This is the actual purpose of festivals. Social and economic mixing of people is necessary to build strong society. On the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi when we perform puja of Ganapati idol we use Mantras to evoke the spirit of deity in it. Then on the tenth and final day of the festival (Anant Chaturdashi), the transitory embodiment of Ganesh is respectfully requested to depart (visarjan) and then the remaining depiction (now inert) is submersed into water. According to Puranic texts, the Goddess Parvati made sculpture using extra foliate of her skin .The story of Ganesh Janm analogous to creation of idols from clay. The Goddess Parvati represented as mother earth and the clay symbolizes her body’s exfoliate from which Ganapati was formed.
The word Visarjan originates from Sanskrit. In this universe we see process of creation and destruction and recreation is continuously going on and it is one of the very basic concept. As Modern science states energy can neither be created nor can be destroyed, it keeps on changing forms. We call this energy as spirit and evoke it in the form of Murti and then let go it to the original form. It also states another principal of this universe that .in this world only change is permanent. We also request bappa to come early next year and inspire us more because human mind is always eager to get involved in constructive and we are part of the universe's cycle.
We need to understand and learn these things to have peaceful life. We need to learn how to use our creative minds to mold and sculpt beautiful and powerful forms of its own spirits and the learn to get detached from it… to have control on our ego after doing it and let allow ourselves to change our rigid forms to get new forms. This is all about process of Visarjan is.
What we can do is keep this simple in all the levels. Socially I absolutely agree that we immensely love to enjoy large and mesmerizing Murtis of bappa, attractive and creative expression in decorations, breathtaking and awesome performances of Artists, the cheerful beats of dhol tasha and overall excitement but if we remember and follow the basic purpose of festivals we can very well enjoy this in limits of environment and social behaviors and do not harm any of them. On individual level we should try to be flexible about forms and perform rituals in mechanical way. We allow ourselves to experiment and grow in different ways like many of us making Murtis using harmless materials which do not pollute environment (Simple clay murtis get dissolved in water) and perform visarjan at home.
At spiritual level we can just pray with full of faith in front of any tiny idol of Ganpati Bappa or without worshiping idol in physical form try to do Nirakar Bhakti (Formless Worship), do our karma with honesty (Ganapati name also means leader who is strict and punish the ones who does wrong deeds), try to understand symbolic nature of bappa as per Ganesh stories and make changes inner personality according to it, apply it on our life and find all the sense of satisfaction of worship. After all it is all about our own spirit… our own Ganapati Bappa in our pure, creative and faithful minds!!
Ganapati Bappa Moraya !!