Why Do We Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi?
Yoga Netri explains the significance and symbolism of this popular Indian festival, distilling the wisdom behind the ritual of visarjan (submerging the Ganesha idol) to make it relevant for today.
Ganesh is the symbol of intellectual activity. He is the one who wrote down the Mahabharata. Ganesh’s challenge for Vyasa – the sage who dictated the Mahabharata to him – was that Vyasa should not pause in his dictation. It was a test for the sage, whether what he was speaking was really a fountainhead of his being or something scholarly that he made up in his head. So Ganesh said, “I will write only if it is uninterrupted dictation. If you pause somewhere, once I keep my pen down, I will not write again.”
So sage Vyasa spoke uninterrupted. It went on for months on end. Ganesh wrote without missing a single word. He was the best stenographer you can have!
He is the symbol of human intellect. This is symbolically very appropriate because this is the nature of your intellect. You can use it to consciously imagine something. And dissolving him is the symbol that if you use your intellect right, you can dissolve the world. Once you dissolve the world with your imagination, dissolving the activity of your intellect, switching off the imagination is not a big problem.
You can obliterate the universe with your imagination. The universe will not exist in your experience if you create a powerful imagination. If imagination is consciously developed, turning it off is easy. Right now, bits and pieces of imagination are happening unconsciously and it looks like it is impossible to stop it. The entire Ganesh Chaturthi festival is symbolic of this.
Editor’s Note: Yoga Netri is a hatha Yoga studio in Austin, Tx started by Abhaya and Pippala Balaji in 2017, with a singular purpose - to offer the purest form of Classical Hatha Yoga. Our teachers are trained for 1,750 hours and have at least 3 years of experience teaching corporates, groups, children, patients, and adults.
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