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About Ganesh Chaturthi
go into the Katha itself we should understand the importance of symbolism in Sanatan Dharm.
Our rishis understood the power of katas and how they were extremely important in order to pass the invaluable teachings from one generation to the next. There are two types of texts in Sanatan Dharm- Shruti and Smriti.
Shruti is the texts spoken by God themselves and is translated to scriptures after being heard by the sages, e.g. Vedas and Upanishads. Smriti, however, is texts written down by Rishis based on their own experiences and memory, e.g Puranas, epics like Mahabharat and Ramayan.
This is the reason, why even after being invaded repeatedly and our scriptures and universities and temples
being destroyed brutally we survived and thrived as a community. Hence a lot of the times the Kathas that we read in Puranas are not merely documentation of historical events but there are a lot of hidden meanings behind each of them. There are many stories around the birth of Bhagwan Ganesh, but what is more important is understanding the symbolism behind them.
Here goes the most popular story: Once Devi Parvati wanted to take a bath and asked Nandi to guard the gates. When Shiva, came home Nandi being loyal to Shiva, let him in. This made Parvati realize that she wanted someone as loyal to Herself as Nandi is to Shiva. The next time she went for a bath, she took the turmeric paste off of her body and created a beautiful boy after breathing life into him. Parvati asked him to guard the gates.
When Shiva came home, the boy didn’t let his passes. Shiva tried to reason but the boy didn’t budge. At last, Shiva had to cut his head with his Trishul.
When Parvati saw this she got furious and demanded her son back threatening that she would otherwise end this
creation. Shiva on Brahma’s advice attached an elephant’s head to Ganesha’s body and brought him back to life. From then on, he started to be called Ganapati, the head of celestial beings. Now let’s try and understand the deeper meaning of this story.
Parvati as Adi Shakti resides in the human body as kundalini in the Mooldhara chakra. When we get rid of the impurities as depicted by taking a bath, that’s when we automatically allow God or Shiva to enlighten us. If we have an enlightened mind like that of Nandi, we recognize God and let him in. That’s why the Devi creates a jiva with earthly awareness to protect the divine secret from unripe minds. The boy created by Parvati represented the ignorant, egoistic Jiva who because of the effects of Maya couldn’t recognize Shiva.
Shiva being the universal Guru had to kill the ego, which is represented by the cutting of his head. When the ego dies, the liberated jiva loses interest in the physical world and begins to merge with the supreme. Shiva restoring the life of the boy, and replacing his head with an elephant means that before we can leave the body, Bhagawan first replaces our selfish ego with a universal ego.
This doesn’t mean that we become more egoistic. This means that we no longer identify with the limited individual self, but rather with the large universal self which is part of this universe or Brahm.