Jaya Guru Datta.
Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha. Ganapataye Namah.
Gam Ganapataye Namaha
Gam Ganapataye Namaha
Gam Ganapataye Namaha
Jaya Guru Datta
Sri Guru Datta
vighna dhvānta nivāraṇaikataraṇirvidhnāṭavīhavyavāṭ-
vighnōttuṅgagiriprabhēdanagari vighnābdhi kumbhod bhavāḥ |
vighnavyāḷakulasya matta garuḍō vighnābdhipañcānanāḥ
vighnaughaughaghanapracaṇḍapavanō vighnēśrvaraḥ pātunaḥ ||
We celebrate today as Vinaya Chaviti. We offer worship today to Lord Vinayaka, the remover of all obstacles. Today is said to be the day of birth of Lord Vinayaka. No one knows when Lord Vinayaka was born. Yet, in the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and in the various Puranas and stories, this fourth day of the lunar month of Bhādrapada was observed as the day. Hence, we follow the same tradition. When we hear the story of Lord Krishna’s experience and the Shamantaka gem too, we know this day is observed as Vinayaka Chaturthi. So, when was God born? God was born when we were born. We need to merge back into Him. God has no birth or death. But since the we foolish beings need to inculcate discipline in life, we follow the system set by the elders. It is a vow, it is a discipline, there are rules we should follow. Therefore, the festivals have been established on certain days of the year. We need to follow. We must strengthen our practice of worshiping God every day. Only then will life be happy and comfortable.
Ganapati festival is observed not just in India, but the world over. We carve the idol in various forms and decorate the Lord and worship him in diverse ways. In Japan, China, Thailand and other small islands, as well as in other continents, Lord Ganapati is worshiped. According to Yoga Shastra, Lord Ganapati bears the form of Omkara. Before we start writing on a board, we draw the trunk of the Lord and then the face and ears. When you turn this drawing sideways, it appears like Omkara. So the Lord is considered the form of Omkara, he is the form of Sound. Some worship Fire as Lord Ganapati, some worship water as Ganapati; some earth, or sky or air. There is nothing wrong with it. The Lord is each of the five elements. According to mantra shastra which has over one lakh, thirty thousand (130,000) hymns, devotees worship Ganapati in various forms according to their means today, with forms made of gold or silver or clay. The Lord indicates that He is the form of Nature when we offer worship with variegated leaves. The Lord is receiving our worship with the various leaves to indicate that we if we do not protect Nature, if we cut down trees, and unfairly allow deforestation to continue, it will cause droughts and famine.
Owing to the Covid pandemic, we are not celebrating the festival on a large scale. We are celebrating at home in our own small way with a clay or turmeric Ganapati for one, three or five days. This year, another new method is that while making the Ganapati idol, we are including seeds of vegetables and flowers in the earthen idols. So, when idol is immersed in water and mixed with earth later, we'll have vegetables and flowers grow from them. We observe this festival without causing any pollution and disruption to the environment. The Lord is also offered various kinds of Naivedya on this day, but He does not eat all that Naivedya. One of Ganapati's one thousand names praise him as one with beautiful form (sundarākārāya namaḥ). Children laugh wondering if Ganapati truly has a beautiful form with his massive ears, small eyes and a large belly. Undoubtedly, the Lord has a beautiful form.
As described in the Purana called Gokula Samhiti, Mother Parvati beheld the young Sri Krishna and with great joy prayed to the beautiful Lord Krishna that she be blessed with a child just like Lord Krishna. The Lord blessed her with the boon that he would Himself be born as her son. The Mother made the turmeric form and placed that from with her to guard the entrance to her place. Lord Krishna was born through that form. The boy was even more beautiful than Lord Krishna. You know the rest of the story. Lord Shiva was stopped at the entrance by the young boy. Shiva beheaded the boy. Mother Parvati who is the Universal Mother laments and weeps bitterly for her child. Then, Maha Vishnu, unable to bear her agony brings the head of a just dead elephant whose head was pointing north. He knew that the Mother’s anger would destroy all the worlds. He put that head on the boy's body. We talk of surgeries and transplants today but Lord Vishnu who is Dhanwantari himself attached the head of the elephant to the boy’s body. We should specially worship Lord Dhanwantari when we are suffering from illnesses. That will help us get better. Therefore, we praise the Lord as Vaidyo Narayano Hari. Lord Narayana is himself the greatest healer.
To prevent the Mother from getting angry, all the 333 crore Gods offer their powers to Lord Ganapati similar to what happened in Lord Hanuman’s story. That tender young Ganapati absorbed all the principles of the world within himself. The gigantic Lord rode the small mouse to indicate that we should be happy with what little we have. He is indicating that we should buy smaller cars instead of larger ones – it will make parking easy and will be easy to maneuver through traffic. Smaller cars are cheaper too. We struggle with big cars – they are difficult to navigate on smaller roads, harder to turn or park and easier to get into mishaps with. So, small cars are best, the Lord indicated. His small eyes indicate that one should not open their eyes wide to worldly attractions. The entire world is in His form. Ganapati's form is the most wonderful as described in Mudgala Purana. If you are fortunate, you will listen to Mudgala Purana. Try to do so.
Everyone observe the festival in your own homes. Follow the rules laid out by WHO (World Health Organization). You must always wear a mask. Look, my mask is always with me. Whatever you touch, wash your hands thoroughly. You may wonder what I am praying for on this special day. I am praying that life go back to normal, like it was three years ago. That life seems like heaven. We seem to be in hell now. Vedas predicted this pandemic. To get rid of corona, there are many Vedic mantras. So, I pray that this pandemic demon be gone soon, and we all try to be happy again.
We are starting laksha (100,000) modaka homa today. We are doing 20,000 each day for five days. This is the precursor for the koti (10 million) modaka homa which we will plan in in the future. Do not congregate in public for immersing the Ganapati idols in water bodies. Immerse the idols in water buckets in your home. Do not just place all the burden on Swamiji and mingle freely during this time. No one – not God, not doctors can protect you if you are reckless. We are not devotees like Prahlada or Dhruva or Meera or Maitreyi to leave everything to God. So, you must observe all caution. You have no such devotion. Your obeisance is a drama. Your devotion is drama. You cannot rest your mind on God for even five minutes. Your mind is always elsewhere. You are offering worship mechanically. You mind is elsewhere while offering Naivedyam even; you think eating the sanctified food (Prasadam) is the most important part of the worship. You must practice Bhakti (devotion). Bhakti is most important. That is why we are doing Bhagavad Gita all over the world as well, teaching it to the young and old.
Try to understand the meaning of the shlokas in your worship. That is when the Puja is fulfilled. Since we cannot have darshan of 108 idols of Ganapati during this time, chant his name 108 times at home during the worship. May the Lord remove all obstacles and bless you with health, peace, radiance wealth, prosperity, fame and all other goodness. I am now proceeding to the Modaka Homa.
Swamiji is also participating in the Homa. We are offering one lakh gold threads in the Homa as well.