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Ganesh Chaturthi 19th September, 2012 - Wednesday

Vinayaka (Ganesha) drives away all sorrows, difficulties, and miseries. He is the enemy of all obstacles. He will not allow any obstacles to come in the way. He is the destroyer of obstacles. He confers happiness and peace (on his devotees). He is the master of all these powers (intellect (buddhi) and fulfillment (siddhi, self-realization). What is this siddhi? When there is purity of mind, you achieve peace (which is siddhi). Vinayaka is thus the Lord of the intellect and self-realization. Hence, every human being should acquire control over the mind ... .

Vinayaka is the Lord of all learning (vidya). Does learning mean bookish scholarship? No. Everything pertaining to the cosmos is included in the term learning (vidya). Walking, talking, laughing, sitting, eating, strolling, thinking --every kind of activity is related to learning. Vinayaka is the master of every kind of learning. Today, learning is identified with acquisition of information. But apart from knowledge of the physical world, we have many other kinds of knowledge, relating to chemistry, the fine arts and other skills.

Vinayaka is the master of every kind of knowledge. Learning is related to the intellect (buddhi). It is not mere scholarship. Familiarity with books is not knowledge. One's entire life is a continuous process of learning. Any process of inquiry is related to learning. But basically our inquiry should be concerned with finding out what is transient and what is permanent. This is true knowledge.

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapad. This festival marks the birthday of Lord Ganesh. Lord Ganesha or Ganpati is one of the most popular deities in the Hindu religion worshiped by both Shaivites and Vaishnavites. Even Buddhists and Jains have faith for Ganpati. He is considered to be an avatar of both Shiva and Vishnu.

On the occasion of the Ganpati festival, a large number of idols are made of clay or metal in all possible sizes; sometimes even up to twenty feet. ganesh_chaturthi.jpgPeople buy idols of Lord Ganesha and install them in their houses and worship the idol for one to ten days, after which the idols are taken out ceremoniously, through the streets of the town (especially in Maharashtra) and immersed into the river, sea or well. A cultural feast is held to coincide with Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra especially at Pune. Classical dance, music performances, poetry recitations, folk dances, theater and film festival are the main features of this festival.

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