Ganeshotsav (part 2)

Ganpati Bappa Morya !!!

There’s been a festive look all over with the beginning of the Ten days Ganpati celebrations in Maharashtra.Lord Ganesha idols are brought home and families worship them, joined in by friends and families. Traditional meals are served on these days (simple and pure vegetarian fare) and a traditional sweet dumpling called ‘ modak’ is distributed.

Ganesha at our home
Ganesha at our home

Kids and me, have been doing the preparations from a few days for the Ganeshotsav. We painted the pieces, put them together and arranged the background and set up the place for the Ganpati pooja. We keep it simple by offering coconuts, fresh fruits, fresh flowers, garlands and sweets.

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how we prepared for the sthapna
We also applied some mehndi / henna on our hands. Ashita asked me to draw tattoo on her feet. I tried my best, I am not at all good, with shaky hands completed the task and made them happy and content. Here’s a glimpse.

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It’s always great to inculcate the importance of festivals to kids. I love when they want to know more. Ganesha also represents wisdom and symbolizes humanity. Here is a great post on the significance of Lord Ganesha’s idol. Amazingly this depicts that his creation is to tell humanity how to live happily in this world. Though the explanation has touch of spirituality but understanding its essence is not difficult. So this Ganesh Utsav, let’s try to be a Ganesha. Live life brightly being a Ganesha !!

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The Birth of KRISHNA (janamashtami)

Janamashtami is the day Krishna was born in a prison and the story is very fascinating. He is considered as an incarnation of Lord  Vishnu.  Krishna because of his playful antics, mischievous behavior and pranks is a very human and lovable God. We celebrated Krishna’s Birthday on 5th September. Here is a sneak peek of the festival as the kids were dressed as Radha and Krishna, with cousins.

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Ani wearing the paper crown of Krishna made at home.
As much I have read stories and heard spiritual believers about Lord Krishna, the mythology goes like this. The uniqueness of Krishna’s birth is that, not only did he choose His time and place of birth (exactly at midnight in a prison in Mathura) but also chose His parents. We don’t have that privilege. Even if the doctor may predict that we will be born on a certain date, the time or place can never be predicted. He even chose the complexion of his skin; that of a rain filled cloud. Again, we pretty much come color coordinated. He carefully pre-planned His arrival and made all the necessary arrangements for being carried to Gokul. Miraculously the prison cell doors opened wide, the guards fell into the deepest slumber.

decoration and celebration at the temple
decoration and celebration at the temple
decoration and celebration at the temple
decoration and celebration at the temple

The river Yamuna gave way to Vasudev so that he could easily cross the river, just like the Indian Ocean that gave way to Lord Rama. Ananta Shesha, the serpent, opened his hoods like a huge umbrella protecting them both from the torrential rains. These incidents did not happen by chance. Lord arranged for them to happen so. That is why His birth is not ordinary, rather extraordinary and special.

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cousins dressed as Krishna and Radha
cousins dressed as Krishna and Radha

And the reason we celebrate Janamashtami is that, just as Krishna appeared to kill Kansa and free the residents of Mathura from his atrocities, likewise, on Janamashtami, we must come together and pray for the Lord to appear in our heart and remove all the bad qualities and make us happy and joyful. Staying up till midnight,(even if you have school the next day) getting to dress like the Gopis or Krishna is a bonus 🙂

Sweetmeats ( barfi) made of  coconut and thickened milk, musk  melon seeds (meeng) and thickened milk or sweet balls ( ladoos) of Cholai and Jaggery are simply too good to miss. The reason for the annual cooking was dependent on the harvest time and availability, when we were kids.  Today our options of buying stored and packed farm produce is not seasonal in nature.

As kids we were told, “ Krishna is the most understanding as he stole the butter, he prevaricated on his answers and he played pranks. So if you have done anything wrong he will be the most understanding and forgiving.”  As a youngster this logic made absolute sense.