Ganesh Festival in India
Beginning September 5, for 10 days, all over India, the Ganesha Festival is being celebrated. It is an amazing festival of devotion, colors, music and festivity. Especially in Maharashtra, it is celebrated with a lot of passion. Many people all over India bring a fresh statue of Ganesha into their homes or in a 'pandal (sort of a stage or a big tent), worship Him for 10 days, and then on the last day, immerse the statue in a nearby water body. 'The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha is the elephant-face Lord with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshiped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. In fact, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja. Ganesh’s blessings are often invoked at religious ceremonies as he is the one who can remove obstacles to success, particularly when people are starting a new business or enterprise. Ganesh is known as the giver of fortune and one who can help to avoid natural calamities, also the patron good of travelling. Ganesha's head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head is a sign of wisdom and its trunk is Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. Ganesha is identified with the Hindu mantra Aum, also spelled Om. The term oṃkārasvarūpa (Aum is his form), when identified with Ganesha, refers to the notion that he personifies the primal sound. Ganesha resides in the first chakra - the Muladhara: Ganesha holds, supports and guides all other chakras, thereby "governing the forces that propel the wheel of life". It is believed that when Lord Ganesha’s idols are immersed after ten days of puja, he carries away with him all the misfortunes of his devotees.