How does Ganesh Chaturthi celebrate the most important attributes of Hindu deitites?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ganesh Chaturthi celebrates the most important attributes of Hindu deities in a couple of ways.  The first would be that it is a celebration that welcomes the descent of the deity to the direct lives of the devotees.  Ganesh Chaturthi is more than honoring him.  Rather, it is a celebration of how he has come to the lives of his devotees, specifically to take away their misfortunes.  The deity is seen as a welcomed guest, more than anything else.  It is a celebration.  Yet, the approach of viewing the deity as not something external, but rather a force that enters the direct world of the devotee is reflective of how the festival celebrates an important aspect of all Hindu deities. The Gods and Godesses are not solely existent in an ethereal realm. They exist in the lives of the devotees.  This is seen in other festivals.  For example, in the Maha Lakshmi puja for Diwali, devotees will light lamps in their homes before they go to sleep.  The belief is that a home that has a light welcomes the Goddess Lakshmi to bless the home with prosperity.  If there is no light, the Goddess will not feel welcome and shall move to a house that has a light.  In this same realm, Ganesh Chaturthi does not simply celebrate Ganesh.  It welcomes him into the homes of the devotees.

The creation of idols of Ganesh to be submerged in water represents another important attribute of Hindu deities.  The celebration of Lord Ganesh concludes with taking the idol version of the deity to a body of water and submerging it.  The belief here is that Lord Ganesh has visited a devotee's home and on the final day of the celebration, he must go and take the misfortunes of the devotee with him.  The deity has visited the home of the devotee, and shared in food and music (modak is of vital importance here).  In the end, Ganesh leaves as his devotees call out their love of him for being such a positive force in their lives and taking all of their problems with him.  This is an important attribute of Hindu deities.  Hindu deities preach that individual devotees shall face little problem if they completely submit their will to the divine.  Lord Krishna preaches this to his most ardent devotee, Arjuna, who is told to submit his will and being to Lord Krishna and, in doing so, he shall be delivered from all challenges and pain. This becomes the metaphor for all devotees. Hindu deities specialize in asking devotees to shed their personal egos and submit to the will of the gods.  In these settings, the deity promises to not abandon the devotee, who has selflessly submitted their own personal will to the deity.  

Ganesh Chaturthi reflects this.  The devotee surrenders their will to Lord Ganesh.  In turn, he has promised that if the devotee does this with a pure heart, the basis of submission, all misfortunes will be alleviated.  In this, one sees how the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrates some of the most important attributes of Hindu deities.

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