Monday, September 1, 2014

Ganesh Utsav at Ram Mandir in Auckland marks His birthday

Ganesh Utsav at Ram Mandir in Auckland marks His birthday

Thakur Ranjit Singh

Shri Ram Mandir Charitable Trust introduces Indo-Fijian Hindus to Ganesh Chaturthi, and celebration of birth of Lord Ganesh. All are invited to the festivities at Ram Mandir in Henderson on Saturday and Sunday 6th and 7th September, 2014.

Ganesh is widely worshiped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel
For Indo-Fijian Hindus, celebration of birthdays of deities come naturally, especially the elaborate ways of over a week celebration of Ram and Krishn. However, birthday of Lord Ganesh, which is marked during Ganesh Chaturthi has not been celebrated as elaborately as birth of Ram and Krishn. This may be because Ganesh Chaturthi is mostly widely celebrated in  Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Kerala and Chhattisgarh. In Fiji, the majority of Girmitiyas came from Indo- Gangetic plains, from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and nearby areas, hence it did not get that much prominence in Fiji. But things are changing with a globalised world and all are now getting an insight into birthday of Ganesh.

Ganesh Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday (rebirth) of Lord Ganesh, the son of Shiv and Parvati. It is believed that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival. It is the day when Ganesh was born. Ganesh is widely worshiped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel. The festival, also known as Vinayak Chaturthi ("festival of Ganesh") is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapad, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usually falls between 19 August and 20 September.

Baby Ganesh
During the festivity, there are traditions and rituals that people perform during the Ganesh Chaturthi Hindu festival. People begin preparing months in advance by making check lists, selecting eco-friendly idols, reading up yummy recipes and thinking of innovating decoration ideas to celebrate the festival on a grand scale. Hindus also follow the rituals in Bringing Home the Ganesh Idol, many of whom choose to perform the Ganesh Staphna (Installation of the Idol) by themselves including performing the Ganesh Visarjan (Immersion)

For the first time for Hindus in Henderson, Auckland, Shri Ram Mandir Charitable Trust (SRMCT) is organizing Ganesh Utsav at its (partly completed) Ram Mandir complex at 11 Brick Street, Henderson, Auckland. For the convenience of people, arrangements are made for a Samohik (combined) Pooja of 2 days.

This will be held on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 September, 2014. The programme begins on Saturday 6 at 7pm with Bhajans, Sthapna at 8pm, followed by cultural items at 8.45, rounding off with mahaprashad (dinner) at 9.30 pm.

Ram Mandir and Community Centre, as it will look after completion.
On Sunday 7th September, pooja is from 9-11am, with Sampuram Yagn at 11am, prasad and mahaprashad at 12pm and Visarjan at 1pm. This will be through a bus trip for devotees to take Ganesh murti for visarjan at sea. Devotees need to register for the bus trip.

For the first time, SRMCT is organizing this Samohik Pooja of multiple families, sitting in rows of 10, performing pooja collectively. For a contribution of $201, each family gets a reserved numbered pooja space, a 5 inch Ganesh Moorti, all pooja samagri for 2 days, singhasan and pooja vedi for families to take home.

Singhasan, Ganesh Murti and Pooja Vedi will belong to the devotees after Pooja

Each day, devotees will have to bring 21 laddoos, flowers, prashad, dubh grass and individual or combination of 108 items, comprising of almonds, cashew nuts, sultanas, mishri (candy), flowers or dubh grass.
Pradhan Acharya is Pundit Nand Lal Shastri and his assistant is Pundit Vishal Joshi. Booking is necessary and can be through Umesh (mobile 022 681 1763) or any Trustee.

Devotee families are urged to be part of this historic occasion where we all get together for a collective celebration and prayers. Do not be disappointed, register quickly as we have only hundred numbered and reserves spaces. For further information visit SRMCT’s website at www.shrirammandir.org.nz or contact the Executive Trustee Pravin Kumar at pravin_lotus@hotmail.com.

E-mail: thakurji@xtra.co


[About the author: Thakur Ranjit Singh is blogger at KIWI PUNDIT and FIJI PUNDIT, is a media commentator and Volunteer Media Liaison Officer for Ram Mandir Charitable Trust]