Important places in life where the Ganesha presence is required:
It is a common practice to offer prayers to Ganesha before starting anything new or important as it is believed to bring in blessings, luck, wisdom, success and wealth. As the belief is strong that he removes obstacles and liberates one from desires, amongst all the Gods in the Hindu pantheon, Ganesha is given prime importance.
Whenever prayers are rendered, hymns and verses in Ganesha’s praise are said first. Even on special festivals for other Gods, Ganesha is worshipped first before that God. Any important occasion – be it a child’s first birthday, a new business venture, entry into a new house, a wedding , everything is started with a prayer to Ganesha. A devout Hindu believes that any task started after invoking Ganesha is bound to succeed.
In most Hindu temples, at the entrance, there is a sanctum exclusively for Ganesha. Devotees first offer their prayers to him and then go on to offer prayers to the main deity of the temple. Also one of the important traditions of Hindus is to put a small Ganesha idol or a painting above the main entrance to their homes, to ward off the evil and only allow the good to come in.
Most Hindu wedding invitations have Ganesha’s image on them – as a small one on the envelope or as the main theme of the card itself. This combines the auspicious aspect with the decorative, thus the concept of Ganesha takes on many looks, from a simple printed icon in gold or silver to a plastic moulded element or even a highly decorated, jewel encrusted one.
Ganesha Puja (prayer to Ganesha) is performed a few days before the wedding day or the previous evening, to give the proceedings an auspicious start. Also during the Hindu wedding ceremony itself, the priest starts by invoking Lord Ganesha. This is done so that the wedding ceremony can go on without any obstacles, and also to confer Ganesha’s blessings for a long and happy married life.
The festival of lights, Diwali which is an important Hindu festival, is celebrated to mark the triumph of good over evil. Lord Ganesha, the Master of Wisdom, is worshipped during this festival, along with Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity. The Ganesha idol is placed on the right-hand side of Goddess Lakshmi and it is believed that the combined strength of both these deities will bless the devotees with maximum benefits.
Ganesha is a lucky mascot for a lot of Hindus. His image is used by many people as a lucky charm in their cars, on key chains and much more. Everyone has Lord Ganesha in their homes – as idols at the altar/ puja space, as figurines on display, as paintings, as wall hangings, and in many more colourful ways.