Monday, September 20, 2010

The Six Days Of Ganpati

The 11th morning dawned with mangalya, the air was filled with a purity only a soul can sense in a village messed up by heavy rains. Most of us woke up by 4.30 am and took turns in the single bathroom in the house to get cleansed for the sthapana of the Parthiv Ganpati. Parthiv means human or earthly, this is because the Ganpati visits us for a short stay and then he has to be sent off. The idol has to be perishable so that the lord can come back in a new form.

Our Vani family (our name in Thal) Ganpati stays with us from Chaturthi upto Gauri Visarjan. Depending on the thithi sometimes the lord resides at our home for 5 days or 6 days. This year the stay was for 6 days. It is always the most thrilling time of the year for us.

In Thal the Ganesh Chaturthi begins by chasing of the priest while the Lord who has taken his seat awaits the pooja. We fast untill the pooja is complete. It was 10.30 am and we were all decked up and still waiting for the pujari. Finally I lost it and told Sumeet that we should not wait for the pujari anymore. The Brahmin whom we respect most times if he is dutiful and scholarly do not deserve undue respect if they try to be larger than the lord himself. As was evident from his disappearance the Bhat was lured by a bigger dakshiNa/ fee.

Mothe baba suggested we call Nagesh Kaka, our only other second relative in the Patil family. He recites the Atharvashirshya from the booklet and guides in the pooja I was told. My Dad who is an expert in all types of poojas like Rudra, Atharvashirshya and even Purush sukta used to perform the poojas until some years ago  while we celebrated Ganpati in Mumbai but after Mothe Baba moved back to Thal  and the Ganpati celebrations, he stopped. Dad hates Thal in the rainy season so we ended up in crisis. I even suggested to Sumeet, a Parthiv sthapana over phone by Dad, who was sitting pretty in Mumbai. Finally we agreed to call N Kaka. Sumeet and Sapna did the pooja and I felt our family is blessed. In a long time I was witness to a pooja being done in the family by a young couple. It is a divine feeling of an all pervasive purity and fertility one senses in a home vibrant with chanting, colors of the powders, gulal, halad, kunku, abir! The sweet smell of the son chapha and other flowers. The final crowing glory of the the crimson hibiscus and fresh young greens of the durva and shami.

This followed by the aarti Sukhakarta Dukhaharta,  Yei ho Vithale Maze Mauli ye... and all the aartis we know closed by a Mantra pushpanjali and Ganpati Bappa Morya!! 

The Karpoor permeates the entire devghar overpowering all the sweet smells. Before the thirtha prasad are distributed everyone touches the elder's feet and takes blessings. Suddenly I realize that I am now taking on the mantle of a family elder. It's been a slow process and I never thought I will have to assume responsibilities this way. Yes since Sumeet and Sapna decided to get married I have been gently shoved into it. I was missing my Aai and Devaki Kaki a lot. I had always enjoyed all the festivals never realising that I might have to take on their place ever. Mothi Aai is almost retired out of this but does keep a check. Savitri Atya is a good consultant reminding me of my duties from time to time.

After the pooja we prepared a faral of Sabudana Khichadi, Kakdichi Koshimbir and Batatyachi bhaaji minus the shengdane in Shengdana Batata Bhaaji followed by large cups of ginger tea.

Once done with the potoba / pet pooja the women gathered around the Undre/ modak ingredients to shape them. I must accept I have lost my skill. I promise to practice and make divine ones next year. Yes but I helped make Mutke or rice flour empty turnovers. These are a staple whenever modak are made. They actually were desinged to use up leftover dough from the modak making but in our family it has the status of a special bread with which we enjoy a spicy coconuty gravy of Birda (sprouted) or fresh Val.

The naivedya Taat consisted of two steel plates shaped like banana leaves. One filled with 21 Undre/ Modak and the other with Varan, Bhaat, Val and Shektachya shinganchi bhaaji and Mutke. We broke our upvas with this Taat at dusk.

The evening aarti is performed after the fast breaking. This is an exception on the first day. On rest of the days the aarti is done after the naivedya is offered and before serving the meal. Each meal was unique with a different sweet dish for Naivedya each day all the way traditional, Gavhachi Kheer, Gulabjamun, Shevayanchi kheer and Talalele Modak!

The first day was very hectic with our entire clan coming over for darshan and also all our neighbors and wellwishers in the village. There are many people who do not consume even water till they do darshan of Ganpati in 5 different homes. When I was younger and without responsibilities I too would visit other homes. This year on the Chaturthi I was tired out and was not able to greet everyone visiting us. Sapna my SIL did that job wonderfully, she is still young and is the Karti of the home now.

Every single day we performed the pooja and morning and evening aarti for the Bappa. I as an elder prayed that my family be blessed. That Ganraya give us the strength to face adversities and bring with him prosperity.

I used to be dead tired at the end of the day and would go to bed at 11.30pm and wake up at 4.30 am everyday to check the oil lamp and agarbatti. Those days of a darshan at the early morning hour was the most powerful and humbling experience for me.

Ganpati Bappa Morya~!!  Ganpati Bappa Morya~ ~!!  Ganpati Bappa Morya~ ~ ~!!


  1. Thanks a lot for these divine posts Anjali.
    Yei ho Vithale Maze Mauli ye....has a typical rhythim to it.....
    I'd like to know the meaning of this aarti. Can you please help me?Thank you in advance.

  2. Sahiti yes may b I'll post it separately.

  3. Thanks Anjali, khup chaan description ahe! "Chasing the priest" hehe..
    When I did Satyanarayan pooja here, I felt the same way as you - no Aai around to take care of things while I only gorge on the prasad...everything was to be planned and executed by me, you grow up suddenly! S and S must feel grateful to have you..

  4. Sonia It must have been more tuff for you naa getting everything right! Yeah we do grow up all of a sudden. I too am lucky to have them doing this just to continue the tradition when they were given a choice not to.


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