Rituals and their significance
commencing the ritualistic worship, rice (grain) is spread over
the seat on which the idol is to be installed. Either a fistful
or a mound of rice is used, depending on the local custom. On
invocation of Ganapati and His ritualistic worship, energy is
generated in the idol. This energy saturates the rice on which
the idol is placed. If there are two strings of a musical instrument
(a stringed musical instrument) of the same frequency, when
sound is generated by one the same is generated by the other.
Similarly, when frequencies of energy are generated in the rice
below the idol, this energy is transmitted to the rice stored
in the house. Thus one can eat rice saturated with energy as
a sacrament of food (prasad) throughout the year.
performing each of the following rituals a
particular mantra is recited.
water from the palm (achaman): This brings about
resolve (sankalpa): It may be difficult to obtain
the benefit of a ritual without making a resolve.
of the seat (asanshuddhi): This is brought about
by touching one's seat and offering obeisance (namaskar).
the Purushsukta (Purushsukta nyas): Amidst chanting
of the Purushsukta, the deity should be invoked in one's
heart, head, small portion of hair on the head (shikha),
face, eyes and between the eyebrows. This facilitates
an increase in the sattvik (sattva predominant) temperament.
of the pot (kalashpuja): All deities, seas, holy
rivers, etc., should be invoked in the pot. Sandalwood
paste (gandha), consecrated rice (akshata) and flowers
should be offered to the pot. This sattvik water
is then used in the ritualistic worship.
of the conch (shankhapuja): The conch should
be washed and filled with water. Then sandalwood paste
and white flowers should be offered to it. One should
not offer consecrated rice and tulsi leaves to it.
of the bell (ghantapuja): One should create sound
by ringing the bell to welcome the deities and drive off
the demons (asurs). The bell should be placed to one's
left and sandalwood paste, consecrated rice and flowers
should be offered to it.
of the lamp (dipapuja): Sandalwood paste and
flowers are offered to the lamp.
(pavitrikaran): The water from the conch should
be poured onto one's right palm and then sprinkled over
oneself and on the substances to be used in the ritualistic
of the entrance (dvarpuja): Flowers and consecrated
rice should be scattered in all four directions. This
itself is the worship of the guardian deities of the directions
of the idol (pranpratistha): One should place
the right hand over the heart of the idol of the deity
and chant a mantra. Consecration of an idol is done at
Ganesh chaturthi or to activate any new idol. This is
not included in the usual ritualistic worship, as due
to the regular worship the God principle has already been
attained by it.
(dhyan): One should chant 'Vakratunda mahakaya
suryakoti samaprabha Nirvighnam kurume deva sarva Karyeshu
(avadhan): Uttering 'Om sahastrashirsha Purushaha''
one should offer consecrated rice. The resolve is the
same as is made when giving an invitation for a thread
ceremony, wedding, etc.
seat (asan): Consecrated rice is offered to the
feet (padya): One should sprinkle water on the
idol's feet either with flowers or durva. This symbolizes
washing the deity's feet.
water (arghya): One should take an offering of
spoonful (pali) of water, mix sandalwood paste (gandha)
in it and sprinkle that water onto Ganapati's body using
a flower. This is akin to welcoming guests by sprinkling
water from the palm (achaman): Imagining that
the deity is sipping water from its palm, one should offer
water with the offering spoon to the deity, thrice.
for cleansing of the body (malapakarshsnan):
One should bathe the deity using the offering spoon.
with the five nectars (panchamrutsnan): First
bathe the idol with a mixture of milk, honey, curd, clarified
butter (ghee) and sugar that is panchamrut. Then bathe
it with a spoonful of water. One should offer water as
if God is sipping water (achman), thrice and finally offer
sandalwood paste, consecrated rice and flowers.
worship before the main worship (purvapuja):
After worship with sandalwood paste, consecrated rice
(akshata), flowers (red flowers for Ganapati), frankincense
and a lit lamp, the remaining panchamrut should be used
as an offering (naivedya). To make this offering, a mandal
(a circle) should be made by sprinkling water in front
of the idol. The panchamrut should then be placed on it.
(The mandal prevents energies other than those of deities
from manifesting there to partake of the offering.) Beginning
on the left, using a flower or a tulsi leaf one should
sprinkle water around the vessel containing the panchamrut.
Then closing the eyes and directing the odour of the offering
with the fingers towards the deity one should chant the
mantra related to the five vital energies 'Om pranaya
svaha, Om apanaya svaha, Om vyanaya svaha, Om udanaya
svaha, Om samanaya svaha, Om Brahmane svaha twice. This
means I offer to you O pran, apan, vyan, udan, saman and
Brahman. Both the times one should conclude the mantra
by sprinkling water around the vessel. Then uttering 'Neivedyamadhyepaniyam
Samparyami', meaning 'I offer this at Your feet', a little
water should be sprinkled on the offering. This further
enhances the sattva component in the offering. Thereafter,
to signify the washing of the hands and mouth, water should
be poured over the hand into a circular, shelving metal
dish (tamhan), thrice. A flower dipped in sandalwood paste
should be offered to Ganapati. Betel leaves should be
placed in front of the deity and water should be poured
over them. One should offer flowers and obeisance and
then release water into the circular, shelving metal dish.
by sprinkling with water (abhishek): After ritualistic
worship and before the main worship, consecration by sprinkling
with water, according to the Atharvashirisha or Brahmanspatisukta
is done. Water is sprinkled on the idol either with a
blade of sacred grass (durva) or a red flower.
cloth (vastrarpan) : Two red cloths should be
the sacred thread (yadnyopavit): The sacred thread
should be offered.
with sandalwood paste (vilepan): With the ring
(fourth) finger one should apply sandalwood paste.
consecrated rice (akshatarpan) : Consecrated
rice should be offered.
saffron coloured powder (sindurarpan): A saffron
coloured powder (sindur) should be offered.
fragrant substances (anya parimaldravya) : Turmeric,
vermilion (kumkum), red coloured powder (gulal), a powder
containing fragrant substances (bukka), asthagandha, etc.,
flowers (pushparpan) : Red flowers should be
offered. Offering tulsi to Ganapati is prohibited because
Ganapati mostly favours devotion with expectation (sakam
bhakti) while tulsi denotes detachment (vairagya). Thus
devotees of Ganapati would not even grow tulsi plants
in their compound unlike most Hindus.
worship of the entire body (angapuja) : Either
consecrated rice or flowers should be offered to every
part of Ganapati's body, from the feet to the head while
performing His ritualistic worship.
worship with other Names (namapuja) : While chanting
each Name, the durva should be dipped in red vermilion
paste and offered one by one.
with leaves (patrapuja) : With each offering
of a leaf of a different kind a specific Name should be
with flowers (pushpapuja) : Flowers of different
kinds with their stalks facing the deity, should be offered
while chanting a specific Name with each type of flower.
with frankincense (dhupadarshan) : Frankincense
and incense should be moved in a circular fashion in front
of the idol.
with a lit lamp (dipadarshan) : A lit metal lamp
(niranjan) should be moved in a circular fashion.
food (naivedya) : It should be offered in the
same way as described in ritualistic worship before the
main worship (purvapuja).
betel leaves along with betelnut, lime, cardamoms, etc.,
(tambul) : After placing betel leaves in front
of the deity, water should be poured over them.
money (dakshina) : The offering should be placed
on betel leaves and water should be poured over it.
fruit (phalasamarpan) : A coconut should be placed
with its tip pointing towards the deity and water should
be poured onto it. If a coconut is not available then
seasonal fruits should be used. [The energy from the deity
enters the pointed tip of the coconut, which is later
consumed by devotees as a sacrament (prasad). Thus, they
receive that energy.]
(prarthana): Chanting the mantra 'Avahanam na
janami.... one should pour water over the palm and release
it into the circular, shelving metal dish (tamhan).
of holy water (tirthaprashan) : Chanting the
mantra 'Akalmrutyuharanam….one should partake of the holy
lit lamps (arti): Amidst singing, lit lamps should
be moved in a circular fashion.
(prarthana): 'Surrendering at your feet ....'
should be recited.
flowers in the form of a mantra (mantrapushpanjali):
This offering is made in the form of a mantra 'Om yadnyena
offered by the devotees (darshanarthincha namaskar):
Those present for arti and mantrapushpanjali as well as
those who come to pay obeisance throughout the day, should
offer flowers and a sacred grass (durva) to Ganapati and
prostrate before Him. The members of the family where
the idol is being worshipped should offer them a sacrament
ritualistic worship (madhyapujavidhi)
As long as the idol of Ganapati is in the house, it
should be ritualistically worshipped as usual, in the
morning and evening. The worship should be concluded
with singing of artis and offering flowers reciting
concluding ritualistic worship (uttarpuja)
ritual: This ritualistic worship is to
be performed before the immersion of Ganapati.
The worship should be performed amidst the chanting
of specific mantras as follows:
Performing the aarti thereafter, flowers should
be offered along with the recitation of a mantra
(mantrapushpanjali). Everyone should offer consecrated
rice onto Ganapati's hand and move the idol with
the right hand.
water from the palm (achaman)
the resolve (sankalpa)
consecrated rice (akshatarpan)
turmeric and vermilion (haridrakumkumarpan)
sacred grass (durva - durvrpan)
the lamp and frankincense (dhupa-dipadarshan)
food (naivedya). (Variation: Turmeric
and vermilion are offered along with the
The aim of this ritualistic worship is to endow
the one performing it, with Ganesh frequencies.
In ritualistic worship of Ganesh, the concluding
ritualistic worship (uttarpuja) is the final step
in augmenting the frequencies. During the concluding
ritualistic worship all the pure particles (pavitrakas)
present in the idol are expelled suddenly. This
ritualistic worship is concluded by shifting the
idol from its place. Consequently all the pure
particles abandon the idol and the one performing
the worship can acquire them.
'In a temple of Lord Ganesh
the concluding ritualistic worship is performed
after the vowed ritualistic worship (mahapuja)
by one devotee is completed. Then the vowed ritualistic
worship by the next devotee is performed. This
concluding ritualistic worship has special significance
here. Ganapati should be bidden farewell (immersed)
with honor "with an invitation to return". Thus
the concluding ritualistic worship is important.'
the concluding ritualistic worship, the idol is immersed in
flowing water. When taking Ganapati for immersion one should
also give curd, puffed rice, coconut, modak, etc., as provision
for the journey. Beside the banks of the flowing water where
the idol is to be immersed, one should perform aarti once again
and then release the idol along with the provisions into the
water. After immersion it is customary to bring home the earth
from that place and to sprinkle it all over the house.
important point regarding immersion of Ganesh is that the divinity
induced in the mud idol by consecration cannot remain in it
beyond one day. This means that no matter when the Ganesh idol
is immersed, on the second day divinity from it is already lost.
Hence after performing the ritualistic worship of the idol of
any deity immersing it that very day is most appropriate in
all aspects. Even if one observing seclusion due to birth (soyar)
or death (sutak) in the family a priest should be made to perform
the vowed religious observance of Ganesh (Ganeshvrat). Similarly
immersion on the decided day without waiting for an event such
as a delivery, etc., in the family is correct according to the
a part of an idol breaks before consecrating it with divinity
or showering it with consecrated rice (akshata) to remove the
divinity from it before its consecration then it should be replaced
by another. If after the divinity is lost, a part of the idol
is damaged the idol should be immersed as usual. If the idol is
damaged after consecration, it should be immersed after showering
it with consecrated rice. If this occurs on Ganesh Chaturthi then
one should worship another idol. However, if it occurs on the
second or third day of Ganesh Chaturthi, there is no need to worship
a new idol. If the idol is damaged completely, then with the advice
of the family priest according to the opportune season, ' Adbhut
darshan shanti' a ritual for peace in the family should be performed.
If ill-omen like falling of a lit lamp, breaking of grinding stone,
sprouting of seeds of a cress tree, damage to an idol etc., are
observed, it indicates impending financial loss, a serious illness
or premature death in the family. Hence the above remedies should
be performed devotedly.
should one do if the idol gets damaged?
Science behind some special substances used
in the worship
of the objectives of ritualistic worship is to charge the idol
being worshipped with divine consciousness (chaitanya) so that
it helps one in making spiritual progress. In order to generate
that divine consciousness, the substance, which is offered to
that idol, has more ability to attract the most subtle pure
particles (pavitrakas) of that deity, from as far as the maha
region in comparision to other substances.
A sacred grass called durva has special importance in
the ritualistic worship of Ganapati.
and meaning: The word durva is derived
from duhu + avam Duhu means that which is far
away and avam means that which brings closer.
Durva is thus that which brings the distant pure
particles (pavitrakas) of Lord Ganesh, closer.
Durva offered to Ganapati should be tender. It
is called baltrunam. When it matures it becomes
merely a type of grass. The durva should have
leaflets in odd numbers 3, 5 or 7.
length: Formerly the idol used to be
about one metre in height. Hence the durva used
would have the length of a sacrificial fire stick
(samidha). If the idol has the height of a sacrificial
fire stick then shorter durva should be used.
However even if the idol is huge then the length
of durva used should not exceed that of the sacrificial
fire sticks. The durva are tied together just
like sacrificial fire sticks. This preserves their
fragrance for a longer duration. To keep it fresh
for a longer period it is kept soaked in water
and then offered. Both these factors attribute
towards preserving the pure particles of Ganapati
in the idol for a longer duration.
number: Durva is mostly offered in odd
numbers like 5, 7, 21, etc., as they are associated
with Energy (Shakti). This facilitates the entry
of larger amounts of energy into the idol. Usually
21 durva blades are offered. 21 according to numerology
is 2 + 1 = 3. According to numerology, Ganapati
is formed from number 3. Since number 3 represents
origin, sustenance and dissolution, due to its
energy it is possible to destroy the 360 frequencies.
If offered in even numbers then most of the 360
frequencies are attracted first and later the
108 frequencies. (Ravan used to offer 360 + 108
= 468 durva.)
method of offering: The entire body of
Ganapati excluding the face should be covered
with durva. This results in spread of the fragrance
of durva around the idol. Since the idol is covered
with durva this fragrance assumes the form of
Ganapati and facilitates the attraction of the
form of Ganapati's pure particles to this form.
This itself is called acquisition of a similar
form. In other words, it is activation of the
idol. The idol is consecrated (pranpratishta)
to prevent the pure particles, which have entered
it, from escaping. Also the pure particles remain
in greater quantities as long as the fragrance
persists. To retain them there the durva is changed
thrice in a day. Hence, ritualistic worship is
performed thrice a day.
leaves: The shami tree is the habitat of Agni
(the deity of fire). To retain their radiance the Pandavas
had kept their weapons in a hollow of this tree. The fire
created by friction is done with sticks of the shami tree.
(mandar) leaves: There is a difference between
the two trees milkweed (rui) and coral. The fruits of
the milkweed are colored while those of the coral are
white. Just as mercury is a chemical among medicines,
so also is the coral among trees.
substances: Ganapati's complexion is red. Red
cloth, flowers and red sandalwood (raktachandan) are used
in His worship. Due to the red color of these substances,
pure particles (pavitrakas) of Ganapati in the atmosphere
get attracted to the idol in greater quantities and help
its activation. Since it is difficult to understand this,
one is simply told that Ganapati loves red cloth, red
flowers and red sandalwood (raktachandan).