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Ganesh Chaturthi brings thousands of worshippers together in Brisbane
Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival celebrated with great pomp and splendour in the western and southern states of India including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Historically the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi witnessed a significant resurgence in Maharasthra due to the efforts of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak who mobilised massive public support to unite people against the colonial British rule as part of the freedom struggle.
In modern India, the festival is still celebrated with enthusiasm as it heralds a festive season which includes Deepawali and Dusherra.
In September, the Selva Vinayaka Temple in South McLean organised the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations which were attended by thousands of people from all over Brisbane.
The early morning rain and cloudy overcast sky did not dampen the spirits of the multitude of people who assembled to welcome the birth of Lord Ganesha.
Ganesha is revered as the God of wisdom and prosperity in Indian culture and according to Hindu mythology is considered the elder son of Shiva and Parvati.
His favourite food is the modak (sweet known as laddoo) and the mooshak (mouse) is his vehicle.
Lord Ganesha is considered very auspicious as he is also known as a remover of all obstacles and in the Indian culture new ventures are usually started with a prayer to Lord Ganesha.
The Ganesh Chaturthi ceremony started with vedic rituals, known as Sankalpam, Kumbha Puja and Homam, in the afternoon.
This was followed by Maha Poornahuthi and Abhisekham and prayers were offered in the renovated main chamber which houses the Ganesha idol.
The main hall was packed with devotees; it presented a visual delight with arrays of lights in the roof shining brightly on a brilliant panorama of carved deities depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.
The highlight of the evening was the procession of the Ganesha idol around the temple in a chariot which was pulled by all the devotees present.
The temple walls resounded with sacred Vedic hymns and the sounds of musical instruments such as the mridangam (drum) and trumpets added to the vibrant atmosphere.
The spectacular event culminated in a delicious feast which was prepared by volunteers and served with friendly smiles to all the devotees.
Despite the huge turnout, everything went smoothly and a credit goes to the organisers and volunteers who took care of traffic control, parking, information and distribution of food at the event.
“Selva Vinayaka Templeserves as a centre for various cultural and educational activities,” President of the Hindu Ahalya Sangam Queensland Inc, Mr Ratnam Wimalchandran, told Indian Link.
Religious classes, music and dance programs for children are organised on a regular basis.
Devotees are addressed by scholars and religious leaders on special occasions and library facilities are present near the entrance to the hall.
Hindu Ahalya Sangam Queensland Inc also provides relief and support for people affected by disasters all over the world.
This is an example of how multicultural organisations can reach out not just to the local community, but to the entire worldwide family.
According to Hindu philosophy, temple worship is one of the four stages of reaching God. Hinduism preaches that God is within ourselves and we have to find peace with ourselves.
To find God in ourselves the environment must be conducive and as a saying goes:
“If there is righteousness in the heart there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in character there will be harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home there will be order in the nation. When there is order in the nation peace will prevail in the world.”
Typically Ganesha Utsav lasts for ten days and, in many Indian states, on the eleventh day the idol is submerged in a river or a sea.
The day when the Ganesha idol is submerged is called Anant Ekadashi and 27 September marked the end of the resplendent celebration in Brisbane and many other parts of the world.