Good-byes make you think, they make you realize what you’ve had, what you’ve lost, and what you’ve taken for granted…
Ananth Chaturdashi Day
He has packed His bags and is ready to leave.
The streets are filled with devotees gyrating to songs of celebration and music. The air is suffused in vivacious chants of Ganpati Bappa Morya, Mangal Murti Morya! …Bappa Bappa Morya… Mangal Murti Morya!
11 days of festivity has today reached its pinnacle and it’s a big farewell party out there. Today is Anant chaturdashi or Ganpati Visarjan, the final day of Lord Ganesha’s journey on earth. Today, lacs of Ganesha idols will be immersed in lakes, ponds and rivers all over the city. Thousands of devotees are already out there ensuring that they give their Bappa a grand farewell. Making His way along with us is Ganesha, The Divine traveler, our friend who has today reached the final leg of His journey, better known as the Ganesh Visarjan.
Anant Chaturdashi is the most significant day for Ganesha Visarjan. Apart from Ganesha Visarjan, Anant Chaturdashi is very significant day to worship Lord Vishnu in Anant form. Devotees of Lord Vishnu observe a day long fast and tie sacred thread during Puja. It is believed that sacred thread protects devotees from all sorts of trouble.
Ganeshotsav or Ganesh-Utsav, which begins on Ganesha Chaturthi, culminates on Anant Chaturdashi. Hence Ganeshotsav is celebrated for 10 days in the month of Bhadrapada. The last day of festivity is known as Ganesha Visarjan. Ganesha Visarjan is also known as Vinayaka Nimajjanam in Telugu speaking regions.
On the eleventh day the statue of Lord Ganesha is immersed into water body, preferably in a river, lake or the sea. After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and sweets, the statues of Lord Ganesha are taken to the water body through the street procession with much fanfare. Thousands of devotees join the procession and fill the whole atmosphere with chanting of Lord Ganesha. “Ganapati Bappa Morya” and “Ganesh Maharaj Ki, Jai” are few of the famous slogans which are chanted throughout the procession.
In Mumbai, Ganesha Visarjan is performed under the guidance of Ganpati Mandals. The street procession is accompanied with Dhol, Tasha and the other traditional instruments. Ganesha Visarjan continues throughout the night till the next morning.
The Uttarpuja ritual is performed which is about bidding farewell to Ganesha with deep respect. This is followed by Ganpati Visarjan, a ceremony wherein the statue is now immersed in water. While carrying the statue to the sea and while immersing it, people generally chant in the Marathi language ‘Ganapati Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya!’ which means ‘Goodbye Lord, please come back next year!’.
While some devotees celebrate this festival at home, others pay their visit to Lord Ganesha at public pandals. People offer their due respect, prayers and offerings to Ganesha. Dishes like Lord Ganesha’s favourite Modak, Pooran Poli, and Karanji are prepared for friends, family and visitors.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on public movement, the Maharashtra government has issued guidelines regarding Ganeshotsav celebrations, saying that processions should not be taken out before immersing the idols of the deity. As a result, housing societies and sarvajanik pandals, was limited. The usual spirit and fervour of the festival was relatively low this year.
Every year, these final moments of visarjan are quite heart warming not only for those who have hosted Him in their house for the past few days but also for people like who have just been a part of the festival from the sidelines.
But these are also the moments that, highlight the real essence of the festival. Its in these final few moments that one can see the message He has wished to convey — The Message of love and detachment, of dissolution and creation, of bonding and separation, of patience and of moving on…
As the day gets darker and night falls over, we see the the streets are filled with the same enthusiasm and are still very much alive with all the party and celebrations.
Memories last forever, never do they die.
Friends stay together, never say goodbye.
See You Soon, Ganesha…