Amritapuri, 2 September 2006

Hundreds of Ashramites, students, and villagers gathered in the courtyard in front of the Main Temple at four this afternoon to participate in the final celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi {news} – Ganesha Visarjan, or the immersion of Ganesh in the ocean.   On one side of the courtyard, the Ashram elephants Ram and Lakshmi stood adorned with regal ornaments.   On the other, were traditional South Indian musicians.  All around stood a huge crowd. And on the steps of the Main Temple was the statue of Ganesh.  All week long, the murti had been in front of the Kalari, where celebrations, pujas and nightly bhajans had been performed in honor of the Remover of Obstacles.

After a dance performance by children of Amma’s orphanage in Parippalli, and more rousing bhajans sung by Brahamacharis and students of Amrita University, Ganesh was lifted onto a decorated chariot.  As the chariot was slowly led out of the Ashram, a procession quickly formed.  Students, villagers, ashramites, musicians, dancers, all began walking towards the beach singing “Ganapati Bapa Moriya”.   The parade stretched for over 1/2 kilometer with Ram and Lakshmi bringing up the rear.  Every few meters found a different scene and a different bhajan.    Watching the procession pass by, one might hear, “Jay Jay Jay Gananayaka” sung by Ashramites and villagers merging into another group singing “Gam Ganapataye Namo Namah”.   The banging of drums would be followed by bhajans celebrating the Divine Mother.   All around, children were running, jumping, and singing at the top of their lungs.  Everyone was in a joyous mood.

Finally, the procession reached the ocean.   Erosion had created 6 ft high cliffs of sand between the rocky breakers and the surf.  As the crowd lined the top of the sand cliffs, everyone watched while Ganesh was brought to the ocean.   Five men then carried the statue out – past the waves, moving deeper and deeper until it was finally submerged.   Behind this ceremony lies profound symbolism.   It is to remind us that our physical existence is temporary – having its origins and dissolution in the Formless Absolute.   Just as Ganesh merges with the ocean, so do we seek to merge with the Ocean of Immortal Bliss.

The celebrations had now ended.  Ganesh bhajans still ringing in everyone’s ears, “Ganapati Bapa Moriya”

—sree

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Category : Ganesha Chaturthi
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