Chaturthi is celebrated on the Chaturthi, i.e., the fourth
day of Indian lunar month of Bhadrapada. It usually falls
in the month of September in the English calendar. Lord Ganesha,
the elephant-headed God is usually worshipped before commencing
any activity in order to remove obstacles and ensure success
of the endeavour. He is also the bestower of worldly intelligence
and spiritual wisdom.
The festival is usually celebrated for a
period for three days in Prasanthi Nilayam. On the first day,
the students sing devotional songs and Stotrams (hymns) and
present cultural programmes in the Divine Presence and Bhagawan
grants His discourse.
During the next two days, students and staff of Bhagawan’s
Institutions worship idols of Lord Ganesha in their respective
premises. On the third day of the festival, the idols are
brought to the Sai Kulwant Hall in a grand procession of colourful
and exquisitely designed chariots amidst chanting of hymns
and singing of Bhajans. After offering final worship and Arati,
it is customary to immerse in the idol in a nearby lake or
pond as it is the belief that Lord Ganesha takes with him
the troubles and the bad tendencies that act as obstacles
on the spiritual path.
“Vinayaka is the master of every kind
of knowledge. Learning is related to the intellect (buddhi).
It is not mere scholarship. Familiarity with books is not
knowledge. One's entire life is a continuous process of learning.
Any process of inquiry is related to learning. But basically
our inquiry should be concerned with finding out what is transient
and what is permanent. This is true knowledge.
- Sanathana Sarathi, October 1995
"The Vinayaka-principle has only one meaning,
which is relevant to everyone regardless of whether he is
a believer or a non-believer. Vinayaka means that he is his
own master, he has no master above him. He does not depend
on anyone. He is also called Ganapathi. This term means he
is the lord of the ganas - a class of divine entities. This
term also means that he is the master of the intellect and
power of discrimination in man. He possesses great intelligence
and knowledge. Such knowledge issues from a pure and sacred
mind. This knowledge leads to wisdom (vijnaana). Because he
is the master of intelligence (buddhi) and wisdom or realisation
(siddhi), he is described as the Lord of Buddhi and Siddhi.
Buddhi and Siddhi are referred to as the consorts of Vinayaka.
The mouse is the vehicle of Vinayaka. What
is the inner significance of the mouse? The mouse is considered
as the embodiment of the sense of smell. The mouse is a symbol
of the attachment to worldly tendencies (vasanas). It is well
known that if you want to catch a mouse, you place a strong-smelling
edible inside the mouse-trap. The mouse also symbolises the
darkness of night. The mouse can see well in the dark. As
Vinayaka's vehicle, the mouse signifies an object that leads
man from darkness to light. Thus, the Vinayaka-principle means
that which removes all the bad qualities, bad practices, and
bad thoughts in men and inculcates good qualities, good conduct
and good thoughts.
Another name for Vinayaka is Vigneshwara.
Eashwara is one who is endowed with every conceivable form
of wealth - riches, knowledge, health, bliss, beauty, etc.
Vigneshwara is the promoter of all these forms of wealth and
removes all obstacles to their enjoyment. He confers all these
forms of wealth on those who worship him. Vinayaka is described
as "the deity who should be worshipped first (prathama
vandita)". Since everyone in the world desires wealth
and prosperity, everyone offers the first place for worship
- Divine Discourse: 12 September 1991
"What is the inner significance of worshipping
the elephant-faced deity? The elephant is a symbol of might
and magnitude. The elephant's foot is larger than that of
any other animal. The elephant can make its way through the
densest jungle. In this way, it signifies the quality of a
leader who shows the way for others. The elephant is also
known for its faithfulness and gratitude. These are the lessons
man should learn from the elephant. Intelligence without gratitude
is valueless. Every man should be grateful to those who have
- Divine Discourse: 7 September 1997