Lord Ganesha was welcomed on Monday, not only with drumbeats and trumpets but more importantly with elaborate pujas and other religious rituals performed in temples to mark the elephant-god’s birthday. Several temples in Navi Mumbai conducted the puja, offering prayers and chants for the welfare of all.
Havan or Homam is a fire ritual performed in most of the temples wherein various items are offered to the lord using fire as the medium. The Balaji temple in Nerul gave people an opportunity to witness Ganpati puja conducted in the presence of Jayendra Saraswati, the presiding pontiff of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetha.
“It started with the Sahasra Modaka Havan where 1,000 modaks were offered to the lord. This was followed by abhishekam (ritual where libations are poured over the deity’s idol) to Lord Ganesha’s idol. Lastly, the Trishati Archana was conducted reciting 300 sacred names of the lord,” said NC Sukumar, trustee of the temple.
Praying for good health and prosperity, the rituals in most of the temples were performed by the head priests. In the Navagraha Vinayaka temple in Vashi, that is managed by the Vara Siddhi Vinayaka Seva Samaj, Ashtadravya Moolamantra Maha Ganapati Homam was performed by Venkatesa Ganapadigal, president of the managing committee as well as the head priest.
“Ashtadravya literally means eight types of items that are used to perform the homam; namely oil, ghee, milk, honey, lemon juice, sugarcane juice, coconut water and sandalwood. It is performed so as to acquire the eight fold wealth and prosperity mentioned in the Hindu shastras. This was followed by decorating the lord’s idol in sandalwood paste,” he said adding, “It has been three years since the temple’s establishment and we perform this homam during Ganesh Chaturthi.”
Most pujas started early in the morning as the procedures are elaborate, continuing well into the day. In the Swami Narayan temple in Vashi, the Maha Ganpati puja started at 5am.
Amreesh Bhagat, priest of the temple said that the two-and-a-half hour puja includes recital of various mantras and shlokas followed by an aarti. Secondly, Kathavartha was conducted i.e. singing the lord’s praise and his life story. This was followed by another Maha Niranjan aarti after which a variety of items were offered to the idol.
Most of these temples continue the rituals throughout the 10-day festival to give people the opportunity to be a part of them and get lord Ganesha’s blessings. In some temples, the last of the festival that is anant chaturdashi is considered to be important to perform religious pujas. The Chinmaya Mission in Kharghar will be conducting the Ganpati Atharvashirsha havan on September 18 in the Mahalakshmi temple premises.
“This the fourth year of this ritual wherein the Atharvashirsha chanting is done 108 times and various items are poured into the havan kund. It is done in order to attain good health, progress in the spiritual path and prosperity. This havan is also called Sahasravartan as hundreds of people participate in it,” said Gopalkrishna Mallya, president of Chinmaya Mission.