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Nritya Sangam : an Ode to Indian Dances

India is a land of traditions and cultures. She has preserved established traditions while absorbing new customs. Indian classical dance forms are one such element of her culture.
Natraj

Indian dance has diverse folk and classical dance forms. Bharatanatyam from Tamil Nadu, Kathak from Northern India, Kathakali & Mohiniyattam from Kerala, Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh, Odissi from Odisha, Sattriya from Assam, Manipuri, from Manipur, are some of the better known classical dance forms. These showcase mythological & local narrative forms.

 

On Sunday 16 July 2017, GHS in association with Abhinanadana Dance Academy celebrated the rich tradition of Indian Classical Dance forms.

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The graceful dance of North India ‘Kathak’ was performed by BBC Yonge Dancer finalist Ms. Vidya Patel.

Vidya comes from Birmingham, where she participated in classical Indian dance styles from an early age with the support of her parents and two older sisters Kathak is one of the most charismatic dance forms of India.

Her Kathak performances revolve around stories of Lord Krishna. She mesmerised the audience with her spectacular footwork and amazing spins.

Vidya

 

Another treat to the eyes was Kuchipudi Dance performance by Ms. Abhinandana Kodaanda. Kuchipudi Dance form is a long-established dance-drama style.

Abhinandana has played a major role in developing young people in Classical Dancing through her dance academy in Preston.

She performed a story of Lord Krishna’s childhood, as well as her ever popular Thali Dance. (Dancing on a metal plate). Her students also showcased their talent on the stage.

Abhi

 

The show was very well received and enjoyed by people of Preston, It was an overwhelming experience for the parents of young dancers to see their daughters flourish.

 

 

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This show was a testimony to GHS’ commitment to preserve traditions and introduce them to a global audience.


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Know More About South Meadow Lane Community Project – GUJARAT HINDU SOCIETY, Preston

Category : Activities

A CASE STUDY

Background

Gujarat Hindu Society is a registered charity, established in 1965. They have a membership of 600 Hindu families residing in the Preston and district. The Society bought an old school in 1974 for the purpose of socialising and creating a place of worship. The building was bought for £17,500 with £900 in the bank. A bank loan was obtained with the help of security given by the trustees.

The official opening took place in August 1975 and the centre became a focal point for the Hindu community both locally and nationally. Within two years, the bank loan was repaid. Plans were put in place to build an extension for the provision of teaching of Gujarati Language. In 1981, HRH Prince of Wales officially opened the Gita Hall.

HRH Prince_1981

The centre continued to provide various activities functioned by the committee members and volunteers. The youth initiated and hosted Youth Festival for three consecutive years.

In 1988 with the co-operation of all other Hindu organisations in the North West the Society organised the first Ramayana recital by Pujya Morari Bapu, a renowned and revered high priest. The nine day programme attracted 8000 devotees and accommodated 2500 in Preston. The event raised £108,000 net for the water relief programme in remote villages in India. The Society actively organises events and have raised and distributed £10,000 to local charities.

Yr_1975

In 1992 when unemployment was rising the Society made a decision to tackle this issue by making an application to Home Office under the section 11 Ethnic Minority Grant. This was the beginning of the new phase and in its core activities and established the Gujarat Training and Resource Centre, providing adult guidance and customised training. The project with support from the then Lancashire Area West Training and Enterprise Council, has helped many members from the community, from all cultural background, to obtain employment, receive guidance and support towards further and higher education and enterprise opportunities.Yr_1992

As activities and provision augmented, the Society created a vision to expand the accommodation to meet these needs. In 1995 a feasibility study was conducted and ventured to redevelop the whole Centre and provide a new purpose-build facility for the new millennium. The Management had a vision of creating a Centre of Excellence to promote the Hindu culture, provide recreational, leisure and healthy lifestyle facilities together with temple for the Hindu community of Preston and District.

At the end of 1996 Enterprise plc was appointed as consultants to submit an application to the millennium Commission for a capitol grant towards the redevelopment of the new Centre. The application was successful and a grant of £1.64 million was awarded towards the total project cost of £3.28 million. The project commenced on 23rd March 1998 and was completed on 22nd November 1999. During the redevelopment phase the office and activities transferred to a site on 48 West Cliff purchased by the Society. The Centre was officially opened on 4th December 1999.Yr_1998-1

From the beginning to the end of the redevelopment stages, auspicious religious ceremonies such as land purification, stone laying and inauguration were performed keeping within the conformity and principles of Vaastu Shashtra to provide mental and spiritual peace, prosperity and progress for the users of the Centre.

The complex covers 24,500 square feet floor space. A purpose built temple features carved and sculptured Shikhar (spire), Gopuram (dome) and pillars in marble and pink stone. The main multi-purpose hall with a capacity to seat 800 is used for conferences, weddings and other events. On the first floor, the Centre offers a range of meeting / training rooms varying in size from 200 sq. ft. to 400 sq.ft. One of the room contains a tailored ICT suite with 18 computers. A dedicated PA control room provides sound and media facilities. A large customised kitchen provides catering facilities during major functions.

The Society, with a management committee of 15 volunteers who manages the day to day management of the Centre is supported by  a full time manager, a care taker and two part time administrative staff.

The key to fulfilling the vision and attaining a Centre of Excellence, the success of the South Meadow Lane Community Centre / Temple project was a combination of dedication, commitment and professionalism of the voluntary committee members, the Hindu community and the support from the local agencies, operating within the constraints and issues of a voluntary and charitable status. Jay Shree Krishna..


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Guest Blog by Mrs. Prasanna Kabade, London

Category : Uncategorised

Mrs. Prasanna Kabade contacted us after visiting GHS website, blogs and provided some valuable feedback. She is currently doing her masters in Sanskrit language and was involved in teaching from last 7 to 8 years. She is practising mediation and reads lot of material on spirituality. From GHS committee we would like to appreciate her efforts and time she invested in visiting GHS website; writing this guest blog. Thank you.

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“Hinduism is not a religion and it’s a way of living for human kind” – GHS Preston Lancashire.

Gujarat Hindu Society – Preston has done a studious job of getting the best aspects of Hinduism by detailing the ways of celebration, festivals and the presentation of “Bhagavad Gita” core aspect of Hinduism.

The true spirits of prayers, religious aspects are put forth by idolism and it’s belief in true sense. While reading the blogs about religions, festivals and celebrations one can understand how well it is studied to put forth for everyone in society to gain understanding and based on that it’s knowledge towards the aspect of livings. All Hindu festivals are trade mark of unity & togetherness. They have philosophical, psychological and scientific values which sparks in the mind while reading. In it arises more curiosity to study and understand the values towards it. Those who know will go more deep to understand but those who are new and have slight knowledge towards these aspects are sure to make an aim to understand in depth what Hinduism is !!

While exploring more we get to know what makes it so special to be celebrated with its significance and meaning. Another special aspect which is clearly made understood in this blog is why, when, and how to celebrate by including the tithes, i.e. dates and days as per the Hindu calendar. This clears the doubts and makes it more easy to understand the logic of Hindu ‘panchang’. The aspect of worship through the pictorial form is depicted. This pictorial form is easy to understand by getting to know what message delivered ( Lingam).

The most and very most pillar of Hinduism, the essence which will remain everlasting and that is “Bhagavad Gita”

“Bhagavad Gita” is said to be understood the way one reads. Everyone understands Gita different, no matter what you understand, the derived meaning in its core essence is universal. It is the only holy book which holds that power of not making you understand, but the reader understands the way he thinks. His thinking and thoughts are actually owned by that supreme lord.  This sounds mysterious, but it’s the fact. The efforts taken by GHS are clearly reflected while explaining more about Gita. The verses of Gita are explained very clearly and correctly without losing its original meaning for a layman to understand.

While highlighting and keeping the roots of Hinduism GHS has a social forum for the society for conducting various social events, programs which are organised for young to old. These programs and various activities are linked which are part of the festival.e.g. for this would be Kite making, Holi, Ganesh Utsav etc.  While doing this and running all these programs and having detailed workout with different activities GHS has also shown how keenly they celebrate their Independence Day though being away from their motherland. While engaging in the social cause of sponsored walks and cultural events they are raising funds for helping the local hospice and needy.

Gujarat Hindu society – Preston is a real example representing their culture, values, good work for society, a humanitarian cause and well being of society for more than a decade. A very prideful and appreciative work.

I wish them all the best for their future endeavors and more to this, which will reach to maximum people and help the society.

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Celebrate Festival of Colours – Holi

Category : Activities , Religious

One of the most popular festivals in India is the Holi Festival; held every year on the day of the full moon in the Hindu calendar month of Phalgun (March). Also known as the Spring Festival, Holi marks the end of the cooler winter months and the beginning of spring, a celebrated season as it brings warmer days, new produce, love and joy. Like many other festivals in India, Holi also signifies a victory of good over evil. As per ancient mythology, there is a legend of King Hiranyakashipu with who Holi is associated.

holi-fire

 

History of Holi

Hiranyakashipu was a king in ancient India who was like a demon. He wanted to take revenge for the death of his younger brother who was killed by Lord Vishnu. So to gain power, the king prayed for years. He was finally granted a boon. But with this Hiranyakashipu started considering himself God and asked his people to worship him like God. The cruel king has a young son named Prahalad, who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Prahalad had never obeyed his father’s order and kept on worshiping Lord Vishnu. The King was so hard hearted and decided to kill his own son, because he refused to worship him. He asked his sister ‘Holika’, who was immune to fire, to sit on a pyre of fire with Prahalad in her lap. Their plan was to burn Prahalad. But their plan did not go through as Prahalad who was reciting the name of Lord Vishnu throughout was safe, but Holika got burnt to ashes. The defeat of Holika signifies the burning of all that is bad. After this, Lord Vishnu killed Hiranyakashipu. But it is actually the death of Holika that is associated with Holi. Because of this, a pyre in the form of bonfire is lit on the day before Holi day to remember the death of evil.

But how did Holi_kele_nanda_lalacolours become part of Holi? This dates back to the period of Lord Krishna (reincarnation of Lord Vishnu) . It is believed that Lord Krishna used to celebrate Holi with colours and hence popularized the same. He used to play Holi with his friends at Vrindavan and Gokul. They used to play pranks all across the village and thus made this a community event. That is why till date Holi celebrations at Vrindavan are unmatched.

Holi is a spring festival to say goodbye to winters. In some parts the celebrations are also associated with spring harvest. Farmers after seeing their stores being refilled with new crops celebrate Holi as a part of their happiness. Because of this, Holi is also known as ‘Vasant Mahotsava’ and ‘Kama Mahotsava’.

Celebrate with colours

Great excitement can be seen in people on the next day when it is actually the time for the play of colours. Shops and offices remain closed for the day and people get all the time to get crazy and whacky. Bright colours of gulal and abeer fill the air and people take turns in pouring colour water over each other.

Children take sholi-colourspecial delight in spraying colours on one another with their pichkaris and throwing water balloons. Women and senior citizen form groups called tolis and move in colonies – applying colours and exchanging greetings. Songs, dance on the rhythm of dholak and mouthwatering Holi delicacies are the other highlights of the day. Parties are often organized where people dance to music and greet each other with colors.

The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships.
Some families hold religious ceremonies, but for many Holi is more a time for fun than religious observance. After a fun filled and exciting day, they spent the evening in sobriety when people meet friends and relatives and exchange sweets and festive greetings.

 

Holi festival may be Holi1celebrated with various names and people of different states might be following different traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated.

Come and celebrate Holi and colours at Gujarat Hindu Society this year on March 12 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. http://www.ghspreston.co.uk/calendar/hutashani-holi/

 


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Divine Maha Shivratri- All you need to know

Category : Religious

Bhagwan Shiva is known as the ascetic god, yet Mahashivratri is celebrated to seek blessings for a happy and prosperous conjugal life. He was a minimalist, yet his worshippers request and love him for the generous boons he showers. He is known for his wisdom but funnily enough, regarded as the innocent god (Bholenath)- such is the glory of God Shiva.

The beautiful crescent moon adornment, the third eye on his forehead, Vasuki snake around his neck, holy Ganga river flowing from his matted hair, the Trishul as his weapon and the Damaru which is his musical instrument. The tranquil looking Lord Shiva is one of the most revered God of Hindu religion. Shiva is a Sanskrit word which means ‘The Auspicious One’, he is also known as Mahadev (The Great God).

Origin oLord-Shivaf Shivratri

 

When creation had been completed, Shiva and Parvati went out to live on the top of Mount Kailas. Parvati asked, “O venerable Lord! which of the many rituals observed in Thy honour doth please Thee most?”

The Lord replied, “The 14th night of the new moon, in the dark fortnight during the month of Phalgun, is my most favourite day. It is known as Shivaratri. My devotees give me greater happiness by mere fasting than by ceremonial baths and offerings of flowers, sweets and incense.

“The devotee observes strict spiritual discipline in the day and worships Me in four different forms during each of the four successive three-hour periods of the night. The offering of a few bael leaves is more precious to Me than the precious jewels and flowers. My devotee should bathe Me in milk at the first period, in curd at the second, in clarified butter at the third, and in honey at the fourth and last. Next morning, he should feed the Brahmins first and, after performing the prescribed ceremonies, he can break his fast. O Parvati! there is no ritual which can compare with this simple routine in sanctity.”

Parvati was deeply impressed by the speech of Lord Shiva. She repeated it to Her friends who in their turn passed it on to the ruling princes on earth. Thus was the sanctity of Shivaratri broadcast all over the world.

When Shivratri is celebrated?

Maha Shivratri  is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva on the 13th(or 14th) night of the Krishna paksha (dark half or waning phase) of the moon (night before Amavasya) in the month of Phalgun (Feb-March) by almost all sects within Hinduism. It is a day of fasting for all devotees of Lord Shiva and is one of the eight most significant days of fasting in the Hindu Calendar.

How Shivratri is celebrated?

As Lord Shiva is considered to be the lord of meditation and penance, devotees may be best served by engaging in introspection and self-evaluation of their spiritual progress on Maha Shivratri. Hence, this day may be considered as an opportunity to engage in awakening one’s inner spirit towards (self)-realization of the supreme. It is perhaps for this reason that the scriptures encourage us to remShiv-Abhishekain awake throughout the night on Shivratri – to welcome the new moon and its spiritual energy into our lives.

Devotees worship Lord Shiva to get a release from the cycle of death and rebirth. Vigils are maintained throughout the night at Shiva temples. Fasts are also observed by the devotees, prayers are offered at the temple and devotional songs are chanted. Many people also consume bhaang which is a substance procured from cannabis.

The two mantras that are perhaps most relevant to invoking the power and energy associated with Lord Shiva are:

The simple, five-syllable (pancha-akshara) chant of Om Namah Shivaya

ॐ नम: शिवाय:

The mantra of health and protection from (spiritual) death called the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

ॐ त्रियम्बकं यजामहे, सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनं,

उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्, मृत्योर्मोक्षिय मामृतात्

The Lingam

The phallus symbol representing Shiva is called the lingam. It is usually made of granite, soapstone, quartz, marble or metal, and has a ‘yoni’ or vagina as its base representing the union of organs. Devotees circumaShiv_Lingam_Meaningmbulate the lingam and worship it throughout the night. It is bathed every three hours with the 5 sacred offerings of a cow, called the ‘panchagavya’ – milk, sour milk, urine, butter and dung. Then the 5 foods of immortality – milk, clarified butter, curd, honey and sugar are placed before the lingam.

Having observed the requirements of the all night fast, devotees break their fast with the ‘prasad’ offered to Lord Shiva.

Message of Shivratri in modern time

 

The avatar of the Supreme soul, Shiva, in this vicious world to bring us out of darkness of ignorance, so called RATRI, is celebrated as Shivaratri all over the world. Lord Shiva imparts the precious knowledge to us (his child, the souls) through his chariot, the Brahma. Souls adopting the knowledge get rid of KAMA, KRODH, LOBH, MOH & AHANKAR and become the true humans. Lets celebrate the true Shivaratri, by having control over the vices, and be a partner in making of the new world, the world of true happiness, love & peace.

 


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GHS Highlights of the Year 2016!

Category : Activities

Get ready to welcome 2017. Forgive and forget old grudges make a fresh start in 2017. Wishing everyone a very happy new year and pray to load Krishna to bring prosperity to all and peace in the world.

2016 has been a truly fantastic year for all of us. We have seen so many great festivals, events, programmes throughout the year and it was not possible without all of your participation, encouragement and help. GHS is proud to participate in fund raising events during year 2016 and we are happy to announce that we have raised more than £4500.

We thought that we’d use this post to look back at some of the highlights of the past year, as there’s been quite a few!

  • Kite making workshop

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  • Republic day Flag hosting

republic-day-2016

 

 

 

 

  • Variety cultural show January 2016

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  • Rudrabhishek

rudhabhishek-2016

 

 

 

 

  • Holi Celebration

holi-2016

 

 

 

 

 

  • Youth Festival

youth-festival-2016

 

 

 

 

 

  • Hindola Mahostav

hindola-mahostav-2016

 

 

 

 

 

  • Independence day celebration (15th Aug)

independence-day-2016

 

 

 

 

 

  • Ganesh Puja

ganesh_pooja-2016

 

 

 

 

  • Raas Garba competition: GHS Raas team won 1st prize in Raas-Garba competition at Manchester and Garba & Raas teams won 1st prize for best Costume


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Diwali party

diwali-2016

 

 

 

 

 

  • Rangoli and Aarti Thali competition

rangoli-2016

 

 

 

 

 

  • Annakut

 

 

 

 

 

  • Diwali Fireworks

diwali-fireworks-2016

 

 

 

 

 

Fund Raising Events:

 

  • Bhajan Samelan – £3000 raised for Sanatan Seva Mandal, India

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  • Sponsored Walk by Youth club – £550 raised towards Pujya Archanadidi Swararswati Ashram in Chanod, India

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  • Sharad Purmina Garba- £1001 raised for St. Catherine’s hospice care

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What are some of your best memories from the past year with GHS? Please share your comments and memories, Thank you..


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The Universal Message of the BHAGAVAD GITA

Category : Religious

The Bhagavad Gita is considered by Hindus to be the holiest of all the scriptures in Hinduism. It is one of the most often quoted Hindu scriptures within Indian (and perhaps even Western) literature. The Gita is a central discourse of the expansive epic, the Mahabharata. It is often referred to as the jewel in the crown of Hindu philosophy and religious thought.

While the Bhagavad Gita is considered by some to be the Bible of Hinduism, “the teachings of the Gita are broad, sublime and universal. They do not belong to any particular cult, sect, creed, age, place or country. They are meant for all. They are within the reach of all. The Gita has a message for the solace, peace, freedom, salvation and perfection of all human beings.”

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The Birth of the Gita and Origin of Gita Jayanti

Gita Jayanti is an annual celebration to commemorate the day when Lord Krishna rendered his philosophical teachings – immortalized in the epic Mahabharata – to prince Arjuna on the first day of the 18-day battle of Kurukshetra. When prince Arjuna refused to fight against his cousins, the Kauravas in the battle, Lord Krishna expounded the truth of life and the philosophy of Karma and Dharma to him, thereby giving birth to one of the world’s greatest scriptures, the Gita.

The Gita Jayanti, or the birthday of the Bhagavad Gita, is celebrated throughout India by all the admirers and lovers of this most sacred scripture on the eleventh day (Ekadashi) of the bright half of the month of Margaseersha (December-January), according to the Hindu calendar.

 

Essence of BHAGAVAD GITA

“Whatever you took, you took from God. Whatever you gave, you gave to him. You came empty handed, you will leave empty handed.”

  • Why do you worry without cause? Whom do you fear without reason? Who can kill you? The soul is neither born, nor does it die.
  • Whatever happened, happened for the good; whatever is happening, is happening for the good; whatever will happen, will also happen for the good only. You need not have any regrets for the past. You need not worry for the future. The present is happening…
  • What did you lose that you cry about? What did you bring with you, which you think you have lost? What did you produce, which you think got destroyed? You did not bring anything – whatever you have, you received from here. Whatever you have given, you have given only here. Whatever you took, you took from God. Whatever you gave, you gave to him. You came empty handed, you will leave empty handed. What is yours today, belonged to someone else yesterday, and will belong to someone else the day after tomorrow. You are mistakenly enjoying the thought that this is yours. It is this false happiness that is the cause of your sorrows.
  • Change is the law of the universe. What you think of as death, is indeed life. In one instance you can be a millionaire, and in the other instance you can be steeped in poverty. Yours and mine, big and small – erase these ideas from your mind. Then everything is yours and you belong to everyone.
  • This body is not yours, neither are you of the body. The body is made of fire, water, air, earth and ether, and will disappear into these elements. But the soul is permanent – so who are you?
  • Dedicate your being to God. He is the one to be ultimately relied upon. Those who know of his support are forever free from fear, worry and sorrow.
  • Whatever you do, do it as a dedication to God. This will bring you the tremendous experience of joy and life-freedom forever.

 

The Lasting Influence of the GITA

The Gita is not merely a book or just a scripture. It is a living voice carrying an eternally indispensable and vital message to mankind. Its verses embody words of wisdom coming from the infinite ocean of knowledge, the Absolute Itself.

The Gita is a source of power and wisdom. It strengthens you when you are weak, and inspires you when you feel dejected and feeble. It teaches you to embrace righteousness and to resist unrighteousness.

The Gita guides you to glory with the watchwords: “Be thou divine-minded, devoted to Me as your goal, and let your subconscious mind be divine”.

The Lord gives the following firm assurance also: “I become the saviour from this mortal world for those whose minds are set on Me”.

The study of the Gita alone is sufficient for the purpose of scriptural study. You will find in it a solution to all your problems. The more you study it with devotion and faith, the deeper will your knowledge become, the more penetrative would be your insight, and the clearer your thinking. Even if you live in the spirit of one verse of the Gita, all your miseries will come to an end and you will attain the goal of life—immortality and eternal peace.

None but the Lord can bring out such a marvellous and unprecedented book, which grants peace to its readers, and which guides them in the attainment of supreme bliss.

The teachings of the Gita are broad, sublime and universal.

May you all lead the life taught by the Gita! May the Gita, the blessed Mother of the Vedas, guide and protect you! May it nourish you with the milk of the ancient wisdom of the Upanishads!

Glory to Lord Krishna, the Divine Teacher! Glory to Sri Vyasa, the poet of poets, who composed the Gita! May his blessings be upon you all!

 


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Symbolism of Ganesh Sthapana(establishment) & Visarjan (immersion)

Category : Religious

Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesha is believed to be Vighnaharta (Trouble and Obstacle destroyer) for his devotees. Thus, this festival is celebrated as the time when Lord Ganesha takes out all the problems from the lives of people. People bring an idol of Ganesha to their home and this idol symbolises the real Lord Ganesha. People serve Ganesha in the form of idol for ten days and then this idol is immersed in water. It is believed that Lord Ganesha takes away all the troubles and obstacles with him to the water and making the life of the devotees problem free.

The Ganesh Festival or Vinayak Chaturthi as it is popularly known brings people of all religion, caste and creed together, The 10 days of Vinayak Chaturthi is marked by various cultural events, brotherhood, getting together for artis, poojas, numerous religious functions and the general atmosphere is marked by grand festivities.

How to Keep Ganesh Idols for Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh1-updated

Ten days before the day of Ganesh Chathurthi, people install Ganesh idols in specially made structures and start the pooja. On the first day, the priest installs the Ganesh idol in the temporary structure, called ‘Pandal’. The priest performs special poojas to fill the idol with life. This is called ‘Avahana’. The ritual is accompanied by chanting of sacred mantras and bhajans.

Once the ‘Aavahana’ is complete, you can perform aarti and light diyas around the idol. During the prayers, offer 21 blades of Dhruva grass, 21 modakas, 21 red flowers, and a red tilak using sandalwood.  The number 21 represents five organs of perception, five organs of action, five pranas, five elements, and the mind.  Keep a coconut and a small bowl of grains alongside the idol.

Some people can keep Ganesha for 1 day, 5 days, 7 days or 11 days at home and then immersed in a river or sea.  Singers, dancers, and large number of people accompany the farewell procession of Lord Ganesh idol.

Why is Ganesha idol immersed in water after Ganesh Chaturthi festival?

Vinayaka Chaturthi or Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations end with the immersion or Visarjan of clay Ganapati idol in water. Hindus worship Brahman or the Supreme Soul present in all animate and inanimate. But for majority of the people it is not possible to worship this formlessness. They need a form to pray to, to seek help, to cry and to take blessings. Ganesha is ‘OM’ the primordial sound or the first ‘Vaak.’ Nirguna Para Brahman takes the form of Ganesha.

Ganesh_Visarjan1

Clay and water is mixed to give form to the formlessness. Each person brings Ganesha in clay idol form into the home. This is the Supreme Being arriving at home. After the celebrations, it is time to accept the eternal cosmic law that which took form has to become formless again. It is a never ending cycle (Chakra).

The formlessness giving way to form and then moving again towards formlessness. Each year Ganesha arrives to teach us that forms change but the Supreme Truth remains the same. Body perishes but Brahman residing in it remains constant. This body becomes energy for another but the source of energy is the same. Bliss is achieved when we realize this.

The act also symbolizes the concept of Moksha, or liberation, in Hinduism. Osho says – ‘Absolute unclinging. That is what is meant by Moksha – freedom – no clinging, not even to gods.’ Thus we create Ganesha out of clay, worship it and later it is submerged (Visarjan).

 

So what do you think about having Ganesha idols at home?  Do you have one in your home? Do you follow all the customs and traditions in worshiping Lord Ganesha? Share your views with us in the comments.

 

Author- Rakesh Ghodke


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Janmashtmi: Significance of Krishna in our lives.

Category : Religious

Janamashtami-blog

The naughty son of Yashoda, fervent lover of Radha, empathetic friend of Panchali, proficient guide of Pandavas, spiritual philosopher of Arjun or the consummate politician of Mahabharata; life of Krishna, exhibited his various facets, all entwined into one. Like the colourful peacock feather worn by him, Krishna displayed myriad shades of his enigmatic personality on this earthly world. Reciprocating everyone with a distinct individuality of sentiments, the essence of Krishna, therefore is eternal, universal. And thus, Janmashtmi, the birth day of Krishna, holds a special significance in the lives of his countless followers, who celebrate the day with fervour globally.

Across the world, people fast unto midnight on Janmashtmi, when Krishna was born. They sing, dance, chant and meditate remembering the lord, enacting him, celebrating his birth. While his flirtatious Rasleela is held in Vrindavan; the mischievous dahi handi is celebrated in Maharashtra; depicting life times of Krishna on Janmashtmi. In Gokul and Mathura, Krishna’s abishek with various auspicious liquids is held with high spirits. While the city of Dwarka, Krishna’s own land, comes alive with celebrations and devotional recitations throughout the day.

The festivities held everywhere, substantiate the profound joy of birth of Krishna. But more importantly, Janmashtmi symbolises the birth of god as human, to demolish the prevalent evil. Krishna in Bhagwad Gita says that whenever faith is under attack or evil will predominate, he will reincarnate to destroy it and save the good. Janmashtmi therefore is more significant than a mere festival. It signifies the presence of Krishna amongst us, as a benevolent god, a compassionate teacher and a fierce protector. The perfect balance of extremes, a mischievous makhan chor or the divine preacher of karma; Krishna, teaches us to pursue the materialistic world but not get immersed in it, oblivious to the presence of supreme. Janmashtmi therefore not only celebrates the presence of Krishna years ago, it asks us to absorb and manifest Krishna’s preaching and values in our own life today.

sreekrishna

So celebrate Janmashtmi this year with little Krishna, and imbibe his balance between the spiritual and the material world; teaching the equilibrium of life, making the world a better place to live.


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Youth Festival a great success, Saturday 2nd July 2016

Category : Youth Activities

77First youth festival organised by Hindu Council of North and hosted by Gujarat Hindu society was a great success.

Over 70 young people from Preston, Bolton, Aston-U-Lyne and Bradford participated. They were engaged in various sports activities and the special feature of the day was the Kho Kho Competition. We had the President of Kho Kho UK present and the game was played with great enthusiasm.

This festival was made possible by our very able Youth Leaders Purnima Patel, Hema Limbachia, Jay Aacharya and other team of young people. It was an excellent day and a very big thank you to our leaders from GHS Management. God bless you all.


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