Giving Thanks to God Ganesha at MTS

Photos: Bhargavi Golla and Srinivasan Akunuri

Photos: Bhargavi Golla and Srinivasan Akunuri


By Tupil Narasiman & Padma Golla

PEARLAND: Thanksgiving starts very early in the year for the Indian community here in the United States, as early as August sometimes; and the focus is giving thanks to the gods, starting with Lord Ganesha followed by Navarathri, Deepavali through to Sankaranthi.
Meenakshi Temple celebrated on August 29, Ganesh Chathurthi when Lord Ganesha was born. Traditionally the celebration is on the fourteenth (14th ) day after the new moon (during August-September). Lord Ganesha is celebrated with great devotion for the blessings He unconditionally bestows us. Such unconditional love for us that the Lord gives warrants a reciprocal love and a joy that manifests itself as a celebration in praise of Him.

This two day celebration began around 6 pm on Friday, the August 29 starting with a Homam, a Vedic fire ritual that invokes the Lord which purifies and energizes the water in the pots (Kalasa puja). Devotees with origins from the various states of India participated in the Homam. Devotees came in continuously bringing offerings of ghee and fragrances (Homa dravyas) and decorative ornaments (Aabharanam) and flowers (Pushpams) and silk cloth (Vastrams) by which to decorate their God and also fruits (Phalam) and other sweets and savories (Prasadam) for Him. The faith that He will accept all this thanks and joyously give back in plenty is the driving force behind all these celebrations.

This year’s celebration of Ganesh Chathurthi took on a more splendorous look as it was the first time after the Ganesh Sanctum was renovated and a beautiful, all-granite mantap was built for the Lord Ganesha. By 8 pm more than 400 devotees had gathered there for the Homam, followed by sacred bathing of Lord Ganesha with sanctified water (Abishekam). The Lord was decorated with silk and ornaments and flowers (Alankaram) and was taken on a procession (Utsavam) in his vehicle (Mooshika vahana). Lord Ganesha was brought back into the sanctum and to finally have a look at Him (Darshan) while the priests (Sri Manicka Bhattar and Sri Kalyana Sundara Bhattar) offered lamps to highlight His beauty (Deepa Aradhanai or Aarthi). After the Puja, the congregation enjoyed the wonderful prasadams, especially the modakams for Ganesha; a sumptuous good meal prepared by the Food coordinator Jeyam Thiagarajan and the temple staff. Thanks are also to Meena Dorairajan who had prepared Plenty of Food.

The celebrations on Saturday began around 8.30 am with 108 Kalasas, pots filled with water and sanctified by chanting and fire rituals. Devotees carried these pots of water which were used to bathe Him and decorate Him. This time He was taken on a procession in the silver chariot (Ratham), after which a Maha aarthi was performed and prasadams distributed. After lunch, around 3.30 pm the Visarjan Puja began. This Puja, performed by Sri Pavankumar Sribhashyam included sankalpam, Ganapathi Puja & punyavachanam, Ganapathi Avahanam, puspha puja, pathra puja, ashtothra puja and story recitation followed by aarthi, mantrapuspham and Theertham. All of the devotees went in a procession to the temple pond and immersed their clay Ganesha, one at a time. Temple provided light dinner from the cafeteria kitchen after the visarjan. The RAC committee, the Temple Priests and staff and the event organizers Tupil Narasiman, Dr. T.A. Dorairajan, Padma Golla and Murali Ravoori need to be applauded for all the arrangements. The Ganesh Chaturthi celebration was a highly satisfying experience for one and all.