Ritual Experiment #15: Jaya Ganesha!

So obviously I haven’t been blogging every day. As you do more and more of these, they tend to start sounding samey-samey. So, I’m just writing about the particularly interesting ones. Okay? Okay.

So for Ganesha Chaturthi this past Monday, I went all out. Ganesha is the deity I work with most, I guess you’d say, so I decided to throw him a veritable party. I aggregated some ideas from various websites (that being one of them… gotta start bookmarking this stuff), and used what I liked most, and what seemed to be the most true for how I feel about how Ganesha works in my life. Here’s what I did, and what you’ll need if you ever want to undertake such a ritual.

List of Ritual Accoutrements:

– Red sandal paste (in this case, I put a sandalwood mala I had in a special container of water)
– Rice
– Flowers (hibiscus is supposedly Ganesha’s favourite… I used white roses)
– Milk
– Curd (I used good ol’ cheddar. Improvisation for the win)
– Ghee (I used butter. Ain’t nobody got time for clarifyin’)
– Honey
– Sugar
– A dishrag/face cloth
– White thread
– Grass (there’s a specific Indian kind that you’re supposed to use, but I just went with “green”)
– Leaves
– Incense (in my case, a Nag Champa candle)
– Candy (I hope Ganesh likes sour cherry blasters)
– Dried fruit
– Nuts
– Clove
– Cinnamon
– Perfume (scented after shower spray?)
– Coins
– Cauldron, or something to wash your hands in
– Sacred water
– Some kind of Ganesh idol
– Probably a few extra bowls

And don’t forget the patio furniture!

Here’s the ritual outline. I don’t claim to be a Hindu, and Ganesha isn’t technically a part of the Vedic pantheon (he’s post-Vedic), so I hope I don’t offend both Hindus and Druids by undertaking this mishmash ritual. All experiments are undertaken with the utmost respect. Scout’s honour!
Say: Vakratund mahakay suryakoti samaphraba. Nirvignan kuru me dev sarvakaryesu sarvada.
Walk counterclockwise around the Ganesh idol.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah x 3
Say: Aum x 3
Take a sip of sacred water.
Say: Please purify me, Ganesha, that I may offer you praise.
Wash hands.
Sprinkle Ganesha with rice grains and flowers.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah asanam samarpayami.
Wash Ganesha’s feet with rice and sandalwood infused water.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah padyam samarpayami.
Wash Ganesha’s hands with water mixed with rice and flowers.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah samarpayami.
Offer the idol water three times while chanting aum shri Ganeshya namah achmaneeyam samarpayami.
Bathe idol with milk, curd, sugar, and honey.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah panchamrita snanam samarpayami.
Bathe Ganesha with water, then milk.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah payah snanam samarpayami.
Present the idol with curd (cheese).
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah dadhi snanam samarpayami.
Present the idol with ghee (butter)
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah grut snanam samarpayami.
Present the idol with honey.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah madhu snanam samarpayami.
Present the idol with sugar.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah sarkara snanam samarpayami.
Offer the idol sacred water, and wipe it clean.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah uttaraposhnam samarpayami.
Place two white threads around the idol.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah yagyopveetam samarpayami.
Sprinkle rice on the idol.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah akshtam samarpayami.
Sprinkle flowers on the idol.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah puspam samarpayami.
Sprinkle grass on the idol.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah purvan kuran samarpayami.

Sprinkle leaves on the idol.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah bilvapatram samarpayami.
Bathe the idol with incense.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah bhoopam agrapyami.
Bathe the idol with candlelight.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah deepam parshyami.
Sprinkle sweets on the idol.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah naivedyam samarpayami.
Sprinkle fruit on the idol.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah phalam samarpayami.
Sprinkle the nuts, clove, and cinnamon on the idol.
Say: Aum shri ganeshya tamboolam samarpayami.
Anoint the idol with perfume.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah stram samarpayami.
Offer Ganesha coins.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah dakshinam samarpayami.
Sprinkle Ganesha with water containing the rice, flowers, and grass.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah vishesh argyam samarpayami.
Bow before Ganesha.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah.
Walk clockwise around the idol.
Say: Aum shri Ganeshya namah pradakshinam samarpayami.
Holy crap. Okay. So if you’re still reading, CONGRATULATIONS! And THANK YOU! This is absolutely the most work I’ve ever put into a ritual in my personal practice. 
… I need a bigger Ganesh.
How did it feel? Well… other than busy, it felt really good. I really wanted to do Ganesha some serious honour, and I truly went all out. I don’t have a whole lot of energy for much, so this was no small undertaking. I felt really centered after the ritual, and placed the offerings in the Shining Ones area of my rock garden at the end of my yard. It felt appropriate, I guess, and I felt connected to the day in a way I haven’t yet experienced. As small as my celebrations were compared to what must happen in India, it felt grandiose and exotic enough to transport me, even for a moment or two. And of course, there’s nothing like trying to pronounce Sanskrit to make you feel like you’re somewhere else.
Rose love for the Trunk-ed One

So, to sum it up, honey is really hard to get off of wooden statues. Dogs will try to eat anything (yes, even sour cherry blasters). And hopefully there’s a balance to be struck between intention (a.k.a. not having time to clarify your butter) and replication (a.k.a. attempting to speak ancient languages). 
Replication might be too strong a word for the latter.

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