What is Anant Chaturdashi? How to celebrate It?

Anant Chaturdashi is a day with twin significance.

Ganapati Visarjan : The 14th day of the bright half of Bhadrapad is the day of the immersion of Ganpati.  On this day, the festival of Ganpati comes to an end, the installed Murti’s of Lord Ganpati are taken to a lake, river or a sea in great processions to be immersed in the waters. Thus Lord Ganesha is departed, only to be welcomed the next year with equal excitement. ” Ganapati Bappa Morya, Phudchya Varshi Lavkaar Ya ! ”

Ananta Vrat : On this day people recite and listen to the stories and legends of God Vishnu who is Anant, the infinite and recite hymns from the Vedas.

But there is a second significance to the day, and that is what gives Anant Chaturdashi its name. On this day, which is the fourteenth day of the shukla paksha (the bright phase of the moon) in the Indian lunar month of Bhadrapada, people observe a vow in honor of Vishnu. The belief is that if one maintains this vow for 14 years, it will bring immense wealth and spiritual benefit.
Anant Chaturdashi  – The 14 year vrat in honor of Vishnu

The legend connected with the festival is didactic, rather than explanatory, in nature. One day, a Brahmin, Kaundinya, and his wife, Sushila, were on their way home. They stopped by a river because Kaundinya wanted to take a bath.

While he was away, Sushila observed some women praying. When she enquired, they told her that they were observing the Anant Vrata. They told her that if they tied a consecrated string around their wrists and maintained the vrata for 14 years, they would get great material wealth.

Sushila too started observing the Anant Vrata, and soon, she and Kaundinya became wealthy. When Kaundinya noticed the string, he asked Sushila about it. She told him the story. But wealth had made Kaundinya haughty, and dismissing it as mere superstition, he broke the string and threw it away.

From then on, Kaundinya and Sushila started losing their wealth, and soon had nothing. Kaundinya was penitent, and went in search of Anant to get his glory back. But nobody he asked on the way knew who or where Anant was.

In the end, a desperate Kaundinya prepared to commit suicide. At that moment, an old man approached and took Kaundinya to a cave. Once inside the dark cave, the old man turned into Vishnu, and told Kaundinya that he would regain his lost happiness and wealth if he observed the Anant Vrata for 14 years.

How to celebrate?

On Anant Chaturdashi, the image of a hooded cobra is fashioned out of darbha (grass), and is worshipped with flowers and incense as Anant, the divine snake on whom Lord Vishnu lies. Special dishes – Gharga and Anarse are made and  offered to the darbha snake. A string, coated with red kumkum, is placed before the idol or picture of Vishnu. Then, the consecrated string, called anant, is tied to the wrist. Men tie it on their right hands, and women, on their left.

The number 14 is considered sacred for this vow. On this fourteenth day of the moon, 14 floral decorations are made. Similarly, 14 artis and food items are offered to the deity. The vrata is observed for 14 years, and ends on the fifteenth Anant Chaturdashi day.

What Swami Sivananda Recommends for Ganesh Chaturthi?

On the Ganesh Chaturthi day, meditate on the stories connected with Lord Ganesha early in the morning, during the Brahmamuhurta period. Then, after taking a bath, go to the temple and do the prayers of Lord Ganesha. Offer Him some coconut and sweet pudding. Pray with faith and devotion that He may remove all the obstacles that you experience on the spiritual path. Worship Him at home, too. You can get the assistance of a pundit. Have an image of Lord Ganesha in your
house. Feel His Presence in it.

Don’t forget not to look at the moon on that day; remember that it behaved unbecomingly towards the Lord. This really means avoid the company of all those who have no faith in God, and who deride God, your Guru and religion, from this very day.

Take fresh spiritual resolves and pray to Lord Ganesha for inner spiritual strength to attain success in all your undertakings.

May the blessings of Sri Ganesha be upon you all! May He remove all the obstacles that stand in your spiritual path! May He bestow on you all material prosperity as well as liberation!

How to celebrate Ganesha festival in anywhere

Ganesha Chaturthi, the great Ganesha festival, also known as ‘Vinayak Chaturthi’ or ‘Vinayaka Chavithi’ is celebrated by Hindus around the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is observed during the Hindu month of Bhadra (mid-August to mid-September) and the grandest and most elaborate of them, especially in the western India state of Maharashtra, lasts for 10 days, ending on the day of ‘Ananta Chaturdashi’.

The Grand Celebration

A life-like clay model of Lord Ganesha is made 2-3 months prior to the day of Ganesh Chaturthi. The size of this idol may vary from 3/4th of an inch to over 25 feet.

On the day of the festival, it is placed on raised platforms in homes or in elaborately decorated outdoor tents for people to view and pay their homage. The priest, usually clad in red silk dhoti and shawl, then invokes life into the idol amidst the chanting of mantras. This ritual is called ‘pranapratishhtha’. After this the ‘shhodashopachara’ (16 ways of paying tribute) follows. Coconut, jaggery, 21 ‘modakas’ (rice flour preparation), 21 ‘durva’ (trefoil) blades and red flowers are offered. The idol is anointed with red unguent or sandal paste (rakta chandan). Throughout the ceremony, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda and Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted.

For 10 days, from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, Ganesha is worshipped. On the 11th day, the image is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of all man. All join in this final procession shouting “Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya” (O father Ganesha, come again early next year). After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the idol to the river to immerse it.

The whole community comes to worship Ganesha in beautifully done tents. These also serve as the venue for free medical checkup, blood donation camps, charity for the poor, dramatic performances, films, devotional songs, etc. during the days of the festival.

%d bloggers like this: