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Shri Ganesh

 Lord Ganesh is the most popular deity of GSBs. God is said to be omnipresent and this is virtually true in the case of Ganesh as we can see his pictures and idols everywhere including the wedding or upanayanam invitations besides New Year and Diwali Greeting Cards. He is worshipped on every occasion or while embarking on any work, as a remover of hurdles.  Though he is the presiding deity of wisdom, rarely people pray him for wisdom.

Legend :

Lord Shiva angrily cuts off the head of a boy, who did not permit him to enter his own place. When Mother Goddess Gowri tells him that the boy was her creation and son, to pacify her, he orders his men to bring the head of any living being that sleeps during daytime stretching its head pointing to south. They found a baby elephant doing so and without any hesitation brought its head.  Thus the boy was reborn as Gajanan, the elephant-headed one. Shiva made him the leader of the ganas, Ganapati  or Ganesh with blessings that he would receive the salutations first  as Vighneshwara  or the remover of hurdles. Ganesh is known for granting boons and favours instantly. He likes sweet modakas, simple durva grass and dasavala flowers (hibiscus) and his colour is that of blood. His favourite day is Tuesday. There is a belief that we must not keep the idols of Ganesh at home as he might ask for food or nivedya.  God in any form never asks for food as God is always a giver and not a receiver.

Every year on Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi Ganapati festival is celebrated in most of the GSB homes. They bring the clay idols of Ganesh for a day-long worship with great happiness and at night the idol will be ceremoniously immersed in the well, lake, river or the sea. It is a day of great rejoices but only such of those families who have inherited the worship of Ganesh will perform the pooja. In many temples, Ganesh is one of the parivar devatas and while starting any business or opening any office premises, Ganahomas, or havans are performed.

In Mumbai, two GSB Institutions celebrate Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav when thousands from all parts of the city congregate:

GSB Seva Mandal, at Matunga Mumbai celebrates 5 days  Ganeshotsav. A gold crown worth Rs.1.00 crore adorns this 16 feet high Ganapati.  People in thousands participate.

The celebration at Shri Ram Mandir Wadala, Mumbai will last for 11 days and is well attended on all days.  Besides regular poojas, havans, homas  in the evenings there will be cultural programmes  during the festival in both the places. (Pic. Lord Ganesh in Shirali temple one of the Kuladevata  Temples.)

Sankasti:  

Sankasti is one vrita which is observed by many devotees to win the grace of Lord Ganesh who is supposed to  bestow it immediately. According to this vow one has to observe fasting on the 4th day of black half of lunar month, i.e on Chowti during Krishna Paksha  during the day and take food only after the moon-rise at night,  after seeing the moon. Tuesday is supposed to be Ganapati Bappa’s day and if Sankasti falls on this day it is regarded  more auspicious called Angarika.