This Ganesh Chaturthi, pledge to do these six things do if you really want to please Lord Ganesha
Photograph: Rediff archives
Lord Ganesha is one of the most revered and admired deities in India. While modaks, various pujas, processions and visarjan are all synonymous with Ganesh Chaturthi, here are a few things every Ganesha bhakt can do to celebrate this festival in its true sense.
1. Spread education
Photograph: Rediff archives
Nearly 25 per cent people in India are still illiterate. If you're able to read these lines, you clearly cannot imagine what it's like to be devoid of that skill. What better way to please the lord of letters than learning something new?
It could be as simple as reading a new book or taking up a new hobby. You can, in fact, go a step further and help those who cannot afford it. There are several organisations working to help educate slum kids. Why not start off with buying books for your maid's child?
2. Feed the hungry
Photograph: Utpal Baruah/Reuters
What makes Lord Ganesha one of the most endearing figures in Hindu mythology is his pure love for food. While you make an elaborate plan to please your taste buds during this festive season, spare a thought for the hungry.
Even better, spare them a morsel. Instead of making an offering of 21 modaks to an idol, buy a meal for the beggars standing outside the temple.
3. Make a new start
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We worship Ganesha before we begin a new adventure. So just like New Year's Day, this is a good time to make resolutions, quitting bad habits, making new friends and travelling.
4. Save the elephants
Photographs: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters
If we don't act soon, elephants might be extinct by the time our grandchildren are born. While you install the idols of the elephant god, spare a thought for the dwindling number of those giant creatures.
You can find out more about the threats to elephant population and contribute to organisations like SaveTheElephants.org to make a difference.
5. Protect the weak
Festivals are a time for rejuvenation and celebration. But they should also serve as a time for reflection. While you rejoice, there are many around you who are fighting for survival.
In a country riddled with socio-economic problems, it's the moral responsibility of the powerful and affluent individuals in our society to help the poor, the downtrodden and the exploited -- something that's in keeping with the rhetoric associated with the lord of protection and the remover of obstacles.
6. Help justice prevail
Photograph: Sreeram Selvaraj/Rediff.com
In many religious texts, Ganesha is hailed as the God of justice. Perhaps it's time you brought those hymns into practice and did something to make our society better. Don't stop at liking statuses on Facebook or watching Aamir Khan on TV. Join discussions, voice your dissent and stand up against injustice.