My mom is a very spiritual lady and a devotee to Lord Ganesh. Ganesh ji’s arti is one of the first artis (prayers) we learn to chant as kids. I did too. One day my curious little mind started having questions so I went running to my mom and asked her ‘Mom, why do we only call Ganesha Vighanharta and not all the gods?” Smiling, my mom handed me over a scripture storybook.
The story, in short, went something like this:
Ganesha: Maa, I have so many names just like you but what’s your favourite?
Parvati Maa: Vighanharta
Ganesha: And why is that?
Parvati Maa: Because you stood as an obstacle in front of your own father for me because you got beheaded and resurrected for your devotion towards me. Your resurrection was your win and anyone who is as devoted towards you with same devotion you stood for, you stand as an obstacle in the path of their obstacles. You are the remover of obstacles, Ganesha. You are Vighanharta.
Humans: Moral of the story, “Be devoted to Lord Ganesha not nature or yourself”
In the race of life and advancement, somewhere along the lines we misunderstood the moral of the story and took it in an above-mentioned way. We became devotees of Lord Ganesha, started to think of him as our friend but somewhere along the lines, we made him stand against nature for our own benefit. Ganesh Chaturthi, being a big showcase of that.
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated all over India with great fervour, style and enthusiasm to celebrate the birth of Lord Ganesha. The markets are filled with Chinese decor and tons of different Ganesha idols, most of them made of Plaster of Paris, painted with toxic paints etc. Later in the name of the blessings of good health and wealth, we let go of our Ganesha idols in the nearby water bodies as the lord’s farewell to home. But do we really think that this kind of farewell which almost kills the environment is the farewell that he would actually want? Why are we making the ‘Vighanaharta’ (obstacle remover) the ‘Vighanakarta’ (obstacle creator) for not only nature but also mankind when the solution is right there – An Eco-Friendly Ganesh Chaturthi with Eco-Friendly Ganesha idols?
The thing is with the passion of celebrating this festival, we generally forget the hazardous impact of the immersion of idols on the environment. We forget about how these idols will take years to dissolve in water, the toxicity of paints which contain lead, mercury etc and its effect on the marine life, the chain that will be created if these elements get in the food chain, the immersion of not only idols but other accessories, the soil degradation because of the contamination caused by the idols and what not. Our passion is overwhelming but just needs a right path to move on and the Vighanharta himself has come up with a solution.
Maa Parvati’s collected the dirt from her body, used a little clay to make a baby boy, hence giving birth to Lord Ganesha. Building on the kind of the same concept here but without any superpowers, we have come up with eco-friendly plantable seed Ganesha idols. These idols are made of clay and have a seed embedded in them, instead of immersing them in some water body, you can sow your Ganesha in a pot/ garden give birth to new life by growing a plant/tree which is not only eco friendly but also much more related to the reason behind the celebration of this festival.
These plantable Ganesha idols should be used because
Biodegradable: These idols are made from clay which only gets biodegraded but also organic fertilizers. These all together when sowed and watered give birth to a plant/tree. In short, every step and product used is eco friendly.
Trendy and Stylish: If you think these Ganesha idols will just be all brown and not at all as good looking as the PoP ones, then you are wrong because they are later painted with organic paints which makes the beautifully crafted look even more appealing.
Devotion Sign: They say god won’t help you unless you help yourself. Our environment is dying because of our needs and if the path continues we all know we will be in our very own endgame but we can put a pause and later full stop if we start being devoted not only to our environment but also towards our own self. Idol by idol we can help our environment and give justice to this auspicious festival.
So, this Ganesh Chaturthi, don't just be a part if the change but choose a change and bring a change that will prosper not only you but the world around you slowly and help Vighanharta step aside from the path of nature.