Indians Are Partying And Praying For Elephant-Headed Idol Ganesh

Blog note. The Lord God, Jesus Christ, provides 21 (3×7) Biblical verses instructing mankind to “not build any graven images of false gods.” Do men listen to and respect the word of God? End of note.

Exodus 20:4 … Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Deuteronomy 7:5… But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.

Deuteronomy 7:25… The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therin: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.

Deuteronomy 12:3… And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.

2 Kings 17:41… So these nations feared the Lord, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.

2 Chronicles 33:19… His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sins, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers.

2 Chronicles 34:7… And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.

Psalm 78:58… For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.

Psalm 97:7… Confounded be all they that serve graven imagesthat boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.

Isaiah 10:10… As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;

Isaiah 21:9… And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.

Isaiah 30:22… Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.

Isaiah 42:8… I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Isaiah 42:17… They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods.

Jeremiah 8:19… Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the Lord in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?

Jeremiah 50:38… A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols.

Jeremiah 51:47… Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.

Jeremiah 51:52… Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and through all her land the wounded shall groan.

Hosea 11:2… As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.

Micah 1:7… And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.

Micah 5:13… Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.

 Indians Are Partying And Praying For Elephant-Headed Idol Ganesh

September 22, 20185:30 AM ET. NPR. LAUREN FRAYER

On India’s west coast, revelers hoist up statues of an elephant-headed god, and parade them toward the Arabian Sea. They sing and chant, and hand out food to bystanders. For 10 days, they perform pooja — Hindu prayers — at the statues’ feet and then submerge them in bodies of water. This is a tradition in Mumbai, India’s biggest city, near the end of each year’s monsoon rains: a festival honoring Ganesh, or Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god of wisdom and good luck. He has a human body and an elephant head.

Families buy a Ganesh idol for the occasion, and pray over it at home, before processing toward the beach. Neighborhoods get together to erect temporary stages called pandals, on which they place giant Ganesh statues, and hold block parties around them. The Ganpati festival, as it’s also known, is celebrated all over India, with faithful immersing idols in lakes, streams, even man-made ponds dug out for the occasion. But Mumbai’s Arabian Sea coast is where it’s celebrated most fervently.

“We have a lot of faith. We have seen the time from where, you know, we used to not spend so much. The celebration was limited,” says Amruta Savant, 33, celebrating with her uncles and children. “But every year, we have prosperity, and we are getting our wishes fulfilled. So the faith goes on increasing.” She places her idol in the sand and surrounds him with offerings — coconuts and strings of marigolds. She lights incense, while her relatives sing praise to Ganesh. Then one by one, they kneel down before the idol and whisper their wishes into the statue’s ears.

Lifeguards man the beach at all hours, as faithful young and old wade into the waves, usually at night. They believe when Lord Ganesha is submerged, he goes straight to heaven. “We dip him three times, and the third time, we leave him in the water,” Savant explains. “It’ll melt in the sea itself.”

Many of the idols are now biodegradable, so they don’t wash up later, or pollute marine life. But some are still made from plaster of Paris, which does not disintegrate. Cleanup workers arrive with trucks the next morning to haul water-worn statues away. In Mumbai’s largest slum, idols adorn a warren of impeccably clean little shacks. A local company, Reality Tours, takes tourists around, pointing out variations in different Ganesh statues and explaining the history.

Ganesh has been worshipped by Hindus for centuries. But this festival really took off after 1893, as a clever ruse by a freedom fighter. When India was under British rule, curfews were often imposed to prevent independence-minded Indians from gathering for demonstrations or political meetings. Public gatherings were banned — except for religious ones.

So in 1893, the Indian freedom fighter Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak came up with a plot: He told the British that it was an important 10-day religious festival, that required people to gather in the streets and on the beaches, around Ganesh idols. “He was a social reformer and also [an] Indian scholar, and he came up with this idea to mislead the British,” says tour guide Suraj Hattarkal. “It was a trick, to bring the whole community together, and share revolutionary things.”

India became independent from Britain on Aug. 15, 1947.

Nowadays, the festival is a massive party. There are processions, dancing and drumming. People hand out treats in the crowd. Ganesh specialties include modak, a type of sweet dumpling filled with shredded coconut, and laddus, bite-size spheres made from purified butter, flour, sugar and dried fruit.” Everybody shares. We have food for 200 to 300 people!” says Ashish Tivari, a 22-year-old medical student celebrating with his neighbors.

Among them was 8-year-old Vinayak, who grabbed this visiting reporter’s microphone.

“I am also his neighbor!” the boy squealed. Ganesh “is a god — our god.” Did he make a wish? Of course, he says, but it’s a secret. One of the chants you hear, as people bid farewell to Ganesh, waist-deep in water, is: “May we see you again next year.”

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