Festivals are like glue in our life. That keeps us attached to relationships in society. When we are together as a family, friends, and society it creates a sense of unity. Unity is the most powerful weapon to fight with any obstacle in life. Celebrating events and festivals in have become an integral part of learning and building a strong cultural belief in a child. We all should encourage students to embrace other traditions and culture just like the way they do with their own.

Apart from classroom activities in schools, we should  also pay heed to other important festivals which must be celebrated in order to understand our country’s tradition.

Such celebration will bring students closer to traditional and cultural belief. A close bond is built between the students as they understand each other’s different customs. Being a diverse country, the students need to know what each festival means, and it is only through theses celebrations, he/she will get to know more about our country.

Come Ganesh Chaturthi and suddenly Ganesha, the elephant headed God is everywhere - in pandals (canopied tents), stories, rituals, practices, symbols, sweets, social media, friendly neighborhood chats - I mean, literally everywhere! Its also a time when everyone gets busy hopping the innumerable pandals that have been artistically put together bang in the middle of the the street! theres the music, the modaks and of course the arti-puja routine that everyone loves to be a part of. But amid all this Ganpati pandal hopping frenzy, there is more than meets the eye. Dig deeper, crane your neck and put on your spiritual glasses, you see a crackle of light that He wants you to see and hear a faint voice that He wants you to hear.

So unlike previous years where we took delight in His physical beauty alone, this year lets pandal hop with a difference. Lets be an obedient student this time and try to enrich our lives with the simple lessons He wants us to learn. Lets hear it out from the man of the moment - Ganesha Himself!

Ganesha, the Elephant God, is not only the Lord of Beginnings and Remover of Obstacles, but also a teacher if you pay close attention to the tales of Hindu mythology. Also known as Ekdant, his anecdotes form an integral part of Hindu mythology and impart great life lessons to his followers. We can all learn a thing or two about life from these tales:

1. Duty is above all else

It is believed that Goddess Parvati created Lord Ganesha by carving out a boys idol from turmeric paste and breathing life into it, in the absence of Lord Shiva. She told the boy to guard the door while she bathed, and he obediently followed his mothers instructions. Around the same time, Lord Shiva returned from his expedition, and demanded entry into Parvati’s  bathing area--which Lord Ganesha refused. The event turned into a fight between the father and the son, and ended with Ganesha being beheaded. Later, Lord Shiva resurrected the boy after placing an elephants head on his body.

This very story is a lesson that even gods are bound to fulfill their duties, and there's no greater virtue than being dutiful, especially towards a parent. Despite being well-aware of the might of Lord Shiva, and the repercussions that could follow, Lord Ganesha refused to budge even if when it cost him his life.

2. Nobody is more important than ones parents

Once, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati offered a miraculous fruit of knowledge to their sons, Lord Kartikeya and Lord Ganesha, but only one of them could get the sacred fruit. To decide who deserved the fruit more, Lord Shiva asked them to circumnavigate the world thrice, and the one who finished the navigation first would be blessed with the fruit. The elder son, Lord Kartikeya, eager to win the race, left on his vehicle, a peacock, while Lord Ganesha wondered how he was ever going to be victorious riding his rat-vehicle.

After ambitiously circling the earth thrice, Kartikeya returned to find Lord Ganesha already home. Lord Ganesha had won the race, but instead of the earth, he had circled around Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati--who were his idea of the world. He was blessed with the fruit of knowledge, and came to be known as the Lord of Knowledge.

This story is a lesson on how parents can never cease to be important, even if you are a god. This lesson has the power to change the fate of millions of abandoned parents today.

3. Forgiveness is the ultimate virtue

The legend says that Lord Ganesha once cursed the moon for mocking his pot-belly after he was returning from a satiating dinner party thrown by the Lord of Fortune, Kuber. The lover of food and desserts, Lord Ganesha was returning home after having a hearty meal, when he stumbled and rolled over on his belly. The Moon saw it from high above, and burst into a cynical laughter that miffed Lord Ganesha, and compelled him to curse him. Lord Ganesha cursed the moon to disappear from the sky completely, while he begged for forgiveness. Ultimately, the generous Lord Ganesha gave into his requests, but since he couldn't revoke the curse , he reduced the disappearance span of the moon from the sky to one day.

Lord Ganesha's story explains how anger gets to the best of us, but it is our power to overcome it that makes us a better human being.

4. You should finish every task you take up

The legend says that sage Vyasa (Ved Vyasa) wanted to write the epic, Mahabharata, and he requested Lord Ganesha to write it down while he narrated the verse. The Lord agreed on one condition--Sage Vyasa was supposed to finish reciting the verses without a pause, and Lord Ganesha would write without taking a break. The two sat down to write one of the greatest epics known to mankind, but faith had something else in store--Lord Ganesha's pen broke while he was still writing. Lord Ganesha broke one of his tusks, and continued writing the epic.

Lord Ganesha sacrificed his own tusk to finish a task meant for greater good. If we could all imbibe this lesson from him, wed all be closer to success than we already are.

5.  Always stand up for your self-respect

Legend has it that once, all the gods and goddesses left Lord Ganesha in-charge of the Swargalok, as they left with Lord Vishnus marriage procession headed towards Goddess Laxmis abode. Lord Ganesha was tricked into taking care of Swargalok, because the other deities were embarrassed of his physical appearance and massive diet. On getting to know the truth, Lord Ganesha wanted to avenge himself, and devised a clever plan that would make them realise his importance. Ganesha sent his rat-vehicle, Gajasur, to dig up the roads that led to Goddess Laxmi's abode, and he obeyed. As expected, the deities couldn't proceed further, and called for help. A farmer who was crossing by the road decided to help the deities, and pulled out the carriage stuck in the road in the first attempt after chanting Lord Ganesha's name. He explained how only Lord Ganesha's name could have induced the strength in him to lift the carriage, since he is the Remover of Obstacles. This made the deities realise that there's more to a being than his physical appearance, and they returned to offer their apologies to Lord Ganesha.

Lord Ganesha's story is a lesson to never let anyone undermine your abilities, or your physical appearance cloud peoples judgement of you.


- By our guest author