VinAyaka Chathurthi

September 15, 2007

These lines are from Muthuswamy Dikshithar’s song, “Siddhi VinAyakam” in the rAgam ShanmukhapriyA:

“bhadrapada mAsa chathurthyAm brAhmNadi poojitham”…(one who is worshipped by brahmaNAs and others on the fourth day of Bhadrapada month)

and these from “mahAgaNapathim” in nAttai rAgam, by the same composer:

“mooshika vAhana mOdaka priyam”…(one who rides on the rat, and is fond of “modakam”)

Today IS the fourth day of the waxing phase of the moon, of the monsoon month, Bhadra. Today is the festival of GaNEshA, GaNapathi,vighnEshwarA, and the many other names that the elephant-headed god is known by…he is the son of Shiva and Parvathi (in my city, the mother was also worshipped as Gowri, yesterday), the elder brother (agrajA) of Karthik, a benevolent, pot-bellied God who removes all obstacles, and is hence worshipped at the beginning of every enterprise. He is Ekadantha or the One-Tusked, having broken off the other to inscribe the epic, MahAbhAratha, at the dictation of the sage, VyAsa. He has a noose and an elephant-goad in his hands, and wears a snake as a girdle. He is GaNapathi/GaNEshA..the leader of the masses, the people (gaNa).

Here’s the puja that I did at home:

Vinayaka chaturthi puja, 150907

You can see the little silver figurine under the picture of GaNEshA.

And here you can see the fruits, and the “mOdakam” that I have made as an offering:

vinAyaka poojA 150907

And the speciality offering for this festival is the “modaka” or, as we call it in Tamizh, “kozhakkattai” (yes, practice saying it…it has that “zh” sound and is a little hard on the tongue at first!)….

Kozhakkattai ...3 types

These are made of cooked rice flour, into which different types of stuffing (poorNam…the word means, “full”) are put in and then shaped differently, and steamed till they are done. I think they are like the momos that one can get in Tibet, but those have vegetable fillings, too.

There are (to my knowledge) three varieties of stuffings for mOdakam; two are sweet, made with coconut/jaggery/cardamom and gingelly seeds/jaggery.The third variety that I know of is savoury; it is made by soaking uLutham paruppu (udad dAl, a kind of lentil) and grinding it with salt, chilies and curry leaves, and then steaming it until it is done. Then it is crumbled and used as a filling. This is actually MY favourite…the eLLu poorNam (gingelly) ones are the “mercedes benz logo” ones; the classic “mOdakam” shape are the thEngAi poorNam ones; and the scallop-edged ones (fun to make!) are the uLutham poorNam ones.

So here are the “vella kuzhakkattai” (sweet; vellam is jaggery) and “uppu kuzhakkattai” (uppu is salt, so savoury) for each of you…

along with my hope that GaNEsha blesses you with happiness and peace of mind.

This is particularly for all my readers, beginnning with my dearest daughter, who are far away from their homeland, or home town, studying, working, living happily, but missing things like this…I am thinking of every one of you.

And purely for the Tamizh: “innikku, shamayal….uruLaikkizhangu roast, chinna vengAya sAmbAr, carrot kOshumalli, veLLrikkAi thayir pacchadi!” (today’s lunch menu..the vegetables used were cucumber, carrots, potatoes and shallots.)

We have a saying in Tamizh, “Aadi azhaitthathO, Thai thudaitthathO” which means that the month of Aadi (mid August to mid-September) brings a lot of festivals, and the month of Thai (mid-January to mid-February), brings them to a close.

Next on the list will be Navarathri, I had posted a picture of my friend with the Golu last year…