Pancha Ganapati is a modern Hindu family festival of the Five-Faced (pancha means “five”) Ganesha. The festival was created by my guru many years ago and extends over a 5-day period. Each day has a particular focus and a spiritual practice for all members of the family to perform. Here’s what my guru has to say about the first day.
My guru, Gurudeva Sivaya Subramuniyaswami says in his book “Loving Ganesha” that is published by his Himalayan Academy,
“The winter solstice has always been a festive time of year in all countries and religions, among Hindus especially, for it is a traditional season for the worship of Lord Ganesha. In Hindu Vedic Astrology this time of year marks the end of the sun’s southward movement and the beginning of its movement north, the change from dakshinayana to uttarayana. Since Hindus do not celebrate Christmas, they often find it difficult to relate in a meaningful way to those who do. Their children are often embarrassed when asked why they do not receive gifts on December 25. Adults feel the need to give gifts and mail greeting cards as well as receive them from their relatives, neighbors, friends and business associates. Pancha Ganapati is a Hindu expression of this natural season of worship, gift-giving and celebration.”
During each of the five days of Pancha Ganapati a different family sadhana (spiritual practice) is focused upon.
The below guidelines for Day 1 of the Pancha Ganapati festival is taken from Gurudeva’s book, Loving Ganesha.
DECEMBER 21, YELLOW
The family sadhana for the first day of Pancha Ganapati is to create a vibration of love and harmony among immediate family members. The day begins early, and the entire family works together to design and decorate the shrine with traditional symbols, rangoli, lamps and more. Then a grand puja is performed invoking the spirit of Pancha Ganapati in the home. The sadhana of the day now begins. The family sits together for the purpose of easing any strained relationships that have arisen during the year. They make amends one with another for misdeeds performed, insults given, mental pain and injuries caused and suffered. When forgiveness is offered to all by one and all, they speak of each other’s good qualities and resolve that in the days ahead they will remember the futility of trying to change others and the practicality of changing oneself to be the silent example for all to witness. Gifts are then exchanged and placed unopened before Pancha Ganapati. As family harmony is important to all Hindus, this sadhana must be taken very seriously.