This is what our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda wrote about Sri Ganesha Chaturthi, "Lord Ganesha is worshipped first in any kind of prayer. His Names are repeated first before an auspicious work is begun, before any kind of worship is begun. Without the blessings and Grace of Lord Ganesha, nothing whatsoever can be achieved. No action can be undertaken without His support. Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom and bliss. He is the Lord of Brahmacharins. He is foremost amongst the celibates".
The Master further explains in Hindu Fasts and Festivals, how it came about that Lord Ganesha cursed the moon. On one of His birthdays, He was proceeding from house to house accepting the offerings of sweet puddings, of which he is very fond. Having eaten a good number of these, He set out on His vehicle, the mouse. Suddenly, the mouse stumbled ‒ it had seen a snake and became frightened ‒ with the result that Ganesha fell onto the ground. His stomach burst open and all the sweet puddings came out. But Ganesh stuffed them back into His stomach and, catching hold of the snake, tied it around His belly. Witnessing this, the moon laughed heartily. This unseemly attitude of the moon annoyed Ganesha greatly. So, He pulled out one of His tusks and hurled it at the moon, and cursed that no one should look at the moon on the Ganesha Chaturthi Day. If anyone does, he will surely earn a bad name, censure or ill-repute. However, if by mistake, someone happens to look at the moon on this day, then the only way he could be freed from the curse would be by repeating or listening to the story of how Lord Krishna cleared His character regarding the "Syamantaka Jewel".
This intriguing story, which is quoted in the Bhagavatam, was read at our Satsangs. Our Divine Master concludes, "Remember not to look at the moon on that day as it behaved unbecomingly towards the Lord. This really means avoiding, from this very day, the company of all those who have no faith in God, and who deride God, the Guru and religion. Take fresh resolves and pray sincerely to Lord Ganesha for inner strength to attain success in all your undertakings".
As a motivation to all devotees of Lord Ganesha, kindly permit us to narrate an inspiring incident which took place in Barcelona, Spain, a few years ago, when the Hindu Community there decided to celebrate this auspicious event. Before the procession, they sought the permission of the City Authorities. They also requested the permission of the churches on the route of the procession. To the surprise of all, one of the Church authorities insisted that the Murthi of Lord Ganesha come inside the Church and take the salutations of the congregation! This is the inter-faith harmony and catholicity we should all strive for.
Our Master concludes as follows, "May the blessings of Sri Ganesha be upon you all! May He remove all the obstacles that stand in your spiritual path! May He bestow on you all material prosperity as well as liberation".
On this auspicious Ganesha Chaturthi Day, and every day that follows, may the Grace and blessings of Lord Ganesha settle in the core of our hearts and enable us to meet the daily challenges of life with courage and conviction. Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah!