Local Story October 2019


Ganesh Utsav at Panch Smruti​

Panch Smruti celebrates 11th Ganesh Utsav... In keeping up the tradition of a meaningful festive celebration, this year Panch Smruti spread the message of the importance of Environment conservation and ways to do it and spread awareness about it. When it comes to a cause like this, every act counts. The entire decoration was done around that. Small kids made posters and taken pledge to ‘Save the Planet’.

Bhajan & Mahaprasadam was organised on 3rd day and Satyanarayan puja & Hawan on 4th day. Panch Smruti Ladies group distributed home made prasad for devotees in the evening for all 5 days.  Panch Smruti has also joined hands with NGO Goonj for a collection drive of cloths, essentials materials, medicines etc. from the Society residents from 1st Sep 2019 (Sunday) to 6th Sep 2019 (Friday) to support Flood affected people of Maharashtra.


25 years of selfless service and Devotion … Team HHH​

On the auspicious occasion of Anant Chaturdashi, grand Bhandara was organized by Helping Hands for Humanity and Rambaug Powai Welfare Society for Powai Jheel Ka Raja ‘Ganpati Bappa’. Thousands of devotees had Mahaprasad seeking beloved Bappa’s blessings. This year the Bhandara was even more special as it completed 25 years of selfless service and devotion. The event saw large number of volunteers working selflessly to serve food to one and all. The vibrancy, energy and devotion of the volunteers added to the spirit of the festival.
The platform was used to spread awareness of the harmful practices adopted by us to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi causing enormous harm to the environment. In the course of 10 days, multiple Plaster of Paris idols are immersed in the lake water polluting it. The day after immersion, lot of shattered, broken idols and waste is seen around the lake. It is high time we collectively assess our religious practices and take a conscious call to prevent any further harm and destruction to Bappa’s nature and environment. For sure, Bappa also would not want his devotees to worship Him like this.
Festivals are meant to bring us together, promote oneness and spread happiness. Celebrating the festival for its true spirit, the day brought everyone together regardless of their faith, religion, caste or social and economic status. Together, let us pledge to save our environment, spread happiness and practices that are safe for our generations to come. Together, we can!
As far as there are people who care for His creation, there is hope for a better future…a better world!


Tracing the elephant God’s cultural influence in India & abroad​

This was the second year that my family had the pleasure of bringing Lord Ganesha to our home on the joyous occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. In all the past years of visiting houses, I noticed a pattern and it became even more clear to me last year when our friends and family visited our home. It was pretty much just eating food and mingling. To me, I felt that everyone only stayed for 10 minutes and left and the visit was incomplete. I believed that it was missing some substance. Therefore, we decided to do something different and interesting this year.
As we were brainstorming ideas I decided to open my laptop and do some research and found a few interesting things. When I showed my parents they were so intrigued. I decided that if I did some more research I could showcase something worth engaging for every visitor, something people would love to know about. Something more purposeful. And with that thought, I spent the entire weekend researching tirelessly until I came up with a gallery that I am now very proud of.
It was a gallery showcasing the trace, relevance and value of Ganesha all over the world. My research covered a lot of history and facets of religions that revolve around Lord Ganesha. I exhibited pieces on Lord Ganesha’s presence in Japan, America, Indonesia, Australia, and more. Influences of Ganesha in Jainism and Buddhism. It was intriguing to know that the concept of Buddhism and Lord Ganesha spread all over Asia through the silk route. Starting off in India then to Nepal, from there to China and then all over Asia. Hmm… now I can relate to 7th grade history textbook. Wow!
In addition, I found theories, books and tons of images of rare sculptures traced way back to the 4th century.  I came across an interesting hypothesis on “The Origin of Ganesha - Worship”. Where famous 18-century historian, John Keay establishes that sculptures from the Gupta dynasty of the 4th century could be the first worshipable forms of Ganesha, which also probably became the transitioning point from worshipable sculptures to worshipable images.
All these things just made me so curious and eager to know more.  I decided to compile multiple archives to create this gallery. Pretty much a museum in a 2D format. I started collating information from the 4th through the 10th century, each piece of sculpture & art form talking about it’s origin, current location and purpose.
Aside from this, I added to my mini-museum a section explaining visitors about various legends of Ganesha. One exciting piece was the origin of the phrase “Ganpati Bappa Morya”. We all say it every day of this festival but nobody really even knows what it means and that just blew my mind away. Maximum people spent time at this particular piece that talked about the legend of Morya Gosavi and his sanjivan samadhi (the burying of oneself alive in the tomb). It was so nice to see all of our guests glued to the gallery wall. There was a great sense of fulfilment as my goal of making something purposeful had been accomplished. And I must say that Indian culture is full up of amazing facts that must be explored during these festivals.


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Rain water floods Ganapati pandal

All residents of Magnolia and Orchid eagerly look forward to the Ganesh festival. The 5 day event is a eclectic mix of religious and social program. Every evening after Arti all devotees enjoy dinner which the organizers call as ‘prasad’.
This year rain gave everyone a lot of discomfort. One of the events that has been organized for more than 10 years is the ‘Diya’ puja. Women dressed in traditional sarees perform Puja to the lamp. It starts with Haldi-Kum kum being put on the lamps. They are then decorated with Garlands. After that the lamps are placed on Banana Leaves and then all the ladies collectively chant 1008 names of Lord Vishnu for everyone's prosperity and good health. Unfortunately this year the pandal was flooded with rain. But that did not deter the ladies from going ahead with the rituals. The enthusiasm of the ladies was impressive. They performed the Puja by with water right under their chairs. Even men were seen helping the women to do the Puja efficiently.
After performing the ‘Diya Puja’ lunch was served to all the devotees. Hopefully next year it won’t rain during the festival.