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Chariot festival reminds man to control his passions

The Sri Sarwarjha Sidhi Vinayagar Temple situated at Modera is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and its annual festival commenced with the flag hoisting ceremony on August 24 and the chariot festival will take place on September 1 and the water cutting ceremony will be on September 2. All the religious rituals will be performed during the festival by the Chief Priest of the temple Sivagama Kiriya Yothi Shiva Shri Somasundara Kurugal.

The late S. Sellamuttu who was the former Mayor of Colombo, the late A. Sinnathamby, Umesha Sellamuttu and Dr. A.S. Kunasingham were responsible for the reconstruction and restoration of the temple which was in a state of dilapidated condition. In 1992, a major repair was done to the roof of the main Vinayagar temple. Even the Vasantha Mandapam was redone and in 1993 Mahakumbabishekam was performed.

When Dr. A.S. Kunasingham became the trustee of the temple, he took steps to give a new look to the temple. In 1994, the construction of the Gopuram was completed and subsequently the Mahakumbabishekam was held on June 10, 2005. The temple now has a magnificent look.

Sanctum

Every Hindu Temple has a Sanctum dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Hindus make this first offering to Lord Ganesha in all ritualistic worship. Be it pilgrimage, wedding, Yaga or House warming, Lord Ganesha is the first deity to be worshipped at the beginning of any ceremony. Vinayaga, Ganapathy, Vigneswara and Pillaiyar are some of the common appellations given to Lord Ganesha, the god with an elephant head. The bulky body of Lord Ganesha stands for the cosmos in its entirety. The huge belly signifies space containing all things and beings in the world. The trunk represents the sensitive reception of stimuli and cognition. It also signifies the faculty of discrimination.

The broken tusk signifies that he has broken away from ignorance which guides the path of God. The single tusk also denotes single mindedness in actions. The other tusk indicates brighter knowledge.

A common form of worship of Lord Ganesha is rapping at the forehead with knuckles and pulling earlobes with cross hands. This act helps in the purification of the Naadis. The smashing of coconut shows that the hard nut of ego should be cracked and get rid of before God and subsequently prostrated for complete surrender. Further, the camphor that is burnt in front of Lord Ganesha signifies that we have to burn our illusion of ego with the fire of true knowledge and leave no residue so that we may merge with God.

Body and soul

The Chariot or Ther symbolises human body and the statue of Lord Ganesha is the soul. In front of the Chariot are the wooden horses presenting in a galloping posture with the reins attached to their mouths held in the hands of the image of Lord Ganesha. The horses represent human fashions while the reins symbolises the necessity of restraining and guiding these passions by the soul.

The journey of the Chariot through the streets is an emblem of the progress of life. This shows that throughout his life, a man must control and guide his passions. The passions are the motive power, the driving force of life, but unrestrained and not properly guided, they will wreck a man's life. This is the symbolic meaning of Chariot or Ther festival.

 

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