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Benefits of Ganesh Festival

Some say lot of money is spent on these festivals. Hindu nation is not a nation of slaves. It is utter foolishness to tell human beings to live as prisoners do. Pomp and Splendour are parts of any festival and every work requires money. Instead of spending on vices, it is better to spend on righteous purposes. In such festival everyone spends money according to his own choice. There is no compulsion. If people cannot spend eight or ten days with enthusiasm and fervour and if they are not capable of spending some amount of money, that nation should be considered as good as dead. Some may call it as extravaganza but it is necessary for making this journey of life happy and peaceful. Suggestions are made to spend this amount for setting up industries. These people should have thought how many mills could be set up from the amount spent on boot, stockings, dress and fashion. Are not lakhs spent just to attend the National Congress? Who can call it unnecessary expenditure? To decide which type of expenditure is good for the nation, you must find out if the programme creates enthusiasm. People should bring to our notice if money is wasted on a particular case. But when a general attack is made on Ganesh festival it only indicates malafide. It is said that children's study time is wasted. It is surprising that these lunatics have not complained that housewives do not cook rice properly due to haste because they have to rush to visit Ganesh pandal. If schools are closed frequently for two days no objection. But time is wasted in chanting names of Ganesh. Governor sahib attends cricket matches but at our festival there are no big sahibs. Therefore childish allegation are thrown at us. If governor sahib starts visiting this festival, newspapers will shower praise on us. Some people are afraid that more candidates will fail this year. This fear is imaginary, they should know. After the results are declared the picture will be clear. The impressions that the students will have during these ten days are certainly more valuable than the school education. The intellect tempered by religious thought will be useful to them for rest of their life. Noble thought and firmness of mind are nurtured here. This will give meaning to your life. Festivals are schools to teach these things. The school education is rarely useful in facing with stark realities in day to day affairs.

Translation of article published in Marathi daily "Kesari"
22nd September 1896

Religion and Religious festivals

Lokmanya Tilak presided over a lecture on Brahmin religion and its wide parameter on Monday at Jagannath Chawl, Phanaswadi on 16th sepetmber, 1901. Tilak concluded the meeting in following words,

"The new turn taken by the Ganesh festival recently is very useful from national point of view. These days our religion is passing through a gloomy phase. But we think about our religion at least once a year during this festival. If you think this way, you will realise the importance of Ganesh festivals. English education has changed the directions of religious thinking among our youth. European children get their education in such a way that human mind does not drift away from religion. Our sense of honour and prestige rests on clerical jobs. Mind is festive during this period. So, it is better to discuss this point. I earnestly tell my people about the religion to emphasise that religion does not confine to caste and what you eat and drink. Hindu religious thinking is far more deep than this. Our religious principle does not discard anyone. Every one is welcome at His house. Religious teaching starts from imparting knowledge. Religion involves deep and thorough thinking process. It is not a subject of shallow ridicule. Our religion describes the nature of soul, it says that the soul and God are one. The soul within our body is a part of God, it is emphasised. Some people unnecessarily give wrong interpretation of our religion without properly understanding Vedanta. Be proud of Hindu Dharma. Our country is called Hindusthan because of us (Hindus). It is not just a name to a land. Taking a point of view in mind everyone should try to place before the people the bright side of our true religion. Such religious festival helps people to think about religion."

Translation of the News published in Marathi Daily "Kesari"
17th September 1901

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