Tomorrow (23/09/2018) is Ganesh Visarjan! Lord Ganesha has stayed with us for the last ten days, and blessed our families with peace and happiness. Now it is time to say good bye to him until next year’s festivities. Om Shree Ganeshaya Namaha!
One thing to keep in mind is, what impact the murti is going to make on the environment after you immersed it in water. Ganesh Visarjan is such a beautiful tradition, but if you think about it, in the days when it all started the idols weren’t made of plastic, the colours people used to paint them didn’t contain harmful chemicals and decorations were made of natural materials! You may have seen videos on the internet, showing devotees throwing the idols carelessly into ponds or places where the idol will become litter. We have worshiped Ganesh-ji for the last ten days, turning him into rubbish that dirties and endangers our environment is an insult not just to Him, but to Mother Earth as well.
To help you avoid this happening, we have collected 3 ideas you could use to reduce the festival’s impact on the environment.
1. Eco-Friendly idols
More and more people decide to bring home bio-degradable idols. Many of us even make our own with clay or home-made play dough! There are lots of recipes and how-to videos on the internet, so people of all abilities will find one that they can do! Just make sure the water you immerse your idol is moving – i.e. a river, canal or sea; ponds might be negatively affected.
2. Re-usable idols
If you don’t feel very crafty or don’t have access to bio-degradable idols, why not choose one that you can re-use next year? A murti made of marble or metal could be used again and again, without it becoming a burden on the Eco-system! The idea is simple: immerse the idol in water and then bring it home and put it away for next year. You could do this in a body of water near you, or even at home in the sink or in a clean bucket.
3. Symbolic Immersion
If you are worried about water damage, you could conduct the visarjan symbolically. Some ideas are to simply sprinkle some water over the idol and wipe it off, or to use a betel nut as a substitute and immerse that instead of the murti! In both cases, after visarjan, you can pack your idol and put it away until next year.
We hope to have inspired you to be environment-conscious during the festival!
Om Shree Ganeshaya Namaha!