Visarjan is the act of returning an object used for worship back to nature. Hindu worship is filled with symbolism and every act and ritual has a deep spiritual meaning behind it. During a puja, the deity who is formless is invoked in an inanimate object like a picture, clay image or kalasa. This process id called prank pratishta. The devotee is then able to channel his devotion and prayer into this form which aids him in his prayers. Once the puja is over, the deity is ceremoniously returned to the formless. In the case of pictures, kalasas and vigrahas, they are turned North to signify the conclusion of the puja. In the case of clay murtis, they are submerged in water.
The immersion of the multi in water is known as visarjan. This practice is particularly prevalent in the worship of Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha is invoked in a clay multi, and puja is performed. The Almighty is realized through the five senses. Adoration to the deity’s beautiful form, the sweet scents of the flowers with which puja is performed, by touching the multi in obeisance with our hands, partaking the prasad offered to the deity and listening to the slouches and mantras for the deity. At the conclusion of the 3, 5, 7 or 11 days of worship, the Ganesha multi is immersed in water ceremoniously and is re-invoked the following year. This practice serves as a reminder to the devotee about the transitory nature of life and how our physical form is returned to the elements after death but the immortal soul is reincarnated in another form. Therefore the devotee is reminded to pursue wealth of wisdom that the soul can carry and not material wealth that is left behind upon death.
Lord Ganesha’s worship through making of His multi in clay and the subsequent visarjan enables the devotee to pursue a spiritual path without the obstacles one might face. May Lord Ganesha lead us on the path of intellect and wisdom and allow us to break free from the attachment to material pursuits.
Ganapati Bappa Morya!