“Durva” is the name of a grass that is considered auspicious. Easily grown in most conditions and commonly available in many places, this is treated as a very special offering to be made to Lord Ganapati. Referred to by many names, such as Arugampul in Tamil and Doob in Hindi, it is known as Karuka in Malayalam.
Durva grass has a lot of value, both in the medicinal and the spiritual fields. Recognizing its therapeutic properties, the ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda has been using this Karuka grass for preparing medicines for treating various ailments. This plant is also believed to be a nutrient and a coolant, and there are people who consume its juice regularly for maintaining good health.
Spirituality considers Karuka grass a symbol of fertility, purity and prosperity. This plant is held as auspicious, is used in the cleansing of any place and bestowing it with sacredness and is also given as a wedding gift to the bride by some people.
A garland is called a mala, and a Karuka Mala is a garland made out of the green Karuka grass. This is made as an offering to Lord Ganapati.
Ganapati is regarded as the son of Lord Shiva. He is hailed as a remover of obstacles and a harbinger of success, and is both loved and venerated. He has an elephant face, but also has a primordial form with a human face. He is celebrated as a hero of strength, as a happy dancer, as a sweet child and many more. It is considered a good custom to seek his blessings while starting any endeavor.
An offering is an oblation made to a deity. Even though the idols of the deities are made of stone, five metals or any other material, they are not mere inert objects, but are considered active matter imbibed with energies that can connect and resonate with human life forms. They have manifested in various forms on Earth, thus making themselves available to influence and elevate the lives of those who are willing to connect with them. An offering is a means of establishing such a connection with divinity.
In this ritual, Karuka Mala, the garland made of the sacred Durva grass is offered ceremonially to Lord Ganapati, and his idol is adorned with it. An archana, the Light and Sound Ceremony, is also performed in his praise. This can get for the devotees the blessings of the Lord and can help clear obstacles, afflictions and ill effects of negative forces like black magic, evil eyes, etc. These can also aid in strengthening their mental power and boost self-confidence, to a large extent.
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