If you’ve been a true-blooded Punekar for a large part of your growing and adult years, chances are that you are familiar with the iconic Ganesha festivities in the city and the Marathi arati or hymn, Sukhakarta Dukhaharta. But, think again; are you really as familiar with the arati as you think you are? Or have you been singing and interpreting the arati incorrectly, all this time? The Ganesha Arati Book; Understanding Sukhakarta Dukhaharta is all set to change that for you.
As cities grew larger and families became nuclear, the singing of hymns especially of the likes of the Marathi one, Sukhakarta Dukhaharta became more of a ritualistic routine. At Atah, we decided to write a book on this popular hymn (arati) to help readers transcend mere ritualistic forms of worship and instead understand its very essence, in context of the many charming tales of the amiable deity.
The Ganesha Arati Book, is an arati book with a difference. For one, it indeed looks different! Laid out horizontally, almost like a pothi or manuscript of primeval scriptures, this is a very impressive looking and meticulously designed hardback. Second, it’s nothing like a traditional arati book that typically contains a series of verses printed across pages, for devotees to routinely read through. Instead, every page, every motif and illustration has been meticulously crafted with the idea of helping the reader engage with the arati and the legends of Ganesha in a meaningful and artistic manner. The book is a work of art! It’s easy to read, wonderfully vibrant and created for every kind of reader. You can read on the go, thanks to its convenient size. The sequence of presentation is interesting; the arati is presented across two folds, one in Marathi and the other, an English transliteration for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the Devanagari script. From children to seniors, from the devout to those simply interested in Indian mythology, The Ganesha Arati Book is appealing to everyone. Particularly reader-friendly are the set of instructions on Page 10 of the book that handhold readers through navigating the book. Similarly, the Glossary towards the end of the book introduces readers to a list of non-English words that appear throughout the book. The book is peppered with endearing legends about Ganesha too, which makes it both appealing and relevant to readers across ages, even in the 21st century.
Ganesha in many ways is an icon that is hardly bound by the shackles of language and culture, which is what makes him such a universal favourite. And, The Ganesha Arati Book; Understanding Sukhakarta Dukhaharta successfully celebrates his universal appeal in the most unconventional and enchanting manner. It makes a great gift too, whatever the occasion; a baby shower, a housewarming or a wedding.