Sunday, September 01, 2019

The Ganesha Arati Book: Understanding Sukhakarta Dukhaharta, 2019

© Atah

Sukhakarta Dukhaharta—the harbinger of light and the dispeller of darkness—is one of the most popular aratis, or devotional songs and hymns, in the large repertory of Hindu religious anthems.

It is a heartfelt prayer by the devout, seeking the Lord’s miraculous intervention in bestowing peace and happiness on the worshipper and removing pain and obstacles from his life.

The arati is believed to have been composed by Samarth Ramadas, the renowned 17th-century poet-saint from the west-central state of Maharashtra, in praise of the beloved and endearing Hindu deity, Ganesha.

It is said that Sant (or Saint) Ramadas was inspired to compose the arati, in Marathi, after he was blessed with the vision of Mayureshwara, a form of Ganesha, in a temple at Morgaon in Pune district of the state.

Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu god of wisdom, intellect and new beginnings, is revered by people across the country but most of all in Maharashtra and in the neighbouring states. The patron deity of arts and sciences is loved and feared in equal measure, though he is chiefly venerated as the god of benevolence, one who does good to those who reach out to him and seek his protection. For that reason Ganesha occupies a special place in the pantheon of Hindu gods as well as in the hearts and minds of devotees, young and old. Children, especially, hold him in awe and love him as a dear friend.  

The Ganesha Arati Book: Understanding Sukhakarta Dukhaharta is more than an exposition of one of the most widely sung aratis at holy rituals (known as pujas) and religious ceremonies; especially during Ganesh Chaturthi, the popular 11-day annual festival celebrating the birth and glory of Ganesha. It brings out the essence of the hymn in a way that will make worshippers—and families who pray together—aware of its inspiring message, even as they join hands and chant the arati with joyful enthusiasm before the resplendent idol of Ganesha. For, to know the true significance of an arati or prayer is to enrich the soul.

The book provides an easy-to-understand English translation of Sukhakarta Dukhaharta, the glorification of Ganesha, in three main stanzas and a chorus stanza repeated after every stanza. The stanzas are interspersed with three fascinating stories—The Legend of Mayureshwara, The Birth of Ganesha and The Story of Kubera’s Feast—which trace the origins of the deity and narrate one of his more famous lessons in humility and human values.

Apart from the excellent rendering of the arati, a lot of thought, research and imagination has gone into this beautifully-designed book. The horizontal format has been inspired by the pathi, in the size and style of ancient scriptures and aratis. Every page of the 48-page hardbound book consists of colourful motifs and illustrations in India's rich temple tradition. A glossary at the end offers a list of non-English words and their explanations. All these elements make The Ganesha Arati Book: Understanding Sukhakarta Dukhaharta a joy to behold, read and preserve for the next generation.

The book is published by Atah Lifestyle, a Pune-based company engaged in making objects related to Indian art, culture and tradition, and is available on its website as well as on Amazon and Amazon


  1. This sounds fascinating, Prashant. I really like the blend of style, form and illustration with the subject matter. It sounds like a great fit.

    1. Margot, there are some wonderful stories about Lord Ganesha, the much-loved elephant-headed Hindu god, and his worship.

  2. Very interesting Prashant - thanks for sharing this with us.

    1. You're welcome, Moira. It was different from what I usually read and review.