This page courtesy of http://www.vi1.org
Mahaganapati Tarpanam is a ritual involving invocation whereby we offer our happiness to Lord Ganapati. The ritual involves taking a leaf (beatle leaf or any leaf) and making a small pyramid of turmeric on top of it - into which Lord Ganapati is invoked. The pivotal ritual involves offering 444 tarpanams (or water offerings) to this "turmeric" ganapati. By the end of the ritual the turmeric pyramid gets dissolved with the water offerings yielding a sacred and holy water that can be used for bathing the following day. The leaf from the puja can be preserved for later use (see below).
The sacred scriptures recommend doing this ritual for 40 days i.e. doing the 444 tarpanams every day for 40 days. [While doing it for 40 days has many benefits, it does not mean that we cannot do it as and when we want to. In other words, Guruji recommends doing it as often as our schedule permits and does not force us to follow the 40 day regimen, even though he does admit that its full benefit comes from following the 40 day sankalpam]. After conclusion of the 40 day period, a small homam is recommended into which the 40 dried leaves (from each of the 40 days ) are offered. If you are unable to perform the homam for some reason, you can offer the leaves as manure in a forest visualizing that the all the elements of the leaves are being absorbed and recycled by mother nature completely.
As Guruji describes in the audio, the benefit of this tarpanam is in that it gives the person : Aayu (Longevity), Aarogyam (Health), Aishwaryam (Wealth), Balam (Strength), Pushti (Fulfillment), Mahat (Greatness), Yashaha (Fame), Kavitvam (Poetry), Bhukti (the Power to Enjoy) and Mukti (Liberation).
In essence if we have desires in any (or all) of these dimensions, the ritual is said to remove obstacles and bring the desires to fruition. As you can easily see, it covers the entire gamut of our living and therefore it helps alleviate our day-to-day problems as well as propel us on the spiritual path.
The dissolution process of the "turmeric ganapati" during the tarpanam is a representation of how are stiffness (from fear) melts away when the blissful divine grace starts flowing. In essence the solidity of the base fears is transformed into the pleasure of creativity and fulfillment. And that principle is at the core of how dreams and desires become a reality.
Some Additional Notes about the Ritual
1. Prior to embarking on the ritual itself, it is recommended that you listen to the audio (about 30 minute duration) as Guruji does give some instructions and it would be prudent to familiarize with them.
2. Women should continue the 40 day routine even during the time of their monthly periods. Guruji says that this 40 day ritual was in fact designed by the ancient sages to show in no uncertain terms that it is perfectly fine for women to do puja during their monthly periods.
3. The core mantra chanted during the tarpanam is the Mahaganapati Mantra - "Om Srim Hrim Klim Glaum Gam Ganapataye Vara Varada Sarvajanam Me Vasamanaya Swaha" followed by a Tarpayami at which point you offer the water to the Ganapati. Also coupled with this Mantra, Guruji breaks the mantra into smaller bijas and follows these as well with Tarpayami. So in effect (after the first few chants) you will be offering the water two times in quick succession i.e. any time guruji says Tarpayami in the audio, its a cue for the water to be offered. As stated above, the total number of offerings is 444.
4. If you need a text version of the entire chanting in the audio, please send me an email and I will email you a MS Word version of it. As always, please let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to either answer them or get an answer to them from Guruji.
With love - Alok