Bala Chandra Ganapthi is one of the names of Sri Vinayak. He is called so because he sports the crescent moon on His head. The legend behind the same is narrated in the article.
As per the legend, Lord Brahma Himself has narrated the significance of Sri Bala Chandra Ganapathi as mentioned below:
Sri Brahma’s visit to Kailash
Sri Brahma had once visited Kailash. At that time, Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvathi, Lord Ganesh and Lord Muruga were seated together. Sri Brahma was pleased to have this combined darshan.
Sage Narada’s arrival
At that time, Sage Narada came to Kailash with a mango fruit in his hand. On seeing Lord Shiva, he had sung songs in His praise. Then he gave the fruit to Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva and Sri Brahma
Lord Shiva asked Sri Brahma “Narada has brought only one fruit. To which of my child should I give this?”. Sri Brahma, without any hesitation, said “You can give it to your younger child”. So, Lord Shiva gave the fruit to Lord Muruga.
Lord Vinayaka’s anger
Lord Vinayaka was peeved at Sri Brahma. He stared at Him threateningly. Sri Brahma was scared. He immediately fell at the feet of Sri Vinayaka and asked for forgiveness. Lord Vinayaka accepted His apology.
On seeing Sri Brahma prostrating before Sri Ganapathi, Chandra felt amused. He thought that Sri Brahma had degraded himself. So, he laughed out.
Lord Ganesh’s curses
Lord Ganesh was very much annoyed and perturbed by Chandra’s behavior. He felt that Chandra had insulted both Sri Brahma and Himself by laughing at them in the huge assembly.
So He cursed Chandra, “May your brightness get dull; May you shrink in size; May the people who see you get all kinds of troubles”.
With the onset of the curse, Chandra had lost his glow and luster; He had shrunk in his size; He had lost his valor. He could not roam around the galaxy; He had to just be confined in an obscure position.
Effect of the curse
As Chandra had become inactive, there was no one to do the duty of providing sustenance to the earth. The food grains’ growth got reduced. Even Devas could not get their nectar. There was famine everywhere.
Devas’ plea to Lord Ganesha
To alleviate the plight of the living beings, Devas went to Kailash and approached Sri Ganapathi. They prayed to Him “Oh Lord, as you are aware, the food grains grow on earth and we get nectar only because of the activities of Chandra; You only gave him that power; Since there is no sustenance, the work of Brahma as the creator and Sri Vishnu as the protector are not being done.
What Chandra had done by laughing at You and Sri Brahma is quite unpardonable; We are sure that he did the laughing without understanding the significance; We surmise that he is repenting his mistake;
So, for the welfare of all, please pardon Chandra”.
Sri Vinayaka’s dictate
Sri Ganapathi was pleased with Devas’ prayers. He was prepared to pardon Chandra but with certain riders.
He said,” It is important that Chandra be punished for his false pride; At the same time, the universe also should not suffer.
From now onwards, Chandra shall reduce his shape every day for fifteen days; Then he will grow in size for every day for fifteen days; Then he will start reducing in size; The fifteen days cycle of growth and de-growth shall be the permanent phenomenon.
However, when he is full, he will be very bright. Even in his reduced / growing shape, he can roam around the galaxy. He will be bestowed with the same powers of providing sustenance as before.
If anyone sights Chandra on Shukla Paksha Chathurthi, that person shall get into trouble. Exceptionally, if it happens to be Bhadrapada Shukla Paksha Chathurthi, there will be only good results.”
The Devas searched for Chandra and found him. They told him about Sri Vinayaka’s pardon and the riders. Chandra too had realized his mistake. He was pleased with the dictate of Sri Ganesha.
The leader of Devas taught Chandra the Ekaksha mantra of Lord Ganesha. He also advised him to regularly worship Lord Ganesha.
Chandra went to the banks of Mandakini river. Chanting the Ekasha Mantra of Lord Ganesha, he did penance on Him.
Lord Ganesha was pleased with his penance. He appeared before him. Chandra prostrated before Sri Vinayaka. He ardently apologized for his mistake.
Lord Ganesha said “I have reduced the effect of my curses on you based on the request made by the King of Devas. Now I am pleased with your penance. So, I will grant you a boon.
When you appear on a Krishna Paksha Chathurthi day, my devotees shall also worship you. The puja to me will not be complete without people having your darshan. If it happens to be a Tuesday, it will be even more auspicious.
I will also sport one of your forms on my head.”
Chandra was ecstatic at his elevated status.
Bala Chandra Ganapathi
Chandra had built a temple for Sri Ganapathi at the place where he did penance. He had established the vigraha of Sri Ganapathi with a crescent moon on the head. From then onwards, Chandra had resumed his duties.[As an aside to this narrative, the mango episode has another legend. When contemplating as to who should be given the fruit, Lord Shiva had come up with a testing idea. He told both his sons, “I can give this mango to only one of you. The fruit should not be cut. So, whoever goes round the universe and come back first shall get this fruit from me.”
Lord Muruga immediately started his trip on the peacock, His Vahan. Lord Ganesha, owing to His heavy form could not go around as quickly as Sri Shanmukha. He asked Sage Narada, “Is it true that the parents are the universe to the kids? Do kids have any universe than their parents?”. Narada saw the drift. He also realized that there is a great lesson for children to imbibe. So, he said that Sri Vinayaka was correct.
Immediately, Sri Vignesh just did a circumbulation of His parents by walking slowly. Meanwhile, Sri Subramanya had the vision of His brother ahead throughout the trip.
Lord Gajanan finished His round quickly and got the fruit from His parents.]