Bala Chandra Sankashti Chathurthi Vrat is observed by invoking Bhagwan Ganesha. This Sankashti Chathurthi Vrat occurs in the Krishna Paksha Chathurthi of Phalguna month as per Amantha and Phalgun month as per Purnimantha calendars.
The general form of Sri Sankashti Ganapathi as the destroyer of troubles is of golden hue, attired in blue dress sitting on red lotus. He is in varadha mudra bestowing abundance and is holding a goad, a noose and a bowl of payasam.
For the Year 2022, Bala Chandra Sankashti Chathurthi occurs on Saturday, 11th March 2023. The exact duration of the Chathurthi Tithi and the time of the moon rise are to be ascertained from the respective regional calendar.
The form of Sri Vinayaka for worshipping in this Vrat is Sri Bala Chandra Maha Ganapathi. The Peeta is Sri Agama.
The devotees wake up early in the morning. After bathing, the puja place at home is cleaned. The vigraha or the picture of Sri Ganapathi is decorated with flowers. Chandan and Kumkum are applied. Lamps and Dhup are lit.
Slokams / Stotrams invoking Sri Ganapathi are recited. The story concerned with the Sankashti Chathurthi Vrat is read and recited.
Some people observe fasting for the day. By the evening, special abhishekams and archanas are done at Ganapathi temples.
After having the darshan of Chandra, the moon, they partake the prasadam which was offered to God as Neivedyam. The Neivedyam mostly consists on modhakam, sundal, payasam and other related rice preparations.
Giving daan of food (Annadanam) to the poor and needy is of utmost importance.
The ardent devotees of Bhagwan Ganesha consider the Sankashti Chathurthi festivals as highly auspicious.
As per the legend, Sri 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, Bhagwan Shiva, Goddess Parvathi, Bhagwan Ganesh and Bhagwan 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 Bhagwan Shiva, he had sung songs in His praise. Then he gave the fruit to Bhagwan Shiva.
Bhagwan Shiva and Sri Brahma
Bhagwan Shiva asked Sri Brahma “Narada has brought only one fruit. The fruit cannot be cut as it has to be consumed wholly. To which of my children should I give this?”. Sri Brahma, without any hesitation, said “You can give it to your younger child”. So, Bhagwan Shiva gave the fruit to Bhagwan Muruga.
Bhagwan Vinayaka’s anger
Bhagwan 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. Bhagwan 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.
Bhagwan Ganesh’s curses
Bhagwan 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 fade away; 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 diminished. Even Devas could not get their nectar. There was famine everywhere.
Devas’ plea to Bhagwan Ganesha
To alleviate the plight of the living beings, Devas went to Kailash and approached Sri Ganapathi.
They prayed to Him:
“Oh Bhagwan, 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.
”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 the Devas taught Chandra the Ekaksha mantra of Bhagwan Ganesha. He also advised him to regularly worship Bhagwan Ganesha.
Chandra went to the banks of Mandakini river. Chanting the Ekasha Mantra of Bhagwan Ganesha, he did penance on Him.
Bhagwan Ganesha was pleased with his penance. He appeared before him. Chandra prostrated before Sri Vinayaka. He ardently apologized for his mistake.
Bhagwan 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.
The story has to be read and recited during Balachandra Sankashti / Sankata Hara Chathurthi Vrat.[As an aside to this narrative, the mango episode has another legend. When contemplating as to who should be given the fruit, Bhagwan 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.”
Bhagwan Muruga immediately started his trip on the peacock, His Vahan. Bhagwan 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.
Bhagwan Gajanan finished His round (which was earlier than Bhagwan Muruga) and got the fruit from Bhagwan Shiva.]
It is believed that sincere observation of all the Sankata Hara Chathurthi Vrats shall
-result in fulfillment of the wishes;
-alleviate all problems in life;
-bring in prosperity;
-assure no re-birth; and
-ensure attainment of salvation in Ganesh Loka.
The particulars of Sankashti Vrats in general, Vikata Sankashti Chathuthi, Eka dhantha Sankashti Chathurthi, Krishna Pingala Sankashti Chathurthi, Gajanan Sankashti Chathurthi, Heramba Sankashti Chathurthi, Vigna Raja Sankashti Chathurthi, Vakra Thunda Sankashti Chathurthi, Ganadhipa Sankashti Chathurthi, Akrutha Sankashti Chathurthi, Lambodara Sankashti Chathurthi and Dwajapriya Sankashti Chathurthi are narrated in the previous articles.
The rest of the Sankashti Vrats shall be narrated in the subsequent articles of the series.
The Story of Sri Bala Chandra Ganapathi was referred from the book titled Sri Vinayaka Vijayam written by Sri. Vidwan N. Subramanian in Tamil.
Bhagwan Ganesha is referred with His other names such as Sri Vinayaka, Sri Vignesh, Sri, Gajanan and Sri Ganapathi.
Bhagwan Muruga is referred with His other names such as Sri Subramanya and Sri Shanmukha.