Sankashti Chathurthi Vrat

Sankashti Chathuthi Vrat
Sri Ganapathi

Sankashti Chathurthi Vrat is ascribed to Lord Sri Ganesha. The Vrat is also known as Sankata Hara Chathurthi.

Sankashti Chathurthi Vrat is observed on the fourth day from the full moon day. It is Krishna Paksha Chathurthi. This is different from Sri Vinaya Chathurthi which is observed on the Shukla Paksha Chathurthi.

Sankashti Chathurthi Vrat is observed for twelve days in a year, once a month. For the year with adhika maasa (excess month due to the movement of planets), thirteen vrats are observed. This adhika maasa Sankashti Chathurthi occurs once in four years.

Sri Vinayaka – Origin

There are innumerable versions on the origination of Sri Vinayaka.

Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi

As per Sri Vamana Puran, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi were living in a palace built by Sri Visvakarma, the celestial architect. Meanwhile, Indra, the head of Devas was worried that if Lord Shiva and Parvathi Devi begot a male child, his position would be dangerous.

Lord Shiva teasing

One day, Sri Maheshwara teasingly called Sri Uma Devi as “Kaali”. Sri Uma got upset that She was called thus because of Her dark color.

Sri Uma Devi penance

So, She did penance on Sri Brahma. When He asked Her the purpose of Her tapas, She said that She wanted to be fair complexioned. Lord Brahma consented.

Katyayani and Gowri

Sri Brahma had removed Her dark color and made it into a Goddess named Sri Katyayani. The fair colored Uma Devi was called as Sri Gowri.

Indra’s tactics

Indra tried to adopt various tactics to prevent the begetting of a male child by Sri Eshwara and Sri Eshwari.  Sri Parvathi was furious with this.

(The story so far is described thus in Sri Vamana Puran).

Sri Gowri’s deed

As per the legend and the beliefs, Sri Gowri had created a child form from Her bath powder and gave the child life. She had asked the child to keep guard when She was taking bath.

The Child’s bravery

Lord Shiva came back home. Not knowing Him, the child refused to allow Him. Lord Shiva was furious. He told His Ganas that the child needs some lessons in manners. On cue from Lord Shiva, the Ganas started fighting with the child.

As Lord Ganesha was made by Goddess Parvathi who is the embodiment of Shakthi, He was very powerful. The Ganas were not able to fight with Him after a stage. He stated emphatically that nobody can enter the place when His mother is bathing.

Narada’s appeasement

The celestial Sage Narada sensed the trouble. He took the Saptha Rishis with him to appease the child to stop the fight. Even that team failed.

Indra’s efforts

Then Indra, the King of Devas took the fight upon himself. He continued the war. But even his army had to beat the retreat as the Kid was extremely powerful.

Lord Shiva’s act

The situation had come to the extent where Lord Shiva had to intervene in the fight. He was enraged at the boy and severed His head.

Sri Parvathi’s outrage

Sri Parvathi Devi emerged after Her bath. She was furious that Her child was killed. Her anger was severe. She wanted to destroy the then existing universe and replace it with a new universe.

The Devas were anguished. They fell at Her feet and begged for mercy.  Lord Shiva also promised Her that Her son shall live again.

Lord Shiva giving life

Lord Shiva had come across the head of the baby elephant which had died. He fixed the elephant head to the child and the boy became live again.

There is another legend whereby Lord Shiva was said to affix the head of Gajasur whom He had destroyed.

Sri Parvathi Devi gave life to the child first. Lord Shiva gave life to the child for the second time. By giving life, Lord Shiva and Sri Parvathi had become the parents of Lord Ganesha.

Sankashti Chathurthi
Sri Ganesha with parents

Lord Shiva’s blessings

As per Sri Vamana Puran, Lord Shiva had named the Child as Vinayak as He was born with the support of only Mother and no Nayak was involved. Sri Vinayak was also named as Ganapathi, which means “the leader of the Ganas”.

It is also believed that only on the Krishna Paksha Chathurthi day, Lord Shiva had declared that Lord Ganesh shall be the prime God and as superior as Shiva, Parvathi, Vishnu and Lakshmi. Hence this day is celebrated as Sankashti Chathurthi or Sankata Hara Chathurthi.

Worshipping of Sri Vinayaka

Sri Bhavishya Puran states about worshipping Sri Vinayaka. There was a time when people on the earth were blessed with all the good things. They had become complacent.

As everything came to them easily, they did not give reverence and importance to God. This had irked Sri Brahma.

So, Sri Brahma made the situation worse for them. People started to have troubles in their lives. They approached Sri Brahma for guidance.

Sri Ganesha Pancharatnam
Sri Ganesha

He ordained that they should worship Sri Vinayaka if they wanted to get over the obstacles. From then onwards, people made it a practice to first worship Sri Vinayaka before embarking on any work or deed.

They appreciated the God’s grace for the happenings in their life, which thitherto they had taken for granted.

Sankashti Chathurthi – Significance

“Sankat” means Problems or troubles. “Hara” means removal. Hence Sankata Hara Chathurthi or Sankashti Chathurthi is observed for the removal of all the problems.

The greatness of Sankashti Chathurthi is said to be mentioned in Bhavishya Purana and Narasimha Purana.  The significance of Sankashti Chathurthi was said to be narrated by Sri Krishna to Yudishtra.

Each of the twelve or thirteen Shankashti Chathurthi Vrat is observed for a different form of Ganapathi on a different seat (Peeta). Each festival is also ascribed with a different story.   If the festival occurs on a Tuesday, it is termed as Angaraka Sankashti Chathurthi.

Chaitra Month

Sri Ganesha’s Name: Vikata Maha Ganapathi
Vrat name: Vikata Sankashti Chathurthi
Peeta: Vinayaka

Vaishaka Month

Sri Ganesha’s Name: Chanakra Raja Eka-danta Ganapathi
Vrat name: Eka-danta Sankashti Chathurthi
Peeta: Sri Chakra

Jyeshta Month

Sri Ganesha’s Name: Krishna Pingala Maha Ganapathi
Vrat name: Krishna Pingala Sankashti Chathurthi
Peeta: Sri Shakthi Ganapathi

Ashadha Month

Sri Ganesha’s Name: Gajanana Ganapathi
Vrat name: Gajanana Sankashti Chathurthi
Peeta: Vishnu

Shravana Month

Sri Ganesha’s Name: Heramba Maha Ganapathi
Vrat name: Heramba Sankashti Chathurthi
Peeta: Ganapathi

Bhadrapada Month

Sri Ganesha’s Name: Vigna Raja Maha Ganapathi
Vrat name: Vigna Raja Sankashti Chathurthi
Peeta: Vigneshwara

Ashweeja Month:

Sri Ganesha’s Name: Vakra-Tunda Maha Ganapathi
Vrat name: Vakra-Tunda Sankashti Chathurthi
Peeta: Bhuvaneshwari

Karthika Month:

Sri Ganesha’s Name: Ganadipa Maha Ganapathi
Vrat name: Ganadipa Sankashti Chathurthi
Peeta: Shiva

Margashira Month:

Sri Ganesha’s Name: Akuratha Maha Ganapathi
Vrat name: Akuratha Sankashti Chathurthi
Peeta: Durga

Pushya Month:

Sri Ganesha’s Name: Lambodara Maha Ganapathi
Vrat name: Lambodara Sankashti Chathurthi
Peeta: Soura

Magha Month:

Sri Ganesha’s Name: Dwajapriya Maha Ganapathi
Vrat name: Dwajapriya Sankashti Chathurthi
Peeta: Samanya Deva

Phalguna Month:

Sri Ganesha’s Name: Balachandra Maha Ganapathi
Vrat name: Balachandra Sankashti Chathurthi
Peeta: Agama

Adhika Month:

Sri Ganesha’s Name: Vibhuvana Palaka Maha Ganapathi
Vrat name: Vibhuvana Palaka Sankashti Chathurthi
Peeta: Doorva Bilva Patra

Sankashti Chathurthi – Rituals

As per legend, the significance of Sankashti Chathurthi was said to be explained by Sri Brahma to Pithurdeva.  Accordingly, the best way to commence the observation of Sankashti Chathurthi Vrats in one’s life is narrated by Sri Brahma.

There are 12 to 13 Sankashti Chathurthi Vrats in a year. The first Vrat in a person’s life should be Angaraka Sankashti Chathurthi preferably in the Magha month. The rest of the eleven or twleve vrats are to be observed for every subsequent Sankashti Chathurthi.

Practice

People 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. Lamps and Dhup are lit.

Slokams / Stotrams invoking Sri Ganapathi are recited. The story concerned with the respective 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 temple.

After having the darshan of Chandra, they partake the prasadam which was offered to God as Neivedyam.

Giving daan of food (Annadanam) to the poor and needy is of utmost importance.

The ardent devotees of Lord Ganesha consider the Sankashti Chathurthi festivals as highly auspicious.

Sankashti Chathurthi Vrats – benefits

It is believed that sincere observation of all the Sankata Hara Chathurthi Vrats shall
-bless progeny;
-alleviate all problems in life;
-bring in prosperity;
-assure no re-birth; and
-result in attainment of salvation in Ganesh Loka.

Jai Ganesha Jai Ganesha Jai Ganesha Paahimaam
Sri Ganesha Sri Ganesha Sri Ganesha Rakshamaam

[Note: Lord Shiva is reffered with the other names such as Sri Maheshwara and Sri Eshwara.

Goddess Parvathi is referred with the other names such as Sri Uma Devi, Sri Gowri and Sri Eshwari]

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