Vikata Sankashti Chathurthi Vrat is observed by invoking Lord Ganesha. This Sankashti Chathurthi Vrat occurs in the Krishna Paksha Chathurthi of Chaitra month. Sri Vinayak is called as Sri Vikata Vinayak due to His unusual huge appearance.
Vikata Sankashti Chathurthi is on Friday, 30th April 2021 for the Year 2021. 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 Vikata Maha Ganapathi. The Peeta is Vinayaka.
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Sankashti Chathurthi Vrat – Legend
There are a few legends pertaining to the significance of Sri Sankashti Chathurthi. The legend is said to be mentioned in Sri Vinayaka Puran.
Once, there was Kingdom named Sahasrapuri. It was ruled by the King Shursen. He was a very good ruler. His wife was Susheela (a) Punyaseela. Both the King and the Queen were pious.
One day, the King was holding a meeting with his ministers at his palace. They heard a deafening sound. The King sent his men to investigate. He too was curious at the sound. So, he mounted on his horse and went to check the issue.
Shursen had spotted a huge peculiar vehicle which was on the field. He went there with his men. The vehicle was of the form which was not available on earth. Nearing the spot, he realized that it was the viman (flight) from the Devalok. He also saw Lord Indra sitting there in the viman.
On seeing Lord Indra, Shrusen saluted and greeted him. He also asked him what he could do for his comfort. He even invited him to the palace.
Indra said “I cannot come to the palace. I have to leave now soon. Somedays back, Sage Narada came to my place. He was describing his wandering. He told us about Sage Brushundi.
The Sage is living in Dandakavan. He did penance on Sri Vinayak. He is the great sage. People with such greatness are born only once in a crore year. We wanted to see Brushundi and get his blessings. We were blessed.”
Indra continued, “When we were returning, our flight has lost its strength and got grounded.
The mechanism of this flight is that, if an evil person sees this flight flying, it will be grounded. If it has to take off again, it needs to be sanctified. That sanctity is possible only if a person observing Sankata Hara Chathurthi looks at this flight. I have decided to wait until then here only.”
Shursen had immediately ordered his men to search for a person who did Sankashti Chathurthi. He himself was not aware of the Vrat. His men were enquiring everywhere.
The searchers saw another divine flight landing at a distant place. They went near the viman. Some Devas from Vinayak Lok were taking a poor woman aboard the flight.
The King’s men were intrigued. They asked the Vinayak Lok Devas as to why she was taken to Vinayak Lok.
The Devas said “this lady did nothing good in this birth. She used to eat dogs and cats. Her character also is not very good.
In her last birth, she was a princess named Sundari. She married a prince. But she used to seek others. Her husband Chitran put her under tight security.
She did not like confinement. She wanted to be free. One day, she killed Chitran with sword. The guards saw it and caught her. They brought her before the King.
The king ordered killing of her. She was killed. She got this birth.”
Shrusen’s men were confused. They said, “If she is so bad, how come she is being taken to Vinayak lok now?”
The Devas said, “Wait. We have not yet finished.
Last night, due to poverty, she did not eat anything. Today morning she woke up. Today is Sankashti Chathurthi day.
Some Vinayak Bhakts had finished the Sankashti Puja. They had eaten and threw away the leaves with the leftover food.
She picked up the leftovers and was eating. They were chanting ‘Vinayaka’. She too chanted ‘Vinayaka’. That had purified her. Sri Vinayaka asked us to bring her. Hence we have come”.
They were then making arrangements to take off the flight.
Flights take off
The men asked the Devas to help start the Indra Viman as well. The Vinayak Lok Devas said that it was not their job.
The condemned woman was slowly walking towards her flight. On the way, she just looked at the Indra Viman which was at a distance. As soon as she saw it, that Viman also took off.
Thus, the flights from Deva lok and Vinayak lok had taken off.
Vikata Sankashti Chathurthi – rituals
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 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. Archanas are specially done with dhurva grass, sami pathra, other leaves and flowers.
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.
Note : The events mentioned in the article were referred from the book titled Sri Vinayaka Vijayam written by Sri. Vidwan N. Subramanian in Tamil.
The rest of the Sankashti Vrats shall be narrated in the subsequent articles of the series.