Ganesh Chaturthi-Vinayaka Chavithi Festival Story and its Significance
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Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals. This is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is the day most sacred to Lord Ganesha. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September). It is observed throughout India, as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world.
Clay figures of the Deity are made and after being worshipped for two days to ten days, they are immersed(Nimajjanam) into water.
Lord Ganesha is the elephant-headed God. He is worshipped first in any prayers. His Names are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun, before any kind of worship is begun.
He is the Lord of power and wisdom. He is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and the elder brother of Skanda or Kartikeya. He is the energy of Lord Shiva and so He is called the son of Shankar and Umadevi. By worshipping Lord Ganesha mothers hope to earn for their sons the sterling virtues of Ganesha.
Story about Ganesha birth and how He came to have the head of an elephant:
Once upon a time, the Goddess Gauri-Parvati devi (consort of Lord Shiva), while bathing, created Ganesha as a pure white being out of the mud of Her Body and placed Him at the entrance of the house. She told Him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. Lord Shiva Himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganesha at the gate. Shiva became angry and cut off Ganesha’s head as He thought Ganesha was an outsider.
When Gauri came to know of this she was sorely grieved. To console her grief, Shiva ordered His servants to cut off and bring to Him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant’s head was brought before Shiva. The Lord then joined the elephant’s head onto the body of Ganesha.
Lord Shiva made His son worthy of worship at the beginning of all undertakings, marriages, expeditions, studies, etc. He ordained that the annual worship of Ganesha should take place on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapada.
Without the Grace of Sri Ganesha and His help nothing whatsoever can be achieved. No action can be undertaken without His support, Grace or blessing.
The following are some of the common Names of Lord Ganesha: Dhoomraketu, Sumukha, Ekadantha, Gajakarnaka, Lambodara, Vignaraja, Ganadhyaksha, Phalachandra, Gajanana, Vinayaka, Vakratunda, Siddhivinayaka, Surpakarna, Heramba, Skandapurvaja, Kapila and Vigneshwara. He is also known by many as Maha-Ganapathi.
His Mantra is Om Gung Ganapathaye Namah. Spiritual aspirants who worship Ganesha as their tutelary Deity repeat this Mantra or Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah.
Ganesh Chaturthi Vrat Katha, Legend of Vinayaka Chavithi, Vinayaka Chavithi Story
Once there lived a great demon by the name of Gajasura. He performed great penance for Lord Shiva for many years. Lord shiva was pleased with his devotion and appeared before him. Lord Shiva told Gajasura that he was pleased with his penance and was here to grant whatever Gajasura wishes for. Gajasura after seeing the Lord, recites all kinds of slokas he knows and then wishes that Lord Shiva may reside in his stomach from that day onwards. Lord Shiva, who is known to be very kind towards devotees readily agrees and stays in the stomach of Gajasura.
In Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati is looking for her husband to return. As Lord Shiva does not return for a few days, Goddess Parvati becomes anxious and starts searching for her husband. After some time, Goddess Parvati finds out that Lord Shiva has granted Gajasura a wish, as a result of which Lord Shiva was residing in the stomach of Gajasura.
Goddess Parvati doesn’t understand what to do and how to get back her husband. She prays to her brother Lord Vishnu and explains him the whole scenario. She prays to Lord Vishnu to help her, to get her husband back.
Lord Vishnu plans a Bull Show (Gangireddu Atta) , where in the Bull would dance according to the drum beats and other musical instruments.
Lord Vishnu summons all the Gods and makes them to take an instrument each. He himself takes up one instrument and goes to the kingdom of Gajasura. In the city of Gajasura, Lord Vishnu makes Nandi (the vehicle of Shiva a Bull) dance brilliantly to the music and mesmerize the people of the city. From here and there the news reaches the king Gajasura, who immediately summons the troop and asks them to arrange the show of the Bull dance at his palace. The troop readily agrees and starts the show.
Lord Vishnu makes the Bull to dance to the music, seeing which Gajasura is also mesmerized and in that situation asks Lord Vishnu for anything and he would grant it. Lord Vishnu reveals that the Bull is none other than Nandi the vehicle of Lord Shiva and has come here in search of his owner, Lord Shiva. So he asks Gajasura to return Lord Shiva. Gajasura realizes that the person to whom he is talking is none other than Lord Vishnu and that his death is inevitable. So he prays to Lord Shiva that he could leave his stomach, but has to grant him the following wishes:
1) His head should be worshipped in all the worlds.
2) Lord Shiva should wear his skin as clothes.
Lord Shiva agrees and grants the above wishes. Lord Vishnu then asks Nandi the Bull to tear apart the stomach of Gajasura with his horns. Nandi immediately tears apart the stomach thereby freeing Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu advises Lord Shiva not to be so lenient in granting the wishes to demons and all the Gods leave for their respective worlds. Lord Shiva also moves towards Kailasam.
The Birth Of Lord Ganesha.
In Kailasam, the news of Lord Shiva returning to Kailasam reaches Goddess Parvathi. Goddess Parvathi plans for a grand reception and also goes to take bath before Lord Shiva arrives. While preparing herself for the bath, she prepares an idol out of the paste that is used to cleanse the body and instills life into it. Goddess Paravti asks the boy to guard the door and tells him not to allow anyone inside while she is bathing.
The boy stand in front of the door. Lord Shiva returns to Kailasam and tries to enter ignoring the boy. The boy immediately stops Lord Shiva and says that Lord Shiva or anyone else cannot enter, as it is a order from his mother Goddess Parvati. Lord Shiva tries to convince the boy in all the ways, explaining him that he is the husband of Goddess Parvathi and the owner of the house, so he should be allowed to pass. The boy refuses. Lord Shiva gets angry at the boy and beheads him and burns the head. He enters the house.
Goddess Parvathi, welcomes her husband, takes care of him and in their discussion, the topic of the boy in front of the house comes up. Lord Shiva explains what he had done. Goddess Parvathi is filled with sorrow and tells Lord Shiva that the boys was their child and question how Lord Shiva could kill a boy. Lord Shiva repents for what he had done and consoles Goddess Parvati and promises her that he would bring the boy back to life.
As he had burnt the head, and to bring back the boy to life a head is required, so he places the head of Gajasura to the boy and brings back the boy to life. The boy from that day was known as Gajanana. The boy grew up and in the mean time Lord Shiva and Parvati had another son by the name of KumaraSwamy. Kumara Swamy is the commander of the army of Gods . His vehicle is Peacock.
Head of Vighnas (Obstacles).
Once all the sages and Gods, pray to Lord Shiva and request him to appoint some one as the head of Vighnas. Lord Shiva summons his sons and asks them to decide on who would want to become the head of Vighnas.
Both Ganesha and Kumaraswamy put their argument on why each one of them is more capable of becoming the head. Gajanana says that he is the elder brother and hence he should be made the head while KumaraSwamy says that, Gajanana is fat and slow, therefore inefficient as the head.
Lord Shiva finally puts them to a competition and tells them that who ever would win the competetion would be made the head of Vighnas.
The competetion is to visit all the worlds and dip in all the holy rivers in each world and return to Kailasam. Both of them agree. KumaraSwamy, immediately starts on his vehicle Peakcock at high speeds. Gajanana approaches his father and prays to him. Gajanana expresses his anguish as follows
“Father! You very well know my capabilities of movement, but still you came up with this kind of competition. I request you to be kind enough on me to give me a advise to win this competetion.”
Lord Shiva moved by the prayer of Gajanan, tells him that “ If you recite the Narayana Mantra while rotating in a circle around your parents( performing Pradakshina to parents) once it returns a virtue equivalent to bathing in all the holy rivers in 300 Kalpas.”
Lord Shiva preaches Gajanana the Narayana Mantra. Gajanana does the pradakshina to his parents reciting the Narayana Mantra. Because of the effect of the prdakshina KumarSwamy is viewing as if Ganesha has completed the bath in the holy river and returning whenever he reaches a holy river to take bath. KumaraSwamy experiences this at every holy river and returns to Kailasam.
He bows to his father Lord Shiva, and apologizes to his father stating that “ father! Please forgive me for my ignorance and not recognizing the capabilities of my elder brother Gajanana and please make Gajanana the head of Vighnas.”
Lord Shiva then appoints Gajanana as the head of Vighnas on Bhadrapada Sudha(Sukla) Chavathi or Fourth day of the waxing phase of the moon in the month of Bhadrapada. All the sages and Gods congratulate Gajanana and offer him different kind of eatables like Laddu, Undrallu, Kudumulu etc. Gajanana has them to his stomach full, gives some to his vehicle the mouse called Ananda. Gajanana in the night visits his parents that night with all the food stuff in his hands and his stomach completely filled and which has become like a ballon filled with air.
When Gajanana, tries to seek the blessings of his parents, by laying down on the floor (Sashtanga Namaskara), because of his stomach, if his head touches the ground, legs point towards the sky and when legs touch the ground his head is towards the sky. Seeing Gajananas efforts the moon on the head of Lord Shiva laughs.
Because of the Moons Bad eyes (Nazar, Dishti) the stomach of Gajanana breaks and Gajanana dies. Goddess Parvathi is shattered and extremely sorrow as her son died. She gets angry and puts a curse on the moon, stating that as her son is dead because of Moon, whoever would see the Moon would be charged with false allegations from now onwards.
False Allegations on Wives of Sages.
At the same time the famous SaptaRushulu or Seven Sages, where circling around the fire (pradakshina to fire) along with their wives. The fire God is overcome by lust seeing the wives of the sages. The fire God unable to satisfy his lust over the wives of the sages, as he is afraid that the sages would curse him, was becoming weak and disturbed. Seeing this his wife Swaha Devi, transforms herself as the wives of the sages and satisfies the lust of Fire God. Swaha Devi restrains herself from taking the form of Arundathi. Seeing their wives with the Fire God, the sages abadon their wives.
All the gods and sages, pray to Lord Shiva of the injustice to the wives of the sages and asks him to save. Lord Shiva summons the seven sages and explains them what had actually happened. Satisfied by the explanation of Lord Shiva, the seven sages accept their wives and leave.
All the gods and sages pray to Lord Shiva that all these allegations on the wives of the sages had come, because of them viewing the Moon. All Gods pray to Lord Shiva to reduce the curse or remove the curse, as it would cause lot of problems across all the worlds. Lord Brahma brings Gajanana back to life and request Goddess Parvathi to remove the curse. Goddess Parvathi seeing her son alive reduces the curse stating that, the curse would be effective only on the day Moon was the cause of the death of their son Gajanana.
All the sages and Gods leave Kailasam to their respectie homes and take care not to watch the moon on Bhadrapada Sukla or Sudha Chavithi.
The story of Diamond Samanthaka. Samanthaka Manopakhyanam.
In Dwapara Yuga, once sage Narada visits Lord Krishna and tells him that today is Bhadrapada Sukla or Sudha Chavithi and hence it is prohibited from watching the moon on this day and narrates the story of the curse on seeing the Moon on this day.
Lord Krishna immediately, gets the same announced in the kingdom and passes a order that no one should watch the Moon on Bhadrapad Sukla Chavithi. Lord Krishna, visits the cows shed and starts to milk the cow. Lord Krishna, takes care and doesn’t look up. Unfortunately, he sees the reflection of the Moon in the milk. He immediately realizes that he would be falsely alleged for something in near future.
Once, a person by the name Satrajittu, visits Lord Krishan. He shows Lord Krishna, a diamond called Samantaka which was given as a boon to him by Sun God. He explains Lord Krishna that, this money would produce eight pound of Gold every day. Lord Krishna, immediately says that, it would be of great use to the king if he posses such kind of a diamond which would give Gold every day. Lord Krishna tells that the king can use the gold produced for the welfare of the people. But Satrajit refuses without second thoughts.
Once Prasena, the brother of Satrajit, goes hunting wearing the Samanthaka Diamond. A Lion kills Prasena, thinking the diamond to be meat. The Loin is killed by a Bear, who takes the Samanthaka Diamond and gives it his daughter for playing.
In the town, Satrajit accuses Lord Krishna of killing his brother and stealing the Diamond. Lord Krishna, immediately realizes that, this allegation was a result of him viewing the reflection of Moon in the milk on the Bhadrapada Sukla Chavithi. He decides to clear his name of the allegation and goes in search of the Diamond.
In the forest, he finds the dead body of Prasana and finds the foot marks of the Lion. He follows those and reaches a place where he finds a place where a fight has taken place between a Bear and the Lion. He then sees the traces of the Bear and follows it. Those lead him to a cave. Lord Krishna enters the cave and finds the Diamond tied to a swing in which a girl is playing. Lord Krishna reaches for the Diamond, and the girls is frieghtened and shouts for help.
A Bear comes form inside and attacks Lord Krishna. Both Krishna and bear fight continuously day and night for 28 days. The bear looses all his strength and then realizes that Lord Krishna is none other Lord Rama whom he had served. This Bear is none other than Jambavantha of Treta Yuga. Jambavantha remembers that after the battle with Ravana, Rama grants Jambavantha a wish. Jambavantha wishes for a duel or fight with Rama. Rama smiles and says that he would surely fulfill the wish in his next incarnation.
Jambavantha realizes that Lord Krishna has come to fufill the wish that was granted to him. He immediately asks Lord Krishna for forgiveness and prays to him. Lord Krishna by simply touching Jambavantha cures all his ailments and blesses him. Jambavantha, offers his daughter Jambavathi along with the Samanthaka Diamond.
Lord Krishna returns to his kingdom, summons Satrajit, gives him the Diamond and explains all that had happened. Satrajit, feels ashamed and pleads for forgiveness for his allegations. He offers the diamond to lord Krishna along with his daughter Satyabhama. Lord Krishna refuses the Diamond and accepts Satyabhama as his wife.
All the sages and people visit Lord Krishan and pray to him. They explain him that as he is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu he was able to prove his ignorance on the false allegation due to viewing the Moon on Bhadrapada Sukla Chavithi, but all the humans are not capable of doing so. All of them request Lord Krishna to show some mercy and offer a remedy.
Lord Krishna pleased with the prayers and understanding the difficulty, offers a remedy that, “those who would worship Lord Ganesha with devotion on Bhadrapada Sukla Chavithi or Vinayaka Chavithi or Ganesh Chaturthi and listen to the story of Samanthaka Diamond and put the Akshintalu on their head, will never be alleged falsely if they view the Moon by mistake.”
All the people from that day onwards, performed the Ganesh Puja on Vinayaka Chavithi or Ganesh Chaturhti, read the story of Samanthamani, put the Akshintalu on their head and lived happily.