Category: Hindu holidays
Name of Ganesha of which the pooja is performed: Balachandra Maha Ganapati.
Name of the peeta: Agama Peeta.
Sankashti Chaturthi is an auspicious day dedicated to Ganesha. This day is observed in every lunar month of the Hindu calendar on the fourth day of Krishna Paksha (dark lunar phase or the waning phase).
During each month, Ganesha is worshiped with a different name and peeta (seat). On the Sakashta Chaturthi day of each month, the 'Sankashta Ganapathi Pooja' prayer is performed. Each Vratha (strict fast) has a purpose and is explained to us by a story known as the Vratha Katha. This prayer offering has 13 Vratha Kathas, one for each month.
Balachandra Sankashti Chaturthi falls in Phalguna Month as per Amavasyant calendars followed in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It falls in Chaitra Month according to North Indian Hindi calendars (Purnimant Panchang). In Malayalam calendar, it falls in Kumbha Masam - Meena Masam; Tamil months of Maasi Masam - Panguni Masam; Bengali months of Phalgun Month - Chaitra Month.
It is believed that Ganesh bestows his presence on earth for all his devotees during this day. It is the day Shiva declared his son Ganesha as superior to all the gods, barring Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati. Ganesh is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel.
Traditional stories tell that Ganesha was created by the goddess Parvati, consort of Shiva. Parvati created Ganesha out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at her door while she bathed. Shiva returned and, as Ganesha didn't know him, he didn't allow him to enter. Shiva became enraged and asked his follower gods to teach the child some manners. Ganesha was very powerful, being born of Parvati, the embodiment of shakti (or power). He defeated the godly-followers (called "Gana"s) and declared nobody was allowed to enter while his mother was bathing. The sage of heavens, Narada, along with the Saptarshi (the seven wise rishis) sensed a growing turmoil and went to appease the boy with no results. Angered, the king of Gods, Indra attacked the boy with his entire heavenly army but even they didn't stand a chance. By then, this issue had become a matter of pride for Parvathi and Shiva.
After the devas were defeated, the trinity, the controller, preserver and destroyer of the universe launched an attack against Ganesha. Amidst the fighting, Shiva severed the head of the child and brought on Parvathi's rage. Seeing her son dead, Parvathi revealed her true self, as the Adi-shakti, the prime energy that fuels the universe and sustains matter. Taking on a terrible form, she vowed to destroy the universe where her son was killed and re-create a better one. The gods prostrated before her and Shiva promised that her son will live again. The trinity hunted the world for a head and came across a mother elephant crying for her dead baby. They consoled the mother and fixed the head of the baby elephant in place of Ganesha's head. Lord Shiva also declared that from this day, the boy would be called as "Ganesha" (Gana-Isha: lord of the Ganas). In this way, Ganesha came to be depicted as the elephant-headed god.
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