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Sankashti Chaturthi is an auspicious festival for Hindus, celebrated in honor of Lord Ganesha. It is observed every Hindu calendar month on the ‘chaturthi’ (fourth day) of the Krishna Paksha (the waning phase of moon).
The word ‘Sankashti’ has a Sanskrit origin and it implies ‘deliverance during difficult times’ whereas ‘Chaturthi’ means ‘fourth day or the day of Lord Ganesha’. Therefore, on this propitious day devotees worship Lord Ganesha to help the overcome all the obstacles in life and come out victorious in every tough situation.
The observance of this Chaturthi in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu is known by the name of ‘Sankat Hara Chaturthi’. Furthermore when Sankashti Chaturthi falls on a Tuesday, it is popularly referred as ‘Angaraki Chaturthi’ that is considered to be the most auspicious of all the Sankashti Chaturthi days.
The celebrations of Sankashti Chaturthi are prevalent in both northern and southern states of India. In the state of Maharashtra, however, the festivities are even more elaborate and grand.
Sankashti Chaturthi Story
Traditional stories tell that Lord Ganesha was created by Goddess Parvati, consort of Lord 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. Lord Shiva returned and, as Ganesha didn’t know him, he didn’t allow him to enter. Lord 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 Lord 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. Seeing her son dead, Goddess Parvati 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). Also, as per the Hindu scriptures, on this holy day Lord Shiva declared the supremacy of His son, Sankashti (another name for Lord Ganesha) over other Gods, except Vishnu, Lakshmi and Parvati. From then onwards, Lord Sankashti is worshipped as the God of prosperity, good fortune and freedom. It is believed that on the day of Sankashti Chaturthi, Lord Ganesha, for all His devotees, bestows His presence on Earth.
Sankashti Chaturthi Fasting Procedure
- On the day of Sankashti Chaturthi, devotees get up early and dedicate the day worshipping Lord Ganesha. They observe a strict fast in the honor of their deity. Some people also keep a partial fast. The observer of this fast can only devour fruits, vegetables and roots of plants. The staple Indian diet on this day comprises of peanuts, potatoes and sabudana khichadi.
- The Sankashti puja is done in the evening, after seeing the moon. The idol of Lord Ganesha is decorated with Durva grass and fresh flowers. A lamp is also lit during this time. Other usual puja rituals like lighting incense and reciting the Vedic mantras are also performed. After this the devotees read the vrat katha specific to the month. The fast is broken only after worshipping Lord Ganesha in the evening and sighting of the moon.
- Special ‘naivedya’ comprising of modaks and other favorite eatables of Lord Ganesha is prepared as offering. This is followed by an ‘aarti’ and later the prasad is distributed among all the devotees.
- On the day of Sankashti Chaturthi, special puja rituals are also dedicated to Moon or Chandra God. This involves sprinkling water, chandan (sandalwood) paste, consecrated rice and flowers in the direction of moon.
- On this day it is auspicious to recite the Ganesha Ashtothra, ‘Sankashtnashana sthothra’ and ‘Vakrathunda Mahakaya’ to name a few. In fact any other Vedic mantras dedicated to Lord Ganesha can be chanted.
Important Timings On Sankashti Chaturthi
|Chaturthi Tithi Timing||04:57 AM – 05:51 AM|
Significance of Sankashti Chaturthi
The significance of Sankashti Chaturthi vrat is mentioned in the ‘Bhavishaya Purana’ and ‘Narasimha Purana’ and was also explained by krish himself, to Yudhishtira, who is the eldest of all Pandavas. On the sacred day of Sankashti Chaturthi, there is a special significance of sighting the moon. The ardent devotees of Lord Ganesha believe that by praying to their deity with dedication, especially on the Angarki Chaturthi day, all their desires will be fulfilled and they will lead a prosperous life. Childless couples also observe the Sankashti Chaturthi vrat to be blessed with a progeny. As Sankashti Chaturthi is observed every Lunar month, in each month God Ganesha is worshipped with different peeta (Lotus petals) and name. There are total of 13 vrats, with each vrat having a specific purpose and story, known as vrat katha. Therefore there are 13 ‘vrat katha’ in total, one for every month and the last katha is for ‘adika’ that is the one extra month that comes every four years in the Hindu calendar. The details of Sankashti Ganapati puja for every month are given below :
|Hindu Lunar Month||Name of Lord Ganesha||Name of peeta|
|Chaitra Masa||Vikata Maha Ganapati||Vinayaka Peeta|
|Vaishaka Masa||Chanakra Raja Ekadanta Ganapati||Srichakra Peeta|
|Jeshta Masa||Krishna Pingala Maha Ganapati||Sri Shakti Ganapati Peeta|
|Ashada Masa||Gajaanana Ganapati||Vishnu Peeta|
|Shravana Masa||Heramba Maha Ganapati||Ganapati Peeta|
|Bhadrapada Masa||Vignaraja Maha Ganapati||Vigneshwara Peeta|
|Ashweeja Masa||Vakrathunda Maha Ganapati||Bhuvaneshwari Peeta|
|Karthika Masa||Ganadipa Maha Ganapati||Shiva Peeta|
|Margashira Masa||Akuratha Maha Ganapati||Durga Peeta|
|Pushya Masa||Lambodara Maha Ganapati||Soura Peeta|
|Maga Masa||Dwijapriya Maha Ganapati||Samanya deva Peeta|
|Palguna Masa||Balachandra Maha Ganapati||Agama Peeta|
|Adika Masa||Vibhuvana Palaka Maha Ganapati||Doorva Bilva Patra Peeta|
The story of each of this vrat is unique for every month and is recited in that month alone.
Sankashti Chaturthi Dates in 2017 and Chaturthi Tithi Timing
|15 January||(Sunday)||Sankashti Chaturthi||11:39 AM – 16th 11:15 AM|
|14 February||(Tuesday)||Sankashti Chaturthi||04:57 AM – 15th 05:51 AM|
|16 March||(Thursday)||Sankashti Chaturthi||23:17 PM – 17th 01:11 AM|
|14 April||(Friday)||Sankashti Chaturthi||17:23 PM – 15th 19:48 PM|
|14 May||(Sunday)||Sankashti Chaturthi||10:17 AM – 15th 12:38 PM|
|13 June||(Tuesday)||Sankashti Chaturthi||01:18 AM – 14th 03:03 AM|
|12 July||(Wednesday)||Sankashti Chaturthi||14:04 PM – 13th 14:45 PM|
|11 August||(Friday)||Sankashti Chaturthi||00:33 AM – 11th 23:57 PM|
|09 September||(Saturday)||Sankashti Chaturthi||09:13 AM – 10th 07:24 AM|
|08 October||(Sunday)||Sankashti Chaturthi||16:58 PM – 09th 14:16 PM|
|07 November||(Tuesday)||Sankashti Chaturthi||00:59 AM – 07th 21:51 PM|
|06 December||(Wednesday)||Sankashti Chaturthi||10:18 AM – 07th 07:15 AM|