What is Sankatahara Chaturthi and what is its significance?
Sankat or Sankata means problems and Hara is removing or mitigating. Chaturthi is the 4th day after the New Moon or the Full Moon. Sankatahara Chaturthi is thus the day meant specially for eliminating one’s problems. This day is also called Sankashti Chaturthi. It falls on the 4th day of Chaturthi that comes after the Full Moon during Krishna Paksha, the waning phase of the moon, every month. This is an auspicious day when Lord Ganapathi, the remover of obstacles, is worshipped for getting rid of our difficulties.
What is the importance of Lord Ganapathi?
Ganapathi or Ganesha is regarded the son of Lord Shiva. He is hailed as a remover of obstacles and a harbringer of success, and is both loved and venerated. He has an elephant face, but also has a primordial form with a human head. He is celebrated as a hero of strength, as a happy dancer, as a sweet child and many more. It is considered a good custom to seek his blessings while starting any endeavor or undertaking any venture.
How Sankatahara Chaturthi worship is done?
The 4th waning moon is an occasion of spiritual significance, when the energies available will substantially amplify the effect of any worship done. Hence Sankatahara Chaturthi day is specially chosen for Ganesha worship for effective relief from obstacles. Ancient texts too speak about the importance of the day, narrating stories highlighting its significance. While people visit temples for offering prayers to the Lord, idols of Ganapathi, made of clay are also installed at homes and worshipped.
Sankatahara Chaturthi worship consists mainly of the ceremony of smashing of coconuts. In this, coconuts in large and varying numbers are smashed on stone or on the ground in front of the idol or in select locations, as a form of ritualistic worship. Just like Lord Shiva having 3 eyes symbolizing the 3 fundamental activities of Creating, Preserving and Destroying, the coconut too has 3 eyes, that stand for Ego, Illusion and Karma, which form the very basis of any obstacle. By smashing the 3 eyed coconut, we wipe out our karmic influences, so that all impediments are removed and we are able to make rapid progress in both, the material and spiritual domains.
Some devotees also observe fasts on this day, till the sighting of the moon in the evening and this is known as Sankatahara Chaturthi Vrat .
What benefits accrue on doing this worship?
Sankatahara Chaturthi worship to Ganapathi gets for the devotees, his complete blessings. This will help to clear problems and bottlenecks that one encounters and also to remove negative energies including the evil eye. This will help to get wealth and prosperity in this life, and also to stop even subsequent rebirths, so that the soul can rest in ultimate peace.
The sacred scriptures prescribe fire ceremony, Abishekam (hydration ceremony), Pooja/Archana (Light and Sound ceremony), Yantra and Mantra (special sounds) as the ways to offer your prayer to the divine. Out of these, fire ceremony is the most evolved spiritual technology on earth to connect with the divine beings. Participate in the remedial services to clear your karma and receive the blessings.