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The word ‘Sankat’ or ‘Sankata’ means problems and ‘Hara’ means removing or mitigating. Chaturthi is the 4th day after the New Moon Day or the Full Moon Day. Sankatahara Chaturthi is thus the day meant especially for eliminating one’s problems. This day is also called Sankashti Chaturthi. It falls on the 4th lunar day (Chaturthi) after the Full Moon day during Krishna Paksha, the waning phase of the moon, every month. This is an auspicious day when Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, is worshipped for getting rid of difficulties.
According to mythology, Lord Ganapati or Ganesha is regarded as the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is hailed as the remover of obstacles and the harbinger of success, and so, he is both loved and venerated. He has an elephant face, but also has a primordial form with a human head. He is celebrated as the hero of strength, a happy dancer, a sweet child and many more. It is considered a good custom to seek his blessings while starting any endeavor or undertaking any venture.
According to legends, Goddess Parvati created Lord Ganesha, as she felt the need for an escort while she had a bath. She created a boy out of sandalwood paste, breathed life into the boy and asked him not to let anyone inside her premises. When Lord Shiva came to visit the Goddess, the young boy restricted him, without knowing that the Supreme Lord is his father. A huge battle broke in between them, in which Shiva beheaded Ganesha. When Parvati returned, she was shocked to see her son dead and took on a terrible form out of anger. Lord Shiva, tried to amend his mistake, fixed an elephant’s head over the boy’s body and brought him to life. It is believed that this event and the honor of calling Ganesha as the ‘Lord of the Ganas’ and ‘remover of obstacles’ happened on Sankatahara Chaturthi.
The fourth Waning Moon is an occasion of spiritual significance when the energies available will substantially amplify the effect of any worship done. Hence, Sankatahara Chaturthi is specially chosen for Ganesha’s worship to get 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 Ganapati made of clay are also installed at homes and worshipped.
Sankatahara Chaturthi worship consists mainly of the ceremony of smashing coconuts. In this, coconuts in large and varying numbers are smashed on stone or the ground in front of the idol or select locations, as a form of ritualistic worship. Just like Lord Shiva having three eyes symbolizing the three fundamental activities of creating, preserving and destroying, the coconut too has three eyes that stand for ego, illusion, and karma that form the very basis of any obstacle. By smashing the three-eyed coconut, we can wipe out the karmic influences, so that all impediments are removed, and we can make rapid progress in both, the material and spiritual domains.
Some devotees also observe Vrat (fasting) on this day, until the sighting of the Moon in the evening and this is known as Sankatahara Chaturthi Vrat.
Worshipping Lord Ganesha on Sankatahara Chaturthi can get you his graceful blessings.
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.