Angarakhi Chaturthi

There lived a sage by name Bharadwaj in the city of Avanti who was well versed in the knowledge of Vedas. He got a red skinned son from the Goddess Earth. She nourished this boy for seven years. Once he asked his mother, 'O mother, if my body is like others, then why is my colour red?' Goddess Earth then narrated his birth story. After having heard it, the boy asked, 'Then why don't you take me to my father?' Then Goddess Earth took him to sage Bharadwaj. He accepted the boy as his son with love and named him as Bhaum. He performed Bhaum's thread ceremony and then tought him the Vedas. As per his father's instructions, he started worshipping Lord Ganesha on the banks of river Narmada. After having worshipped him for a thousand years, on Magh Shuddha Chaturthi's Tuesday(the fourth day, of the first half of the month Magh), Lord Ganesha appeared in front of him and asked what he desired. Bhaum expressed that his only wish was to be associated with Lord Ganesha’s name for forever. The Lord granted his wish and proclaimed that the day I appeared in front you shall be called as Angarakhi Chaturthi and you shall be named as Angarakh. If one does fasting on Angarakhi Chaturthi, he will become virtuous and it will be equivalent to doing twenty one Sankashthi Chaturthis.Lord Ganesha futher proclaimed that anyone who worships him on Angarika Chaturthi will be granted all that he/ she prays for. Many Hindus observe fasting on Angarakhi Chaturthi( the Sankashthi Chaturthi which comes on Tuesday) and visit temple for blessing.

Mushaka Vahan

Of the eight incarnations of Ganesha described in the Mudgala Purana, Ganesha has a mouse(shrew) in five of them, uses a lion in his incarnation as Vakratunda, a peacock in his incarnation of Vikata, and Shesha, the divine serpent, in his incarnation as Vighnaraja. Of the four incarnations of Ganesha listed in the Ganesha Purana, Mohotkata has a lion, Mayūreśvara has a peacock, Dhumraketu has a horse, and Gajanana has a mouse. The mythological story, according to Ganesha Purana goes like this:There was a celestial musician-god by the name Krauncha. One day, in the court of Lord Indra, Krauncha accidentally stepped on the foot of Muni Vamadeva, who got enraged and cursed Krauncha to become a mouse. However, Krauncha became a huge mountain-sized mouse and ended up damaging everything in its path. Once, he ended up stepping on the ashram of Maharshi Parashar, with whom Lord Ganesha was staying in the form of his incarnation Gajanana, and destroying it. Lord Ganesha, inorder to teach Krauncha a lesson, unleashed his pasha (noose) on Krauncha which ended up looping around the mouse and bringing him to Lord Ganesha's feet. Ganesha then said, " have caused a lot of trouble and you deserve a severe punishment. But since you ask for my forgiveness, I will pardon you and use you as my vehicle". However, when Ganesha mounted on Krauncha, he couldnt bear the weight of Lord Ganesha. Krauncha pleaded for Ganesha to become light-weight so that he could support him. Lord Ganesha obliged and since then, has been using the mouse as his vehicle

Sindur Vadan Gajanan

God Shiva and Goddess Parvati were blessed with a beautiful baby boy having a trunk, four hands, moon on his head and a big stomach. On seeing him God Shiva was overwhelmed with joy and said, that Lord Ganesha has appeared from your stomach. A mouse will be his vehicle and it is for sure that he will one day put an end to the demon Sindurasura. The baby boy said 'O Father, I shall surely fulfill your desire. And I have taken this form in order to destroy the spread of irreligious acts and to establish religion again.All Vedic deeds which have become extinct due to Sindurasura will be re-established.' At that moment, there came a voice from heavens which said, ' O Sindurasura, your destroyer has taken birth. Soon he shall kill you'. Lord Ganesha then sat on his vehicle-the mouse and picked up his weapons. Making a terrible roaring sound, he proceeded to the city of demon Sindurasura. Hearing his roar the entire army of Sindurasura was terrified. They saw a small boy sitting on a mouse having four hands and a trunk, challenging them. They all asked him curiously, 'O son, you have a very great roaring sound! But who are you and what is your purpose of coming here?' Lord Ganesha replied, ' I am the divine authority and creator of the nature. I am the son of Goddess Parvati and God Shiva. I came here to destroy Sindurasura. Go tell him.' Army went to Sindurasura & told him about the boy. Sindurasura was very vain and proud of himself as no one had been able to conquered him. He said, 'Kill that child.' Then Lord Ganesha exhibited his true form and become very mighty. On seeing this Sindurasura was highly terrified. But somehow he regained his calm and tried to attack Lord Ganesha. But within no time Sindurasura was defeated. At the end Sindurasura felt remorseful about all his deeds and started praying to Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha told him that I am pleased with your praise and told him to ask for a boon. The body of Sindurasura was of red colour. He requested Lord Ganesha to make his body's colour red so that people will remember me when they look at your red body. Eventually Lord Ganesha changed his body colour to red. Therefore Lord Ganesha also sometimes called as 'Sindur Vadan' or 'Sindur Priya'. Seeing the death of Sindurasura, all the Gods showered flowers on Lord Ganesha. All the kings from Earth came to see Lord Ganesha. Then Lord Ganesha told everyone that the purpose of his birth is completed. I have destroyed the irreligious acts on Earth. Whenever you have any difficulty you can remember me, then I will come destroy all the hurdles inyour path. Having said this he disappeared.

Importance of Sankashti Chaturthi

Long long ago there lived a sage called Bhrushundi. Sage Bhrushundi did penance for many years and became great among the devotees of Lord Ganesha. While doing penance a trunk immerged from his nose, which is why he has been called as Bhrushundi. Everyone used to seek his blessings and become virtuous. Once God Indra's plane was on its way back to heaven after visiting sage Bhrushundi. A sinner from King Shursen's kingdom saw the plane in the sky. With his look the plane landed on the ground. By seeing the brightness of the plane, the king went to see the plane and person travelling in the plane. Upon seeing God Indra, the king was very pleased and he saluted God Indra and asked about the landing of the plane. God Indra told him that a sinner from your city looked at the plane, because of his sins the plane came down. By hearing the noise of the plane, everyone from the city came to see the plane. All people worshipped God Indra. King asked God Indra how the plane could start again? God Indra told him that today is Panchami from the month of the Paush. Yesterday was the Chaturthi. Check whether anyone has fasted yesterday. If that person gives his virtue to me then my plane will start. Soldiers searched the city for a person who fasted on Chaturthi, but unfortunately they found no one. At the same time some soldiers saw Ganesh-Duta(a soldier of Lord Ganesha) who was taking away a woman died recently. Soldiers asked him that how can you take such a sinner to Ganesh-loka. Ganesh-Duta told soldiers that the woman was asleep yesterday and she did not eat anything during the day. She woke up late at night and ate some food after moon-rise. Unknowingly she kept a fast on Sankashti-Chaturthi and she died today. A person who does Sankashti-Chaturthi even once in their life, goes to Ganesh-loka or Swananda-loka after death. The soldiers requested Ganesh-Duta to give that woman to them so that the plane of Lord Indra could start. But Ganesh-Duta refused to give the virtue of that woman to the soldiers. The wind which flew from the dead woman's body went till God Indra's plane and with the wind the plane was started. It means that the wind which touched that virtuous body also become virtuous. The person who does Sankashti-Chaturthi(do fasting till the moon-rise and then eat the food) will collect lot of virtues. After the death that person goes to Swanand-loka and the rebirth of that person stops. There is a belief in Hinduism that a person takes seven births before getting 'Moksha'(becomes free form the cycle of life and death).

Importance of Durva

Once a demon named Analasura caused havoc in the heavens. He emitted fire from his eyes and destroyed whatever came in his way. All the demi-Gods fled and sought Lord Ganesha’s help against the demon. Ganesha assured them that he will finish off the demon and restore peace. In the battlefield, Analasura started attacking Lord Ganesha with fireballs and eventually tried to gulp him down. At that moment Lord Ganesha, showed him his original form or 'virat roop’ and gulped down the demon instead. After gulping the demon, Lord Ganesha felt extremely restless due to the heat inside his body. So, the moon came to his help and stood on Ganesha’s head. Thus, he was named 'Bhaalachandra’. Lord Vishnu gave his lotus to bring down the heat, Lord Shiva tied his cobra around Ganesha’s belly. But nothing could bring down the heat. Finally, a few sages came with 21 leaves of durva grass and placed them on Ganesha’s head. Miraculously, the heat went off. Thus, Lord Ganesha declared that whoever worships him with durva grass will receive his blessings forever.
Once there lived a sage called Koundinya and his wife Ashraya. Sage Koundinya was a great devotee of Lord Ganesha. One day he was explaining the importance of Durva to his wife. She did not believe it, so Sage Koundinya told his wife, ' if you have any doubts regarding the importance of Durva then you go to God Indra and tell him that I want gold equal to the weight of a Durva.' Following the instructions of her husband, Ashraya went to God Indra. Having placed a Durva in front of him, she said, 'My husband has asked you to give him gold equal to the weight of a Durva.' God Indra told her the quantity of gold would be very small, he would give them as much as gold they want. But she said, ' I want gold equal to the weight of a Durva.' Then God Indra sent her to God Kubera along with a messenger and ordered him to give her the gold she desired. God Kubera placed the Durva on one pan of the balance and a small piece of gold on the other pan. But to his great surprise, the pan containing the Durva weighed more. Then God Kubera put some more gold into the pan, but still the pan of Durva weighed more. Eventually he put all his gold into the pan but still the weight of the single Durva was more. Then God Kubera sat along with his wife into the pan of gold, but still the weight of one Durva was more. By seeing this all the deities gathered around and eventually they also sat in the pan. But still the weight of a Durva was more! They all along with Ashraya went to Sage Koundinya and said, 'Today we came to know the importance of a single Durva offered to Lord Ganesha with devotion!'