Bhagwan Ganesh is considered the deity of 14 disciplines and 64 arts. Shukla Chaturthi during the Hindu lunar month of Magh is celebrated as Ganesh Jayanti (also known as Maghi Ganesh Utsav). It is mainly celebrated in Maharashtra and is variously known as Magha Shukla Chaturthi, Tilkund Chaturthi, and Varad Chaturthi. Besides Maharashtra and Goa, Maghi Ganesh Utsav is celebrated as Tilo Chauth in Uttar Pradesh.
As per Puranic beliefs, the birth anniversary of three different avatars of Bhagwan Ganesh is celebrated on three occasions in a year. First, is the Vaishakh Shukla Purnima celebrated as Pushtipati Vinayak Jayanti, Bhadrapad Shukla Chaturthi that is celebrated all over Bharat and Magh Shukla Chaturthi. Bhadrapad Shukla Chaturthi also known as Ganesh Chaturthi is said to be the most important of the three.
The popular belief is that one has to observe fast on Maghi Ganesh Utsav to propitiate Bhagwan Ganesh in the form of Dhundiraj. Legend has it that Bhagwan Ganesh took the avatar of Dhundiraj to ensure that Kashi is returned to Bhagwan Shiva after ridding it of Raja Divodas. It is said that Divodas was a just and fair king who retired to the forests to undertake a life of penance.
However, the populace began to suffer without their king. Seeing this Bhagwan Brahma approached Divodas and asked him to return. He agreed on the condition that only he and not Bhagwan Shiva would be the ruler of Kashi. In accordance with the boon granted to Divodas, Brahmadev succeeded in taking Mahadev to the Vindhya mountains under the pretext of granting Mukti to a Rishi.
He could not, however, keep Bhagwan Shiva there for long and the latter came to know of Divodas’ condition. When none of the deities could help Bhagwan Shiva regain Kashi from Divodas, He is said to have approached Bhagwan Ganesh who took avatar as Dhundiraj and succeeded in regaining Kashi for Mahadev.
On His return to Kashi, Bhagwan Shiva ordered that Ganesh in the form of Dhundiraj would be worshipped before Him. Accordingly, Bhagwan Dhundiraj is seated at the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir and devotees first seek His blessing before that of Mahadev.
Skanda Puran says that Bhagwan Ganesh was born as Rishi Kashyap’s son named Vinayak to rid the world of a Rakshas (demon) called Narantak. It was on this day that the event is said to have occurred and hence people celebrate Maghi Ganesh Utsav in honor of Bhagwan Ganesh.
Some Puranic stories also state that Bhagwan Krishna got rid of the false accusation of stealing the syamantaka gem, a result of seeing the moon on Bhadrapad Ganesh Chaturthi, by observing a fast on Magh Shukla Chaturthi. In addition to observing a fast, some devotees also stay awake all night (jagran).
Puranic beliefs state that it is inauspicious to spot the moon on Magh Shukla Chaturthi just like Bhadrapad Ganesh Chaturthi. It is held that Chandradev (moon) mocked Bhagwan Ganesh for His potbelly which earned him the latter’s ire. As per the curse, anyone who sees the moon on these two days risks going through mental agony arising out of false accusations like the one suffered by Bhagwan Krishna.
According to customs, the correct puja vidhi (ritual observation) is to do pranpratishta (giving life) of Ganesh murti made of mud or clay. Following the shodashopchar (a pooja ritual) devotees perform the arati and offer naivedya (sweet offering). Devotees also read the Atharvasheersh (shloka dedicated to Bhagwan Ganesh) to improve one’s concentration and control the mind to make it steady. It is customary to offer modaks made of til and jaggery to Bhagwan Ganesh on this day, and hence it is also called Tilkund Chaturthi.
Much like Ganesh Chaturthi, both household devotees and sarvajanik mandals consecrate murtis of Bhagwan Ganesh with much fanfare. The duration of the celebration ranges from 1.5 to 10 days. This year greater number of mandals are estimated to celebrate the festival due to cancellations of the Bhadrapad Ganesh Chaturthi owing to the Chinese Virus pandemic.
(Featured Image Source: Dainik Bhaskar)
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