Sankashti Chaturthi vrat and puja is mentioned in the Bavishyat Purana and Narasimha Purana. The devotees who observe Sankashti Chaturti vrat wake up early in the morning and take a holy bath. Devotees observe fast for the whole day, they generally do it during the evenings. Lord Ganesh’s idol is beautifully decorated and Durva grass and fresh flowers are offered to the Lord. Prasad like modak is offered.
A vrat Katha is usually read aloud at the end of the puja. The devotees chant the mantras and strotas specific to Lord Ganesh. Fast is concluded after seeing the moon God.
Fasting Rules of Sankashti Chaturthi:
The devotees first observe a full fast from morning to evening and perform the Ganesh puja during the evening time. After the puja, moon god is sighted and offerings are made to the moon god. The fast concludes after this procedure. Milk and fruits are taken, if complete fast seems not possible.
Sankashti Chaturthi Timings:
After moon setting at 8:33 pm Sankashti Vrat shall be started from 13 January from 5:32 pm to 2:49 am in the morning.
Sankashti Chaturthi Muhurta:
Moonrise: 08:33 pm
Chaturthi Tithi Begins: 05:32 pm
Sankashti Chaturthi Vrat Story:
A sage named Bhrushundi who had an elephant trunk due to constant thinking of Lord Ganesh. He was known to be powerful because of his devotion and therefore a lot of people visited him to receive his blessings. Lord Indra one day came to visit the sage and was returning to his abode in his celestial flight. As he flew on the kingdom of King Shursen, a sinner in the kingdom looked at Indra’s flight and therefore the flight landed on the ground losing its power due to the sinful look.
King Shursen ran as fast as he can to greet Indra and received his blessings. Indra said due to the sinful look cast by a sinner in his kingdom his flight lost its power and therefore he needed to recharge it with some Punya (merits) to get it flying once again. The previous day was Sankashti Chaturthi.
Therefore Indra said if anyone in the kingdom who attained Punya (merit) due to observing the Sankashti Chaturthi vrat could give the merits to him, the flight would fly once again. The soldiers searched the kingdom and found none had observed the vrat.
During that time, the soldiers of Lord Ganesh were carrying a sinner who had died that morning to Svananda Loka (abode of Lord Ganesh). Indra asked why the sinner is being carried. The soldiers replied that the sinner had fallen sick the previous day (Sankashti Chaturthi) and therefore had not eaten anything for the whole day till she died in the morning. Therefore though she fasted unintentionally on the day, she had attained a lot of merits enough to wash all her sins and earn a place in the abode of Ganesh.
During this time, the air that touched the body of the sinner touched the plane of Indra and the plane started flying once again. Thus, it is said that the merits of observing Sankashti Chaturti are enormous.
Sankashti Chaturthi Benefits
The name Sankashti Chaturthi means the day which dispels all the difficulties and hurdles. It is believed that the vrat observed on this day can remove the obstacles to progress and happiness. It can relieve men of all their sins and confer a place in the abode of Lord Ganesh called Svananda Loka.