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Katha of Ganesh Chaturthi, Ganesh Puja Katha

»  The Story and Katha of Ganesh Chaturthi

The katha of Ganesh Chaturthi is very famous in Indian people. There are many small and interesting stories which are also known as katha, related to lord Ganesha's life and their activities.
Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated all over India; it is most elaborate in Maharashtra, Goa (Biggest festival for Konkani people all over the world), Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and other areas. Outside India, it is celebrated widely in Nepal which was only Hindu Kingdom in the world and Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka.

In India, Lord Ganesha happens to be one of the most popular deities and everyone seems to be in love with this cute, pot-bellied elephant god. Naturally, Ganesh Chaturthi is quite a big affair in the country. The occasion sees pious worships to Lord Ganesha, the deity of prosperity who is also believed to the remover of all obstacles, and also joyous celebrations in honour of the divine being.
About two or three months before Ganesh Chaturthi, life-like clay models of Lord Ganesha are constructed and sold by skilled artisans. The devotees sing songs, burst crackers and dance to the tune of traditional drums, as the idol of Lord Ganesha is taken on a procession. The streets are filled with the devotees of Lord Ganesha. The air is filled with festivity on the occasion. The devotees of Lord Ganesha visit the nearest temple of the deity, on Ganesh Chaturthi.

Only a few people observe a fast on this festival as, for the most part, the general feeling is that Ganesha's birthday should be an occasion for pigging out and not for fasting. The few who do keep a fast are allowed to eat various sweets like til ka ladoo (a round sweetmeat made of sesame, flour and sugar), gajak, rewari (sweets made of jaggery and nuts), along with tea and coffee.

It is believed that by observing fast on Ganesh Chaturthi with sincerity and devotion, Lord Ganesha blesses his devotees with health, wealth and prosperity. Since vrat is an important part of the celebrations, vrat katha (the story narrated during Ganesha puja) is also prominent.

»  Ganesh Chaturthi Vrat Katha

According to the legends, one day Parvati, Shiva's beloved wife, instructed Shiva's attendant Nandi not to let anyone in while she was taking a bath. A little later Shiva arrived wishing to enter. Nandi was in a dilemma as how to stop his master. Shiva entered Parvati was not ready to receive him. She was upset and wondered why Nandi had not obeyed her command. She complained to Shiva but Shiva did not take the matter too seriously. He was amused to hear that Parvati had asked Nandi to stop him from entering his own home. Parvati was annoyed. She shared her feelings with her friends. They teased Parvati by saying that she had no attendant of her own. They all considered Shiva their true master.

One of Parvati's friends came up with the idea to create a person who would owe his first allegiance to Parvati and not to Shiva. Once, while his mother Parvati wanted to take a bath, there were no attendants around to guard her and stop anyone from accidentally entering the house.

So Parvati gathered the turmeric / saffron paste (used at the time of bathing), from her own body and created a boy, and infused life into it, and thus Ganesha was born. The boy was handsome and strong.
"You are my son, my very own son, I do not have anyone else to call my very own" said Parvati. Then Parvati gave the boy a staff and asked him to guard the door, "Do not to allow anyone to enter without my permission."

A little later Shiva arrived and wondered who the boy could be and why was he there. His attendants did not know either. As Shiva approached the door, the boy stopped him. Shiva tried to explain to the boy that he was Parvati's husband and he had the right to enter without asking anyone. The boy said without hesitation, "Halt, no one enters these halls without my mother's permission." When Shiva ignored him, the boy hit him with his staff. Shiva was furious. He tried to fight the young boy to realize that he was no ordinary boy. Shiva asked his attendants to capture the boy but single-handedly, the boy defeated all of them.

News reached Parvati through her friends and she thought, "Shiva is after all my husband." But she instantly argued, "But why should he try to force himself in without giving respect to my privacy?" So she firmly conveyed her feelings to her friend, and she took the message to the boy, "Parvati has given definite instruction as not to allow anyone to enter the palace. The boy declared, "I am the son of Parvati. I will give my life to carry out my mother's orders. No one can enter the palace without my mother's permission."
The messenger returned to Shiva and humbly informed him what the boy had said. Shiva's pride was hurt. Shiva was so angry that he sent his entire army to capture the boy. Parvati called for her other powers, Kali and Durga. She asked them to stand beside her son. Shiva's army lost the battle and the attendants ran for their lives. Shiva then called Vishnu to join him in defeating the small boy. This was not a fair fight. While the boy was engaged in fighting with Vishnu, Shiva threw his Trident and beheaded the boy. After the head rolled off, Shiva realized his mistake.

When Parvati heard of the unfair fight she decided to destroy the world. Brahma humbly approached Parvati, seeking for mercy to save the world. Parvati agreed on two conditions, "My son must regain his life and he shall be worshipped before any of the other gods." By that time Shiva had calmed down and apologized for his rash behavior. He agreed to bring the boy back to life.

Shiva approached Brahma who suggested that he replace Ganesha's head with the first living being that came his way which lay with its head facing north. Shiva then sent his celestial armies (Gana) to find and take the head of whatever creature they happened to find asleep with its head facing north. They found a dying elephant which slept in this manner, and after its death took its head. The head was then fitted to the body of the boy and Brahma sprinkled water on it. The boy came to life with an elephant's head on his shoulder. From then on, he was called Ganapathi, head of the celestial armies, and was to be worshipped by everyone before beginning any activity Parvati embraced her son with joy. She then turned to Brahma to fulfill her second condition. Indra and the other gods brought Shiva to Parvati. Shiva apologized for his arrogance and declared "Hence on, this valiant boy will be my son. He will be respected as any other God and will be worshipped before any other God. He will be called Ganesha, the chief of my Ganas or attendants, and also Vigneshwar, the remover of all obstacles."

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