Sankatahara Chaturthi is the fourth day after Full Moon day in every month and is devoted to the prayers of Lord Ganesha.
’Sankat’ means trouble or hurdles and ‘hara’ means removal.
Lord Vigneshwara, the Primordial God for removing hurdles in our life is the giver of all benefits in life. That is why Sankatahara Chaturthi is observed and those who take this vrata benefit infinitely due to the grace of Lord Ganesh.
Any vrata is a necessary observance in our religion due to the benefits it offers. It refreshes body, energises soul and balances mind. During the time of observing vrata, we experience self-control, abstinence from indulgences and spiritual enlightenment. Hence vratas have become an integral part of our religious activities along with poojas and homams.
Sankatahara Chaturthi vrata starts with early morning bath and prayers. After taking early morning bath, one has to pray before Lord Ganesha by keeping the Lord’s idol or picture before him.
Chanting the 108 names of Ganesha will do for those who are the beginners of this vrata. Others can chant complicated verses in praise of Ganesha and seek His blessings.
From the early morning, it has to be a complete fast which can be broken by the person after seeing the moon rise and prayers offered to Ganesh after seeing the moon rise. Anyhow, those who cannot be on a complete fast can observe partial fast by taking fruits or sabudana khichdi (javvarisi uppuma).
With the increased number of Sankatahara Chaturthi vrata observers including those who are physically unwell or pregnant or employed, partial fasting is advisable for such people.
In the evening after seeing the moonrise, prayers to Ganesh have to be offered. It can be the idol, picture or the yellow cone of Ganesh figure made of turmeric that can be the object of worship. Flowers, fruits, milk and coconut are the things for naivedyam for this day.
Kozhukattai or modhakam is the preferred sweet of Lord Ganesha and this can be prepared for offering to the lord. People offer sundal also on this day. Durva grass (அருகம்புல்) is the favourite of Ganesha and if it is offered to Ganesha on this day, it will bring excellent results for a devotee. Ghee or coconut oil should be used for lighting the lamp.
Chanting of Ganesha Slokas like Ganesha Ashtakam, Sankatanashana Storam, Ganapathy Athavarsheersha slokam and namas will please the Lord who is fond of gracing his devotees to the core when they worship him with extreme piety and sanctity and puja at home.
Ganesha is fond of number 3. So, any sloka or nama when chanted thrice brings favourable results for the devotee. Some people indulge in the pooja in an extensive manner with shodasha upachara of the Lord (which is performing pooja in a full-fledged manner with inviting the Lord, bathing him, offering chandan, kumkum, Yagnopaveetham, ornament, vasthram, flowers, incense, light, camphor etc).
Om Pranamya Sirasa devam Gauri Puthram Vinayakam
Bhaktavasam Smarennithyam Ayuh Kamartha Siddaye ! (1)
Prathamam Vakrathundam cha Ekadantham Dvithiyakam
Thrithiyam Krishna Pingaaksham Gajavakthram Chathurthakam (2)
Lambodaram Panchamam cha Shashtam Vikatameva cha
Saptamam Vighna Rajam cha Dhoomravarnam thathashtakam (3)
Navamam Phala Chandram cha Dasamam thu Vinayakam
Ekadasam Ganapathim Dwadasam thu Gajananam !! (4)
Dwadasaithani Namaani Thri Sandhyam Yah Pathennarah
Na cha Vighna Bhayam thasya Sarva Siddhi karim Prabho! (5)
Vidyarthi Labhate Vidyam Dhanarthi Labhate Dhanam
Puthrarthi Labhate Putraam Mokshaarthi Labhate Gatim (6)
Japeth Ganapthi Stotram Shadbhirmaasai Phalam Labheth,
Samvatsarena Siddhim cha Labhate Naathra Samsayaha ! (7)
Ashtabhyo Brahmanebhyash cha Likhitwa yah Samarpayeth
Thasya Vidya bhavetsarva Ganeshasya Prasadathaha !! (8)
Ithi Sri Narada Purane Sankashta Nashana Ganapathi Sthothram Sampoornam.
It is very auspicious to see the moon and start the evening pooja. Suppose one is not able to see the moon, one can refer to the almanac and start the pooja after the time of the moonrise as mentioned in the almanac. Or he can start the pooja after 7.30 pm.
After doing the evening pooja only, one should break his fast.
We all know that Vinayaka is the God who dispels all hindrances in the life of a person who prays to him. When one prays to Lord Vigneshwara on Sankatahara Chaturthi, a day known for the removal of obstacles, he will reap all good benefits he desires out of his vrata.
By observing Sankatahara Chaturthi vrata for a year continuously, one is able to fulfil his specific wish he wants to accomplish through this vrata. It should be completed with Maha Ganapathy homam or Vancha Kalpa Ganapathy homam.
Sankatahara Chaturthi that falls on Tuesdays is considered very auspicious and it is called Angariki Chaturthi. Angarak means burning coal amber and it also refers to the graha Mars. Praying to Ganesha on this day is very auspicious.
Ganesha is a God who satisfies all the wishes of his devotees when they pray to him ardently. No wonder, those who observe Sankatahara Chaturthi vrata and pooja are sure to get what they want in life.