Vinayaka Vratha Katha :
Once there lived a demon king by the name of GAJASURA, he was named so because had the form of an elephant(GAJA). He performed great penance(tapasya) for lord Shiva. Shiva who was pleased with the penance came to him and offered him a boon(vara). That demon prayed lord Shiva as soon as he saw him and then prayed that “ hey lord, I would ask you stay in my stomach” as boon. Lord Shiva known for his love towards the followers agreed and stayed in the stomach of the Gajasura.
In the mean time, godess Parvati wife of lord Shiva, who was in kailasam(the abode of lord Shiva) was getting worried, as her husband was not to be seen for many days. She searched and finally found out that lord Shiva was residing in the stomach of the demon Gajasura. Then she was very worried on how to get her husband back and prayed to her brother lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu came to Parvati, who narrated the whole story of her husband and requested Vishnu to help in getting her husband back. Vishnu consoled Parvati and promised that he would get back her husband.
Lord Vishnu along with other deities like Indira, Brahma etc hatched a plan of getting Shiva back. As a part of the plan they decorated NANDI( the bull) as GANGIREDDU( this is a part of Andhra tradition wherein bulls are decorated, trained to make movements according to the music) and gods were disguised as musical instrument players where all the gods took up different musical instruments. With everything ready all of them went to the capital city of the demon Gajasura.
In the city , they started the show of making the bull move to their music and it was magnificent and started pulling huge crowds. The fame of the Bull play reached Gajasura and he summoned them to his court. In the court all the gods made Nandi play beautifully by which Gajasura was impressed and asked the band to go ahead and ask for anything and he would for sure give them. Listening to that Vishnu said that the Gangieddu was no other than Nandi the vehicle of Shiva and they were here for Shiva.
Listening to that Gajasura understood that the one who spoke was none other than Lord Vishnu famous for killing demons and knowing that he had no other way out but to stand on his word he once again prayed to lord Shiva and asked for another boon stating that “ His death was eminent and so he prayed to Shiva that he made his head to be prayed in all the lokas(bhoo lokam, patala lokam etc) and that Shiva should wear his skin as clothes.” For which lord Shiva agreed. Vishnu asked Nandi to pierce the stomach of Gajasura, which Nandi did and Shiva was out from the stomach of Gajasura.
Vishnu then adviced Shiva that boons were to be given on discretion and asked him to consider before giving boons to demons. Then all the gods left and so did Shiva, mounted Nandi and left to kailasam.
Birth of Ganesha :
Knowing the arrival of Lord Shiva, Parvati feels relieved and happy. She performs abhyangana snana ( this is a form of bath taken by applying oil to the whole body massage until the whole oil gets into the body and then apply sunnipindi(flour) called “Nalugu “ to body and rub so that the flour peels of taking all the dust ). While performing the bath she prepares a boy with the flour and instills life into it . The child is born and she asks him to be guard at the front door as long as she is bathing and tell him not to let anyone enter the house.
The child is now standing as a guard to the door of the house of Parvati. Shiva comes home and tries to get into the home, where the child is stopped him. Shiva gets angry and in a fit of rage kills the boy by beheading and buring the head and enters the house.
Paravti who is ready by now, receives lord Shiva with affection. In the course of talking the discussion comes up on the boy who was guarding the door. Shiva tells Parvati that he had killed him upon which Parvati narrates the whole story of the birth of the boy and becomes sad. Shiva repents on what he had done and the only way that he can bring the boy to life is by attaching a new head. He sends all the soliders under his command to go and fetch a head of the person who is lying (sleeping) with his head positioned in the North direction. Then all the soldiers go in all the directions and finally return with the head of Gajasura stating that Gajasura was the only one sleeping with his head kept in the North direaction.(Hence it is adviced not to sleep keeping the head in North direction. One more reason being that South is the position of Yama and no one would want to see Yama as soon as they get up).
Shiva then brings back the boy to life by attaching the head of Gajasura and named him Gajanana (Ganesha). He was given a rat by the name of Anindyudu as vehicle. Shiva and parvati after few years had another son by the name of Kumaraswamy. Kumaraswamy became the commander of the army of gods later. Kumaraswamy is also called as karthikeya,Subramanya etc.
Commander of Vighnas :
Vighna : Means some obstacle that would come for any work we would want to do before the work it self gets started. That is you will get lot of troubles before you start the work and finally you will not be able to complete the work. Vighnas will never allow you to finish the work as expected by you.
Once all the gods, sages meet Shiva and pray him and ask him to appoint someone as a head to the Vighnas. Kumaraswamy comes forward and asks his father to give the head of vighnas post to him as Gajanana is short and fat. But Gajanana(Ganesha) also wants the post. So Shiva puts them to a test. The test is to go around all the worlds and to bath in all the holy rivers present in those worlds and return. Whoever comes first will be appointed as the head of Vighnas.
Listening to which Kumaraswamy sits on his vehicle Peacock and flies for completing the test. Ganesh on the other hand feels sorrow approaches his father and prays him saying, “you know that iam fat, short and cannot move as fast as Kumaraswamy. So I request you to advice me on how to win this competetion.”
Lord Shiva responds to his prayer and says that if you recite the NARAYANA MANTRAM and do pradakishna to parents( circling around the parents) it is equal to bathing in all the holy rivers. Shiva teaches Ganesha Narayana mantra and Ganesh reciting the mantra does the pradakshina to his parents. Because of the affect of the mantra and pradakishna, Kumaraswamy always sees his borther Ganesh to finish the bath and leave as he tries to enter for a bath in any of the holy river.
Kumaraswamy returns to kailasam and tells his father to forgive him of his ignorance in recognizing his elder brothers capability and requests him to place Ganesha as the Head of Vighnas.
So Ganesh is named as the head of the Vighnas and hence called VIGHNESHWAR( LORD OF VIGHNAS). This ceremony of placing Ganesha as the head of the Vighnas was done on Bhadrapadha sudha chaviti and from that day on it is celebrated as vinayaka chaturthi or ganesh chaturdi or vinayaka chaviti. All the people, gods, sages etc of all worlds presented Ganesha with lot of different food items like Bananas,Coconuts, sweets like Laddu,kudumulu etc and Ganesh ate most of them. He wishing to seek the blessings of his mother and father goes to them with his big stomach. He tries to take their blessing by doing sashtanga Namaskaram (sashtanga Namaskaram: where in the persons lies down on the floor with his hand stretched over the forehead, and his face, stomach legs, all touch the ground), but because of his stomach if he tries to keep his hand on the ground his legs would raise and if he places his legs on the ground his hands would raise. Looking at the way Ganesha was doing the namaskara the MOON which resides on the head of lord Shiva laughs and Ganesha is subjected to DISHITI(also known as NAZAR in hindi, you can say as to look at one to cause harm to him, feel jealous and would like that some harm would happen to him) Which causes the stomach of Ganesh to break open and Ganesha dies.
Looking at his dead son Parvati gets angry and then puts a curse on Moon that “As her son died because of the Dishti by Moon, the one who would from now on see Moon will be falsely alleged (blamed) (NEELAPANINDA causing pain to them, i.e.the one who would look Moon will be held responsible for the bad deed or crime that they have not committed)”.
At the same time the famouse seven sages (saptarushis) were doing pradakshina(circling around) the fire along with their wives. The fire god(Agnideva) gets attracted to the wives of sages and would want to spend time with them. But afraid of the curse that the sages would give if he tries to do it he refrains himself. Knowing this Swahadevi the wife of lord Agni, tries to bring happiness to her husband, transforms herself to look like the wives of the sages and spends time with her husband. Swahadevi transforms to look like the wives of six sages except for ARUNDHATI(the famous sati) . The seven sages by chance see this and think that it is their wives that are present with lord Agni and leave their wives. This was the result of the wives seeing the Moon after the curse of Parvati.
The wives of seven sages go to Brahma and pray him of their innocence. Shiva who knows everything, calls for the seven sages and pacify them by narrating the truth that it was infact the wife of Agni who transformed herself to look like the wives of the sages. Then Brahma along with all the others goes to Kailasam and gives life to the dead Ganesha and prays Parvati to withdraw her curse.
Parvati relieved of the pain, is happy to see her son and so she reduces the intensity of the curse by stating that “ the curse would prevail only on the day, her son was dead because of Moons DISHTI” i.e on the 4th day of Bhadrapada Masam. (Bhadrapada sudha chaviti). So people from that day onwards refrained themselves from looking at the moon on the day of vinayaka chaviti.
This went for some time. In Dwapara yuga(there are four YUGAS) ,one day sage Narada came to see Lord Krishna in the city of Dwaraka. He informed him of the curse of Parvati, narrated the whole story and adviced him not to see the moon today as it was vinayakchaviti. Krishna made this matter to be known to all the people of his kingdom and he also was careful not to look at moon. Krishna loves to drink milk and so goes to the cow yard and milks the cow and when he is about to drink the milk, he sees the reflection of moon in it. He immediately remembers what Narada had said and prepares himself to face the false allegation he might be dragged into.
Some time passes by and once a person by the name SATRAJITT visits sri Krishna and shows him a diamond by the name of SAMANTAKA MANI, which was given to Satrajit by the Lord Sun. The speciality of the diamond being, it gives out eight kgs of gold every day. Then Krishna asks Satrajit to give to the king for the best use for the welfare of the people. But Satrajit refuses and Krishna lets it go.
Once Prasena, the brother of Satrajit, goes hunting wearing the diamond. Looking at the diamond and presuming it to be meat a Loin attacks and kills Prasena and takes the diamond. A bear has a look at the diamond with the Loin and fights with it and takes the diamond to his home which is a cave and ties it to the cradle in which his daughter is sleeping for her to play. The next day as Prasena doesn’t return, Satrajit blames that Krishna has killed his brother and taken the Diamond as he as refused to give to Krishna. Listening to which Krishna understands that, this blame was due to looking at the reflection of the moon in milk during vinayachaturthi. Inorder to free himself of the blame, Krishna enquires on what happened and goes to the forest looking for Prasena.
In the forest at one place he finds the dead body of Prasena and foot marks of a loin. He follows the foot marks of Loin and after some time comes to a place where he sees that there has been a fight between a Lion and a Bear. He then follows the footsteps of the Bear and reaches the cave of the bear. Krishna enters the cave and sees the diamond tied to the cradle. He tries to take it and the girl start crying hearing which the bear comes and attacks Krishna. Krishna fights back with the bear. The fight goes on for 28 days and the bear looses all it energy and realizes that Krishna is none other than RAMA. The bear is none other than JAMBAVANTHA the king of bears and aide of Rama in Tretayuga. He then remembers how after the war with Ravana Rama grants a boon to Jambavanta , and Jambavanti foolishly asks for a duel with Rama. Which Rama grants and says that his boon would be fulfilled later and it is know that Krishna has come to fulfill the boon and both Rama and Krishna are the avatara(forms) of Lord Vishnu. He then prays to Krishna who relieves Jambavantha of all the pains. Jambavanta along with the diamond also gives him his daughter Jambavati and requests him to accept her as his wife. Krishna agrees and returns to Dwaraka along with the diamond and the girl.
He summons Satrajit returns the diamond and narrates him the whole story. Listening to which, Satrajit repents and offers Krishna not only the diamond but also his daughter Satyabhama. Krishna rejects the diamond and accepts Satyabhama as his wife.
All the people, sages then pray to Krishan and tell him that because you are the almighty you were able to prove your innocence. But what about normal people like us. Please show us some means to over come the blame if we look at the Moon on vinayaka chaviti. Krishna pleased by the prayers, gives a boon that those who perform the Ganesh Pooja and would listen to the story of birth of Ganesha and the story of smantakamani and put the AKSHINTALU( rice which is prepared by mixing it with pasupu(turmeric) and are used to do pooja) on their heads would be freed from the curse if they accidentally see the Moon