|What is Agariki Sankashti Chaturthi and how is it observed|
When the fourth day of the second fortnight of a Hindu Calendar Month falls on a Tuesday it is knows as Agariki Sankashti Chaturthi.
It is a special day for the devotees of Shree Siddhivinayak and the preparations for this day begin well in advance. The devotees thronging the temple on this day are innumerable and Darshan from within the Gabhara begins at 1.30 a.m. Tuesday morning and continues uninterrupted (barring the morning Aarti and evening Mahapuja and Aarti) till about 2.00 a.m. Wednesday morning. The temple trust makes arrangement of Close Circuit Television to facilitate lakhs of people to get Darshan of Shree Siddhivinayak without stepping into the temple.
The common Darshan on Agariki Sankashti Chaturthi Day begins at 2.00 a.m. Tuesday morning and continuous till about 1.00 a.m. Wednesday morning. It is impossible to estimate the total number of people who obtain Darshan of Shree Siddhivinayak on this day. The Mahapuja and Abhishek which is carried out is like other Sankashti Chaturthi days. Also performed is a Sahastravartan (i.e. 1000 recitations of Atharva Sheersha) under the auspices of the temple trust. This is done at about 6.30 a.m. and is conducted from the mezzanine gallery from where other pujas are also carried out till about 1.00 p.m. after which the gallery is used for common Darshan. On this day again the temple only closes after the last of the Devotees has been able to seek Darshan of Shree Siddhivinayak.
Long long ago there lived a sage called Bhrushundi. (Sage Bhrushundi did penance for many years of Lord Ganesha and became great among the devotees of Lord Ganesha. While doing penance a trunk immerged from his nose, that is why he has been called as Bhrushundi. Everyone use to see him to get virtue.)
Once God Indra's plane on his way back to home from sage Bhrushundi, was going above king Shursen's kingdom. One person(who has done many sins in his life) saw the plane of God Indra in the sky. With his look the plane landed on the ground. By seeing the brightness of the plane, king went to see the plane and person travelling in the plane. By seeing God Indra king was very much pleased and he saluted God Indra and ask about the landing of the plane. God Indra told him that a sinner from your city looked at the plane, because of his sins the plane came down. By hearing the noise of the plane, everyone from the city came to see the plane.
All people worshipped God Indra. King asked God Indra how the plane could start again? God Indra told him that today is Panchami from the month of the Paush. Yesterday was the Chaturthi. Check whether anyone done fasting yesterday. If that person gives his virtue to me then my plane will start. Soldiers searched the city for the person who did fasting on Chaturthi. but unfortunately they found no one. At the same time some soldiers saw Ganesh-Duta (a soldier of Lord Ganesha) who is taking away a woman died recently. Soldiers asked him that how can you take such a sinner to Ganesh-loka. Ganesh-Duta told soldiers that yesterday whole day that woman was in sleep. She has not eaten anything. Late night after moonrise she woke up and eat some food. Without her knowledge she did Sankashti-Chaturthi. She died today.
A person who does Sankashti-Chaturthi even once in the life, after death goes to Ganesh-loka or Swananda-loka. Soldiers requested Ganesh-Duta to give that woman to them so that the plane of could start. But Ganesh-Duta refused to give virtue of that woman to soldiers. The wind which flown from the dead woman's body went till God Indra's plane and with the wind it could start the plane. It means that the wind which touched that virtuous body also become virtuous.
The person who does Sankashti-Chaturthi (do fasting till the moonrise and then eat the food) will collect lot of virtues. After the death that person goes to Swanand-loka and the rebirth of that person stops. There is a belief in Hinduism that a person takes seven births before gets 'Moksha'. (Becomes free, there is no rebirth afterwards.)