On the fourth day of Navratri festival, the ritual of Varad Vinayak Chauth is performed by the devotees. This day is celebrated as Kushmanda Puja on the eve of Navratri. The ritual is performed in order to worship the idol of Varad Vinayak, an avatar of Lord Ganesha who appeared to set Mukundu Devi free from her transformation as a plant.
What is the legend of Varad Vinayak Chauth?
As per the Hindu beliefs and mythology, it is believed that there was a forest where Rishi Vachaknavi and his wife Mukunda lived. During the hunting trip, Prince Rukmangada stopped near the residence of Sage Vachaknavi. Mukunda felt attracted for the Prince and expressed her desire for him. But Prince Rukmangada refused the proposal and left from the place. Knowing this, Lord Indra took the appearance of Rukmangada and fulfilled the desire of Mukunda Devi. Later Mukunda Devi gave birth to a son named, Gritsamada.
In time, when Gritsamada came to know about the truth of his birth, Mukunda Devi was cursed by her own son and because of this, she was transformed into a thorny berry-bearing Bhor plant. In turn, Mukunda cursed Gritsamada that a demon will be born as his son. To this, they both listened to a voice which announced that Gritsamada is the son of God Indra. This left both of them shocked but the curses were irrevocable and though Mukunda Devi turned in a Bhor plant. Gritsamada felt penitent and ashamed and went to the Pushpak forest.
To get relieved from this curse, Gritsamada underwent harsh penance and worshipped and prayed to Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganpati was extremely pleased by the penance and worshipping of Gritsamada and blessed him that he will have a son who would not be defeated by anyone in the world except the deity, Lord Shiva.
Gritsamada also asked for the forest to get bestowed with his divine blessings. He also told Lord Ganesha that he wanted to be recognized as a true Brahmin and also asked the deity to live in the Pushpak forest. All the wishes of Gritsamada were granted. Gritsamada called the deity as Varad Vinayak, the one who can accomplish all the desires.
Lord Ganesha bestowed his divine blessings on the forest so any devotee who will worship and offer prayers to Varad Vinayak on the eve of Varad Vinayak Chauth will be blessed and will achieve knowledge and success. With the divine blessings of Varad Vinayaka who was the avatar of Lord Ganpati, Gritsamada was set free and the entire forest was blessed. Since that time, Varad Vinayak Chauth is celebrated to worship Lord Ganesha.