Ashtavinayak Yatra
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THE STORY OF SHREE BALLALESHWAR

In Krityuga there was a staunch child devotee of Ganapati called Ballal living in village Pali of county Sindhu. He was the son of a businessman called Kalyan & his wife Indumati. From childhood itself Ballal was very much addicted to worshipping Shri Ganesh. Along with other children he used to worship with small stones being treated as Gods. Once the children went outside the village & saw a big stone. At the instance of Ballal, the children treated the stone as Ganapati. Ballal brought Durva, Bilva & leaves of different trees & worshipped Ganesha. Some children started meditating. Some chanted repeated the words ‘Jai Gajanan, Jai Gajanan’. Some danced, some started singing stotras with sweet voices. Some built small temple with bamboos & leaves. Some worshipped the idol with flowers & leaves of forest. One boy started narrating the story of Ganesha. All of them were so engrossed that they forgot about hunger & thirst or about day & night.

Their parents were waiting for the children at their homes. when they did not return on time, they all went to Kalyan vaishya’s house & asked him “Where is your Ballal? Our children have gone outside the village at his instance & have not returned so far. He is their leader. He has spoiled them. You control your boy. Otherwise we will complain to the village officer”

Kalyan seth became furious. He took a stick & went out. He saw the children listening to Ganesh Purana outside the village. With anger gone into his head he broke the small temple & started chasing the children. Ballal’s companion fled away, but as Ballal was submerged in meditation was caught by his father. He was beaten till blood started flowing from his body. His father tied him to a tree. He also smashed all pooja materials & threw away the big stone which children treated as Ganapati. “Let me see which god protects you now,” saying this he went home.

Ballal Started entreating Vinayaka “O God! you are called as Vighnanashaka because you remove the obstacles faced by your worshippers. Vedas & Shastras say that you never forget your devotees, then why is it that. I am facing obstruction in your worship?” Ballal was not concerned about his being beaten up or being tied to the tree. But he became furious seeing the temple smashed & idol thrown blind, deaf, dumb & hunchback” Through he was affected by pain, hunger & thirst he kept on chanting the name of Gajanana till he fainted.

Lord Ganapati was moved by the Childs devotion. He appeared in the form of a Brahmin Ballal & touched him. Immediately the thirst & hunger vanished, wounds were healed& Ballal felt a new vigour moving in his body. He prostrated before the Brahmin whom he recognized as Gajanan & worshipped him. Ganapati said, “Your curse will come true. In his next birth also he will face misery. His father will drive him away. Now you ask me for any boon you want.”

Ballal said, “Let me have unshaken devotion towards you. You must stay at this place & remove the miseries of the people, who came to you.”

Ganesh said, “I shall ever remain here in my part form, I will take your name before mine & be called as Ballal Vinayak.” then he embraced Ballal & vanished into a nearby stone. That stone statue is now called Ballaleshwar. The stone idol which Kalyan vaishya threw away is also called as Dhundi Vinayak. This is a swayambhoo Moorti. He is worshipped before Balleshwar is worshipped.

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