Durva Grass or Arugampul is considered indispensable for the worship of Ganesha. Along with Red Hibiscus , Rakta Chandan and Sindur, it forms the core puja items for Ganesha Puja.
There are many tales associated with Durva, and here are some below.
One of Brahma Ji’s creation was the beautiful “Durva”. She was beautiful and brought with her wealth, prosperity and well-being. However, her fame soon got to her head and on many occasions, she insulted Mata Parvati. Devi forgave her every time.
However, once Durva crossed the line and insulted Maa Parvati at a public gathering.
This angered Devi Parvati and she cursed Durva “May you become grass-like”.
Her pride shattered, Durva realized her grave mistake and beseeched Sri Ganesha for his grace. Pleased with her Tapasya and Bhakti, Sri Ganesha said, the words’s uttered by my mother cannot be false.
However, even as a grass, you will be extremely dear to me. My puja will not be considered completed without you. Henceforth, the Durva grass has been very dear to Ganesha.
In another tale, a fiery Asura by the name of Analasura, troubled the 3 worlds. Ganesha took a Bala Roopa and swallowed the Asura, however the heat caused him discomfort.
The Gods gathered to help Ganesha ease his pain. His mother Parvati smeared sandalwood paste all over his body. But the heat did not subside. Shiva lopped his cobra around Ganesha’s waist. But the burning sensation remained.
Lord Varuna, the God of rain showered plenty of water on Ganesha’s body. The Moon God Chandra, came and sat on Ganesha’s head to enable hid radiance to cool Ganesha’s body (hence Ganesha came to be known as Bhalachandra).
Lord Vishnu offered him his lotus to pacify the fire and Ganesha also came to be known as Padmapani. However, all the efforts were futile.
Finally Rishi Kahsyapa along with a few other sages arrived and offered the Durva they use for the Homa Karyas to Ganesha. At once, the heat cooled off, and Ganesha said from today Durva will be dear to him.
Another story which emphasizes the importance of Durva is when Sri Ganesha appeared as a Brahmin at King Janaka’s house to tame the latte’s pride.
Ganapati ate so much that the king ran out of food. However, when Sage Trishira offered him two blades of Durva grass with Bhakti, he was immediately satiated.
There is also a story about Ashraya, Rishi Kaundilya’s wife. Kaundinya was telling the importance of Durva to his wife. But she doubted it. It was then decided that the Durva would be weighed against its weight in gold and then it would be clear who was right.
The entire treasury of Indra, Kubera and all the Devas including the Trimurtis could not outweigh that single blade of Durva. Sage Kaundilya then explained to everyone that the Durva was blessed by Ganesha’s grace and hence, nothing could outweigh it.
We can thus see, how important Durva is to Ganesha, today being Sankashti ( Sankatahara Chathurti ) , may well all worship the Lord of Obstacles and the Remover of Obstacles, with Durva.
– Shri Maha Ganapataye Namaha , Sangili Karuppan Thunai
( Thanks to Yogindra Peeth Morgoan and Mallika Ji for the translation )