Dive into the Spirit of Holy Month – Shravan (The Month of Lord Shiva)

August 8, 2015, In: Festivals

The history of the birth of Shravan goes back in the time of the legend of Samudra Manthan or churning of oceans. It was here when while churning, the Halahala (poison) came out of the ocean which was consumed by Lord Shiva in order to save the universal creation. He stored it in his throat, which turned it blue, thereby gaining him the name of Neelkantha. In order to reduce the consequences of the poison, Lord Shiva wore a crescent shaped moon on his head, while the lords and humans contributed by offering the holy water from the Ganges, in the glorification of Lord Shiva. Hence the day came into being.

Shravan is the fifth month of the Hindu lunar calendar commencing at the end of July till the third week of August. It is known as Avani in Tamil calendar and Srabon in the Bengali calendar. In the north, it also goes by the name Sawan and is held in high reverence as a holy month dedicated to Lord Shiva and also for hosting a number of festivals. The star of Shravan is said to rule the sky during this month on the Purnima or full moon day. It is considered to be the most auspicious month for performing pujas, vrats (fasts) and other religious ceremonies.

The Shravan Purnima is the name of the festival celebrated to mark the importance of the month. It is known as Narali Purnima in western India, Avani Avittam in South, Kajari Purnima in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and Pavitropana in Gujarat. Other important festivals falling this month are Raksha Bandhan, Hariyali Teej, Kamika Ekadashi, Hariyali Amavasya and Varalakshmi Vrat.

Shravana Mass or Shravan Somvar Vrat is the fast observed by devotees on Mondays of the month. As per the routine of it, devotees should have a bath and offer their prayers to the deity, appeasing the Lord with Pancharitam (a concoction of mashed fruits raw honey and sugar) and Bilva leaves. One can either observe a strict fast by consuming nothing for an entire day or partial fast by consuming liquids and fruits. The day is held important over the belief that it is likely for people to have their prayers answered, while for the girls, it is supposed that, observing the Vrat will present her with a good spouse. Some devotees also practice Maun Vrat, which is act of not uttering a word for a day or more, with the exception of chanting the maha mritunjaya jaap.

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