In the traditional lunisolar Hindu calendar, Shravana is the fifth holy month signifying the arrival of South-West monsoon. The month gets its name from the Shravana Nakshatra that rules the skies during Poornima or a full moon day. Hence, Shravan month is a very important month in the Indian subcontinent where auspicious festivals and events are undertaken.
The ruling star on this full moon day defining the month, it is the favourite month of Lord Shiva. This entire month is a month of fasting for most Hindus. Devotees observe fast every Monday for Lord Shiva and every Tuesday for Goddess Parvathi. Devotees call fasting on Tuesdays as “Mangala Gauri Vrat.”
Significance of Lord Shiva during Sawan Month
The ever-popular event of the Puranas, Samudra Manthan, was during the Sawan month. This was the churning of the milky ocean to extract amrit. During the process, the deadliest poison, Halahal started emerging. The devas and the asuras could not touch it, and it could destroy the entire universe.
Lord Shiva drank it and stored it in his throat to protect the universe. This is how he got the title “Neelkantha.” The term means “blue throat.” Shiva had to place a crescent moon on his head from where devas could offer water from the Ganges. This act helped reduce the effects of the poison. This event took place during the same month. Hence, devotees offer the Holy Ganga water to Lord Shiva during this month. That’s why this month is one of the most auspicious months in the Hindu calendar.
Significance of Shravan Month
This month of monsoon is a beautiful time to experience the magic of nature and it’s freshness. It’s the phrase of rain and time for prosperity. Auspicious moments fill the air and it’s perfect to worship the supreme power and seek the blessings.
Memorable songs have also been written to describe the beautiful sawan month.
Significance of Sawan Somwar Vrat
During this month, Sawan Somwar is the day to receive the eternal blessings of Lord Shiva. The month holds several significances and gives exceptional benefits for devotees. These include:
The vrat is extremely prosperous for unmarried girls. By observing the vrat, they will be able to marry the partner they desire.
It is so significant as it is said that by observing the vrat all the dreams and desires will come true.
Rituals of Sawan Month or Shravana
Devotees should perform several rituals if they intend to receive the blessings of Lord Shiva. Devotees strongly believe that the Shravana Masa rituals have the power to touch their lives and souls in profound ways. The rituals comprise of:
- Devotees should take a holy dip early in the morning and pray to Lord Ganesha. Next, they should worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
- Devotees should offer bael leaves, milk, jaggery, honey and yoghurt to the Shiva Linga. This combination is called Panchabhutas.
- The location of puja should be cleansed to establish an idol of Lord Shiva.
- Devotees should chant the powerful mantras like “Om Namah Shivay” and the Maha Mrityunjay Mantra throughout the Somvar vrat.
- Devotees should wear Rudraksh and also use the Rudraksh mala to perform japa or meditation.
- You should listen to or even recite the Solah Somvar Vrat Katha to complete the ritual and fast. This is the story that depicts Lord Shiva’s journey.
- Make sure to consume potato chips, fruits, Sabudana Khichdi and other such items during the vrat.
- Bhibhuti is very important and very sacred. Offer it to the Lord and also smear it on your forehead.
- Young women seeking good husbands should observe fast on all Shravan Smovars.
The Maha Mrityunjay Mantra
The powerful Maha Mrityunjay Mantra to recite during the entire Shravan Somvar is:
Om Trayambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushti Vardhanam
Urwarukmivbandhanaan Mrityormuksheey Maamritaat
Shravan Month is an auspicious time to show gratitude to the almighty for protecting the universe and all the living organisms.
Several auspicious days and festivals mark the religious significance of Shravan Month. The entire period comes to life with Lord Shiva devotees making all efforts to appease him and seek his blessings. The festivals comprise of:
Though it’s the month of Lord Shiva, Kamika Ekadashi is one of the twenty-four Ekadashi vrats devotees observe to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu.
Shravan Somwar Vrats
All Mondays are grand occasions during the Shravan month. These days are highly auspicious for fasting and are popularly known as Shravan Somwar.
Mangala Gauri Vrats
Married women observe Mangala Gauri Vrat every Tuesday to seek conjugal bliss from Goddess Gauri.
This is an auspicious occasion commemorating the union of Goddess Parvati with Lord Shiva. People celebrate this day with great aplomb for marital bliss and well-being of their spouse and children.
Married women offer puja and milk to the Snake God on this day. They also pray for the wellness of their brothers and family.
Shravana Putrada Ekadashi
Devotees seek Lord Vishnu’s blessings by observing this Ekadashi that happens to be one among twenty-four auspicious Ekadashi.
This is a special festival to win the favour of Goddess Lakshmi who is the consort of Lord Vishnu.
This is the famous occasion marking the celebration of the relationship between brothers and sisters. Sisters tie a sacred thread called rakhi around their brothers’ wrists.
Devotees celebrate the birth anniversary of Goddess Gayatri who is the Goddess of Veda.
This festival is the birth anniversary of the future incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Kalki will be the tenth and the last incarnation of Lord Vishnu’s dashavatar, at the end of Kali Yuga.
This auspicious day is the birth anniversary of Lord Hayagriva. Devotees consider him to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
This month is also popular as Narali Purnima in Maharashtra, including the coastal Maharashtra and Konkani region. Devotees offer coconuts to the sea, showing their respect to Lord Varuna. He is the lord of the sea and, this festival is the start of the fishing season. It is a special occasion for fishermen to begin their living again.
This festival takes place in Odisha and celebrations include the decoration and worshipping of cows and bullocks. Devotees share and distribute country-made cakes and sweets among families, friends and relatives. According to the people in Odisha, Lord Krishna and Radha immensely enjoy the rainy season the Shravana month brings.
The celebrations end with the grand celebration of Jhulan Yatra. Devotees decorate idols of Radha & Krishna on a swing.
This is an important occasion for farmers and women in the central states of India. Women perform several rituals during Kajari Navami that continues up to the full moon day.
The popularity of the Monsoon Month
Shravana’s meaning holds great importance in the Indian Sub-continent and enjoys unmatched popularity. The season is mentioned in famous texts like Meghaduta by Kalidasa. In fact, many famous movies of the bygone era carry the word “Sawan” in the title.
Hindustani Classical Music has delightful songs with the theme of Radha-Krishna during the monsoons.
Annually, Jharkhand witnesses the famous Shravani Mela where saffron-clad pilgrims carry holy water from the Ganges at Sultanganj, Bihar. They walk 100km by foot carrying the water.
Kanwar Yatra takes place annually at Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand. During the occasion, Shiva devotees fetch the holy water from the Ganges.
Significance of Shravan Somvar
We already know that every Monday during this season, devotees observe Shravan Somvar in all Shiva temples. The Shiva Linga is continuously bathed with holy water and milk the entire day and night. Devotees offer Falam-Toyam, Pushpam-Patram to Shiva Linga. These include Bael leaves, flowers, holy water and milk. The fasting continues till the sun goes down completely while the Akhand Diya burns continuously.
During Shravan month, the entire Hindu community in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka switch to a strict vegetarian diet. The Monsoon season makes it is difficult to get seafood and it is thought that most fish spawn during this period. Thus, abstaining from fishing in Shraavana will lead to increased fish throughout the year.
Other Important Occasions of Shravan Month
Jandhyam in Sanskrit means sacred thread and Poornima means full moon. Hence, devotees observe this day on full moon day during Shravan month. Brahmin men take part in the sacred thread changing ceremony and the occasion is called Yajurveda Nutanasahitha Upakarma.
Priests in Haryana and Punjab celebrate this special day by tying amulets on each other’s wrists to seek protection against evil. This festival takes place along with Raksha Bandhan. However, both the occasions are distinct from each other where the threads for Salono are called ponchis.