Shravan Month / Shravan Maas
Of all the months, Shravan Maas (July-August) is considered most auspicious. It is the fifth month of solar year and is also known as ‘Avani’ in the Tamil scriptures. As per Vedic astrology, when Sun enters the zodiac Leo, Shravan Maas is said to set in. As per lunar calendar, Shravan sets in on the New Moon Day.
On Full Moon Day (Punam or Purninma), the divine firmament (sky) is under the celestial sovereignty of Shravan Nakshtra (one of twenty seven Nakshatras). Therefore it is called Shravan. Each day during this month is auspicious for worshipping Shambhu (Shiva). Prayers and Vedic rituals are performed in Lord Shiva temples in order to please Him. Shravan Maas is also a holy month filled with other festivals such as Naga-Panchami, Govatsa, Shravani Purnima , Vara Lakshmi Vrata, Rishi Panchami, Raksha Bandhan, Kalkyavatara and Putradaikadashi.
Northern states such as Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and others celebrate fifteen days before the southern states celebrate.
Since it is the most auspicious period, one can take advantage of it by performing Shravan Maas Shiva Puja. During this month, the cosmos is super charged with Shiva tattvas (Shiva elements) that purify the mind, the senses, the body and the self (Soul) through the rituals dedicated to Lord Shiva. Following pujas can be performed under qualified Brahmins.
Significance of Shravan Maas:
Devotees observe austerities, fasts and prayers in this holy month of Shravan. This is the time when Lord Shiva drank the poisonous Halahala that emanated from Samudra Manthan between the Devas and Asuras for the quest of the Nectar (ambrosia). During the Manthan, the ocean produced lots of valuables such as gemstones, Goddesses riches, cows, bows, the Moon, conch etc. which were taken up by gods and demons. Fourteen different gems emerged from the ocean which were divided them. When the Ocean produced the deadliest poison called Halahala, all of them cringed back as it was too dangerous to destroy the universes. It was Shiva who decided to drink it to save the world. His devout wife saw him taking Halahala, she at once held His throat so that the poison wouldn’t go down. As a result His throat turned blue and He was called Neelkantha.
Spiritual Activities During Shravan
One must engage in devotional activities such as worship, Sadhanas, meditaion or bhajans at home or in Shiva temples. One must visit Shiva temples during this month. Each day of this month carries spiritual significance
The dates of important festivals and auspicious days in Shravan Maas 2016 are:
- Monday: is the day to worship Lord Shiva.
- Tuesday: women worship Gauri for the better health of their family.
- Wednesday: is dedicated to Vithala, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu or Krishna.
- Thursdays: are for worshiping Buddh and Guru.
- Friday: for worshiping Lakshmi and Tulsi.
- Saturdays: are for Saturn (Shani Dev). These days are also known as Shravan Saturdays or Sampat Sanivara (wealth Saturdays) as one can pray for obtaining wealth.
- Sundays: are for the Sun god. Sun worship was common practice in the Vedic period and it is followed even now. Especially in Shravan, every Sunday the Sun is worshipped.
- Madhushrava Tritiya – August 5
- Durva Ganapati Vrat – August 6
- Nag Panchami – August 7
- Kalki Jayanti - August 8
- Sheetala Saptami – August 10
- Varalakshmi Vrat – August 12
- Rig Shravani – August 18
- Narali Purnima and Raksha Bandhan – August 18
Things to do in Shravan Maas
Since Shravan Mass is highly auspicious as per Vedas, you can engage in activities that add to your devotion to Shiva.
Rudra Abhishek And Homa:
Rudra’ means the one who is terribly infuriated, which is one of the divine qualities of Lord Shiva who displays it while performing His cosmic dance, Tandava for the annihilation of creations. Shiva, by the virtue of this quality, is called Rudra. Abhishek means a method of worship offered to the Divine for cleansing all the misgivings, sins of the worshiper.
Performing Shiva Abhishek includes the offerings of Panchamrit (mix of milk, honey, sugar, ghee and curd, Ganga jal, ghee, Bael Patra (Bilva leaves), Dhatura and other sacred items dear to Lord Shiva.
Rudra Abhishek and Homa purifies your mind and body, offers peace, fulfills your desires and enlightens your soul.
You may chant the following Shiva Mantras using a Rudraksha rosary or silently in mind. Chanting may be done at specified time and with specific number of counts (108 times or multiples of it) in the morning or evening, or you may do ajapa-japa, a silent repetition of the mantra throughout the day.
“I am None other than Shiva who is the supreme reality. Na-ma-Ha, means None other than”
tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ pushtivardhanam ।
urvārukamiva bandhanān mrityormukshīya mā'mratāt ।।
“OM! We worship the Three-eyed Lord Who is fragrant and Who nourishes and nurtures all beings. As the ripened cucumber (without the intervention of the gardener) is freed from its bondage (to the creeper), may He liberate us from death for the sake of immortality.”
Om Tatpurushaya Vidmahe Mahadevaya Dhimahi
Tanno Rudrah Prachodayat॥
“OM! Let me meditate on the great Purusha, Oh, greatest God, give me higher intellect, and let God Rudra illuminate my mind.”
Also you can read stories of Lord Shiva, read the Shiva Purana and meditate on His holy form. This is true Bhakti.
Fasting For Shiva on Mondays during Shravan Maas:
According to Shiva Purana, those who observe fast during Shravan Maas have their desires fulfilled and are blessed with the grace of Shiva. Shravan Maas Somvar is very important for the devotees of Lord Shiva.
There are two ways in which fast can be observed and they are:
- Austere Fast: In this type of fasting, a person does not eat anything for an entire day except for drinking water. The fast is broken in the evening after sunset and regular food without onion and garlic is consumed.
- Partial fast: In a partial fast one can eat fruits and permitted foods like sabudana and nuts in the day and eat one time meal in the night.
The fast is broken after sunset, although in some cases it continues till next day. Devotees offer their prayers to Lord Shiva and then consume normal food.
Another type of fasting is that you can keep a maun vrat (Silence) on one whole day in this month and remember Shiva in your mind.
Benefits of Fasting on the Somvar (Monday) in Shravan Maas:
- Devotees are blessed with spiritual bliss
- Improves physical and mental health
- Increases willpower and memory
- Women who fast on Shravan Mondays (Somvars) get their perfect husband
- Fasting removes obstacles by expelling negativity
Wearing Spiritual Items dear to Lord Shiva
Along with Shiva Puja, which is the highest form of devotion, one can use spiritually energized products such as Rudraksha beads, lockets, bracelets and the like.
Pujas performed in Shravan Maas
Rudram Chamakam Yagna Puja
Shri Rudram is one of the oldest names of Lord Shiva. Through the chanting of Sri Rudram, Lord Shiva’s various attributes and aspects are invoked and worshipped. By the power of Shri Rudram sick become well, the unmarried find the ideal mates, debts are removed, wealth and power are showered and all the ills are kept at bay. The Vedic hymn that extols Lord Rudra is called the Rudra Prashna. Rudra Prashna is also called the Rudradhyaya, the Shatharudriyam or Sri Rudram. This Sri Rudram is found in the mid portion of the Taittiriya Krishna Yajur Veda. Namakam literally means the hymn which is made of Namaha. Namaha in Sanskrit has two meanings. One is Salutations and the other is not mine. Every time when you utter the word Namaha, actually the patterns and karmas get detached from you and get rid of the spell of patterns and karmas. It is said that chanting of Sri Rudram is a direct way to Enlightenment.
Benefits of this puja:
- Divine grace and blessings of Lord Shiva
- Removal of malefic effects of various Planets
- Health, wealth and prosperity
- Success in career, job, business and relationships relief
- Protection against various diseases and ailments
- Spiritual upliftment
Maha Mrityunjaya Puja is done for a long and healthy life and to get rid of prolonged sickness. Mahamrityunjaya Mahadev is the conqueror of death. The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra helps overcome all sorts of negativities fears and induces a deep spiritual self-realization. Shiva is the Soul and prayer to Him makes one realize the eternity of self and thus removes the fear of death. Mahamrityunjaya Mantra is also known as Mrita-Sanjivini Mantra because it is a component of the "life-restoring” practice given to the primordial sage Shukra. The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is hailed by the sages as the heart of the Veda. Benefits of this puja:
- For divine grace and blessings of Lord Shiva
- For relief from miseries, troubles, stress and ego
- For Deep spiritual realization
- For courage and relief from kinds of fears of death and influences of evil planets
- Wash beads with water or water mixed with Ganges water every week.
- For long and healthy life. For freedom from diseases
Mangala Gouri Puja
Alongside the above popular Shiva Puja, one can perform Mangala Gouri Puja on Tuesday. Goddess Maha Gauri is worshipped for Her blessings for desire fulfillments. Observing fast and worshipping Goddess Mahagauri during Shravan Maas is immensely fruitful, especially for the unmarried girls and married woman.
Other festivals and auspicious days in Shravan Mahina / Shravan Maas 2016:
It is a traditional Vedic worship of snakes or serpents observed by the followers of Vedic customs. The worship, prayers and rituals are performed on the fifth day of bright half of Lunar month of Shravan (July/August)
The divine abode of Nagas is believed to be Naga-loka. The Snake gods are worshipped for the welfare of the family. Serpent deity of silver, stone or wood or the painting of snakes on the wall are given a bath with milk and then respected.
It is a traditional Vedic worship of snakes or serpents observed by the followers of Vedic customs. The worship, prayers and rituals are performed on the fifth day of bright half of Lunar month of Shravan (July/August) The divine abode of Nagas is believed to be Naga-loka. The Snake gods are worshipped for the welfare of the family. Serpent deity of silver, stone or wood or the painting of snakes on the wall are given a bath with milk and then respected.