Shravan Maas falls on the fifth month of the Hindu calendar, starting late July and ending by the third week of August. The star 'Shravan' rules the sky during Purnima (full moon day) or during an entire month, hence the month is known as Shravan Month or Maas (also known as Sawan month in North India). This month is considered to be the holiest month of the year as many religious festivals and ceremonies fall in this month such that almost every day in the month is considered prosperous.
This month is dedicated to the worship and reverence of Lord Shiva. Devotees observe fasts during Shravan Maas to please Lord Shiva. The legend of Shravan Month is that the Samudra Manthan or churning of oceans took place in this month. During the churning, the Halahal (poison) that came out and was consumed by Lord Shiva which he stored it in his throat subsequently turning his throat blue, and hence Shiva is attributed to the name Neelkantha (meaning blue throat). To reduce the poison's impact, Lord Shiva wore the crescent moon on his head. To lessen the effect of the poison the Gods and people started offering the water from the Holy Ganges to Lord Shiva.
Shravan Month Dates in 2016
The auspicious Shravan Maas in 2016 for the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar begins from 20th July (Wednesday) and is observed as the 'first day of Shravan Month' and is followed with "Sawan Somwar Vrat" on every Monday i.e. on 25th July, 01st August, 08th August, 15th August and ends on 18th August.
Shravan Maas in 2016 in Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu begins from 03rd August (Wednesday) and is followed with "Sawan Somwar Vrat" on 08th August, 15th August, 22nd August, 29th August and ends on 01st September (Sunday). Lord Shiva is worshipped on these Mondays.
During the entire Shravan Maas period, devotees offer prayers, flowers and Abhishekam to Lord Shiva to gain a long and prosperous life.
Shravan Maas Puja
The Shravan Maas comprises of many festivals and auspicious days.
AThe Shravan Maas Puja is Shravan Somvar Vrat, where people observe a fast on all of the Mondays of Shravan Month. Shravan Somvar is more focused on fasting as the entire month is dedicated to Lord Shiva. After taking a bath people should pray to the graceful Lord Shiva, sanctify the Lord with Panchamritam and other auspicious items like bilva leaves. One can consume liquid foods or fruits during the day and before breaking the fast pray to the Lord in the evening.
It is believed that the person who fasts on all Mondays of Shravan will have all their prayers answered by the Lord.
Shravan Month Festivals also includes Mangala Gouri Puja, which is falls on Tuesdays in Shravan Month.
How to Fast on Shravan Maas Mondays and its Benefits:
Shravan Maas Somvar is very important for the devotees of Lord Shiva's. On this special day, devotees show their respect by observing a fast from sunrise to sunset.
There are two ways in which fast can be observed and they are:
- Strict Fast: In this type of fasting, a person does not eat anything for an entire day except for drinking water.
- Partial fast: In a partial fast one can eat fruits and have juices.
Many people while fasting chant the Shiva Mantra "Om Namah Shivaya" and Mahamrityunjaya Mantra. Some devotees even keep a Maun Vrat for a whole day to connect themselves to Lord Shiva.
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.
Advantages of Fasting on the Somvar (Monday) in Shravan Maas:
- Devotees are blessed with spiritual bliss
- Improving physical and mental health
- Increasing willpower and memory
- Women who fast on Shravan Mondays (Somvars) get their perfect partner
- Fasting removes obstacles by expelling negativity
Other festivals and auspicious days in Shravan Mahina / Shravan Maas 2016:
Significance of Shravan Maas:
Each day in the Shravan Month has its specific importance and rituals that have to be followed.
- 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 worshipping Buddh and Guru.
- Friday: for worshipping 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.
Things to Do during Shravan Maas:
- Wear a Rudraksha and use a mala for Japa.
- Chant Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra.
- Offer Vibhuti to Lord Shiva and also place some of it on your forehead.
- Keep a fast on Monday to please Lord Shiva. It is a belief that girls who fast on every Monday of Shravan gets a good spouse.
- Make offerings on the Shiva Lingam that consist of Bel leaves, Panchamrut (milk, yoghurt, clarified butter, honey and jaggery).
- The general belief is that by offering milk to Lord Shiva in the month of Shravan one can earn a lot of punya or merit.
- Recite Shiv Chalisa and do Aarti.