‘Shiva,’ the name itself speaks volumes about this powerful ‘Shakti’ who stands as the pantheon and the heads of the gods n Hindu trinity. Often remarked as Shiva, the destroyer, He is known by variant names like Mahadeva, Mahayogi, Pashupati, Nataraja, Bhairava, Vishwanath, Bhava, Bhole Nath. However, this Lord or lords is worshipper in temples as a phallic symbol of the ‘Linga’ which signifies and demonstrates the energies required to stabilise and lead a life in both worlds that is the world which constitutes the whole of universe as well as the mortal world in which we live.
When and why is Shiva worshipped so benevolently during the Shravan month
Shiva is worshipped everyday by Hindus, but there are two most auspicious occasions to worship the deity, during which it is believed that the Lord bestows its devotees with whatever they desire, to the maximum. Millions of devotees worship Lord Shiva during these times so as to make it fruitful for them.
• The first is the ‘Shivratri’- the night of Lord Shiva. It falls when winter is still lurking around and one can feel the presence of spring in the air around. on the ceremonial night of Shivratri millions devotees, especially the women folk, keep a fast to appease the lord.
• The other most revered time to worship Lord Shiva and please him thoroughly is during the Saawan Month which is the fifth month as per the Hindu calendar. It begins from Chaitra Maas and is considered the most auspicious month of the Chaturmas. During the course of this month, the star ‘Shravan’ rules the sky and hence the month has been christened as Sawan or Shravan. During this entire month, innumerable religious ceremonies and festivals are performed on every single day in praise of Lord Shiva.
• The month of Shravan stands as the union of Shiva with Shakti (Lord Parvati) when Lord Shiva married Goddess Uma on the Shravan Shivratri, thereby marking the union of the two greatest forces of the universe. Hence Lord Shiva is happiest during this month and grants devotees with all their wishes.
• Further, it is believed that Samudra Manthan, the churning of the milky ocean, which was one of the most important events as per the Hindu Puranas, it is during the month of Shravan that the deadly poison, Halalal, was obtained and Lord Shiva, in order to rescue the universe and living beings from getting destroyed, swallowed the poison. Due to the potency of the poison, the Lord’s throat turned blue and hence he came to be known as Neelkantha. Since then, Lord Shiva feels extremely appeased and happy when people worship and admire him during the month of Shravan.
This year Shravan month is beginning from 28th of July to 26th of August, 2018.
Significance of Shravan Maas
Every day of the Shravan month holds some significance, especially the Mondays, known as the Shravan Somvar is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur in the temples where the Dhranatra hangs over the Linga and the idol is bathed with holy water throughout the day and even during the night. Worshippers pile up the linga with offerings of the Bel leaves and flowers. They hold a fast till sunset for the Lord. It is believed that offering milk to Lord Shiva during the Sawan month brings in a lot of ‘punya’ for the devotees.
Shravan month comes after the Hindu months of Chaitra, Vaishak and Jyestha, which happen to be the hottest months of the year. It is one of the three rainy months Ashad, Shravan and Bhadra paksha which are supposed to bring great relief to the farmers after the scorching heat of the sun. Hence everyone awaits to celebrate these months with great enthusiasm and devotion.
How to celebrate and do puja in the Shravan Maas
People celebrate the Shravan month by gong to the Shiva temple, carrying holy water from the rivers in small pots tied with bamboo sticks and balancing on their shoulders called Kanvars. This practise covers a distance of about 100 kms and is covered on foot within a couple of days. It is commonly practised at Vaidyanath Dham, also known as Deodhar in Jharkanda.
Lord Shiva is offered holy water, bilwa-patra (bel leaves), sandalwood paste, flowers and dhoop (incense sticks).
Monday or the day of moon (Som-War) is considered most auspicious and every 4-5 Mondays a fast is kept during the Saawan month.
During the Sawan month on Hariyali teej the women folk arrange a fair (mela) for the welfare of their husband and his family. They deck up with green bangles, enjoy swings, worship Lord Shiva and even observe Raksha-bandhan on the last day of the Saawan month. On this day sisters tie a knot of thread, rakhi, around their brother’s wrist as a symbol of love and trust.
Hence, he month of Saawan is observed as full of fun, frolic, devotion and traditional beliefs which is a win-win time for devotees in every aspect.
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