While the Northern states in India are already in the middle of the of Shravan month, which commenced in certain states on July 25, the auspicious Shravan Maas in the Southern and Western parts of the country, including Maharashtra, will begin from today (August 9).
Sawan, or Shravan, is the fifth month of the solar year in the Hindu calendar. Shravan holds great significance as it is the first month of Chaturmas, the holy period of four months—Shravan, Bhadrapada, Ashwin and Karthik. This day is especially significant for the devotees of Lord Shiva, since the entire month is dedicated to him. The followers of Lord Shiva worship him and observe fast on Mondays, called Shravan Somwars. During the month, Lord Shiva is worshipped everyday as per Vedic rituals. Worshipping Lord Shiva in the form of Lingam is one of the most essential aspects of Shiv pujan in Shravan.
It is believed that in the month of Shravan the entire cosmos is charged with Shiva tattvas (Shiva elements) that purify the mind, senses, body and soul. And through the rituals dedicated to Lord Shiva, one can cleanse and aim to attain control over his/her five tattvas.
According to Hindu mythology, the historic Samudra Manthan, the churning of the ocean milk, was done in the month of Shravan. And while Gods and Demons were churning the ocean to obtain the nectar, along with 14 pious things, Halahal, the lethal poison, came out of the ocean. And since the poison had the ability to destroy everything, Lord Shiva stored the poison in his throat, which turned his throat blue, that’s how he earned the name Neelkanth. And in a bid to tame the strong impact of poison and soothe Shiva’s pain, Gods offered him the holy water from the Ganges. It is believed by offering water to shiv lingam, the impact of poison is tamed. That is why offering water to Shiva Lingam in Shravan is considered pious. It is also believed that in the month of Shravan, Goddess Parvati carried out penance and fasted for an entire month to please and marry Lord Shiva.
People who observe Shravan follow a sattvic lifestyle and indulge in spirituality. Every Monday, they visit Shiva temple where they bathe the lingam with panchamrit and holy water, the ritual is called ‘Abhishek’. They then decorate the lingam with flowers, offer bilwa leaves, bhasma and Rudraksh beads. Devotees light up diyas and perform aartis in the honour of Lord Shiva. Chanting Shiva Mantras throughout the day or 108 times is also an important ritual followed by the devotees.