The full moon day also known as Shravan Poornimain the month of Shravan is coincides with the Nakshatra or birth star of Lord Vishnu or Shravan Nakshatra and is therefore called Shravan Maas. Duringthis month every Monday is called Shravan Somvar Vrat and is considered auspicious. All Mondays in Shravan month are celebrated in Lord Shiva temples.
A Dharanatra is hung over the Shiva Lingam filled with Holy water and milk, to continuously bathe the lingam, throughout the day and night. Shiva devotees then offer Bilva leaves, holy water and milk and flowers, also known as Falam toyam and Pushpam patram to the Shiva Lingam every Monday. Devotees fast until sunset and the Akhand Diya burns throughout this time.
This period is considered very auspicious to the devotees of Lord Shiva and almost everyone of them will be fasting either for the whole month or at least every Mondays of the Shravan.
Legend behind Shravan Maas
As per ancient Hindu mythology the Samudra manthan or the churning of the sea was the joint effort of the Gods (Devatas) and the demons (Danavas).According to age old legends, the holy month of Shravan was the one during which the Gods and Demons decided to churn the ocean to decide who among them was the strongest. This was done to please Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. And also so that she would reward them with the nectar from the ocean. The Gods and demons had agreed to share the nectar equally among themselves. Snake Vasuki, who is depicted on Lord Shiva's neck, and Sumeru Parvat were used for the manthan.
It is said that 14 kinds of pious things came out of the ocean. An innumerable amount of gems and jewels along with the poison (Halahal) came out of the sea. But the demons and the Gods were unsure of what to do with the poison, as it had the ability to destroy everything. Lord Shiva then came to the rescue and stored this poison in his throat, which became blue. Hence earning the name Neelkanth. Lord Shiva gave life to everyone in this world by drinking the destructive poison, this is why this entire month is dedicated to him and is considered very auspicious.
The impact of this poison was so strong that Lord Shiva had to wear a crescent moon of his head and all the Devatas or Gods started offering him the holy water from the river Ganges, so that poison is tamed. As these events took place during this month, that is why this month is considered highly propitious.
Shravan month is also important as three days are also considered highly auspicious, the Shravan Mangalvar or Tuesdays in this month, Shravan Shukrawar or Fridays during this month, and Shravana Shaniwar of Saturdays during this month. Newly married girls, also perform the Mangala Gauri Vrata on Tuesdays during this month to avoid bad and negative omens. On Shravan Shukrawar or Fridays of this month Varalakshmi Vratam is observed by married ladies and during Saturdays or Shravan Shaniwar Lord Vishnu also know as Lord Balaji or Lord Venkatesh is worshipped by devotees.
Why do we fast during Shravan Maas?
- Shravan Maas is consideredvery auspicious to the devotees of Lord Shiva and almost everyone of them will be fasting either for the whole month or at leastevery Monday of the Shravan Maas. Taking an early morning bath and chanting "Om Namah Shivay" with Rudrakshbeads nine or one hundred and eight times.
- Fasting during this entire month is considered very auspicious. Waking up early morning, visiting the Shiva temple, and offering a mixture of milk, ghee, yogurt, gangajal, and honey also known as Panchamrut along with Bilva leaves is a must. One can have milk and milk products, fruits and other fasting approved items during this time.
- Fasting on all Shravan somvar, especially for unmarried women who are seeking a good husband.
- According to Hindu mythology, worshipping Shiva is considered 108 times more powerful during this time than any other time of the year.
- Those who fast during this time, are blessed with happiness and prosperity along with the pleasures of the world.
- Following Eka Bhukta Bhojan or having a one single meal in a day or Nakhtha Vratam ie, fasting during the day and having prasad or fruits at night is highly rewarding and meritorious.