The month of Shravan or Sawan is the most auspicious month in Hindu calendar. This whole month is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the devotees pray, keep various fasts to seek the blessings of the Lord. The Mondays or Somwars of the month are dedicated to Lord Shiva while the Tuesdays and Mangalwars are dedicated to Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva’s consort. The devotees fast or keep vrats on Mondays which are also known as Shravan Somwars or Sawan Somwars. The followers fast for consequent 16 Mondays called solah somwar vrats, from the first Monday of sawan month to the Last Monday, to please the Lord.
Guru Purnima on Sunday, 9th July 2017, marked the beginning of sawan or Shravan month. 10th July is the First Monday of the sawan month in the Northern States like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar and the month will end on 7th August. In other states like Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the solah somwar will begin on 24th July and end on 21st August 2017.
The gap of 15 days between the start of the month in different States is because they follow different Hindu calendars. The Purnimant Calendar, followed by the Northern States, marks the start of sawan month 15 days prior to that marked in Amavasyant Calendar, followed by other States.
Significance of Lord Shiva in Shravan or Sawan Month
In Puranas (Sacred Hindu Mythology in Sanskrit), there is an important episode that gives the significance to this month. The search for Amrit took place during this month. During the search, 14 rubies were procured and 13 of them were divided between Devas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons) while the 14th ruby, Halahal, remained untouched due to being extremely poisonous which could destroy the universe. To save everyone, Lord Shiva drank the poison and stored it in his throat. His throat turned blue due to the effects of poison and thus, he was named Neelkandh (Blue throat). To help him counter the effects of the poison all the Gods offered him holy water from Ganga river. All this happened in the sawan month and hence, it acquired is auspiciousness.
Interesting Facts about Sawan Month
- Astrologers believe that during this month on the night of Purnima (Full Moon) the Shravan constellation can be seen in the sky.
- According to ancient history, Rishi Markhanday went into intense meditation to please Lord Shiva during this month. Due to this, he was able to defeat Yamraj, the Lord of Death.
- It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva is 108 times more powerful during this month than normal days.
- During this month the monsoon is at its peak and the fourth Monday is considered very auspicious.
- Some people fast for the whole month and it is called Shravan Shiva vrat while other fast only on Mondays, Shravan Somwar vrat.
- Offering Bel Patra to Shiva during this month is considered equivalent to a pilgrimage.
- The Kunwar Yatra also begins during this month on Maha Shivratri. This year it will commence on 21st July.
- Scientifically, fasting in sawan month is beneficial for the digestive system.
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