The Sawan or Shravan month is the fifth month of the Hindu calendar and coincides with July of the Gregorian calendar. Since the ruling Nakshatra on the Full Moon Day for this month is the Shravana, this month is also called the Shravan Month.
The Shravan month, this year(2017), starts from the 10th of July, a Monday, and so does the first Sawan Somvaar(Monday) Vrat. This month is considered very auspicious to worship Lord Shiva and seek his blessings. Devotees keep fast on the Mondays that fall in this month and some even keep on all the days of this month.
Shrawan starts from 10th July. So devotees should keep the Somvaar fast on 10th July, 17th July, 24rth July, 31st July and 7th August.
The Sawan month has also got other auspicious days and festivals like Hariyali Amavasya(23 July), Hariyali Teej(26 July), Naag Panchami (27 July) and Raksha Bandhan(7 August).
The fast and worship are done by devotees in remembrance to the ‘Samudra Manthan legend’ when Lord Shiva had drunk the poison that had emerged from the ocean to save the world.
To pay homage to the Lord and to seek his blessings, devotees should at least keep the Monday fasts, if they are unable to fast the whole month. They should visit the Lord Shiva temple on a daily basis and offer Panchamrut( Made using 5 items-milk, curd, ghee, honey, Ganga Jal), ‘bel’ leaves and fruits to the Shivlinga.
“Maha Mrityunjay Mantra” should be recited with absolute devotion.
Not only is the Mondays of this month significant, even Tuesdays are considered auspicious during Sawan since Lord Shiva’s consort, Goddess Parvati is worshiped on these days. Fast kept on Tuesdays to worship the Goddess, is called the ‘Mangal Gauri Vrat’.
It is believed that Lord Shiva can be pleased by the Sawan Somvaar Vrats. Although the fasts during this month are very auspicious, many Shiva devotees start the first of their ‘Solah Somvaar”(Fast for 16 continuous Mondays), from the first Monday of this month.
Thus, Sawan Somvaar Vrats are of 3 types:
The vrats kept on the Mondays of the auspicious month, the ‘solah Somvaar vrats’ that are started from the first Monday of this month and the ‘Somya Pradosh’ vrats that are kept till the evening in this month.
The fast is kept by all, to invoke Lord Shiva’s blessing, by the women desirous of a safe and protected household and by the unmarried girls who aspire for an ideal husband.
On the day of the fast, the devotee should wake up before sunrise and cleanse themselves before the pooja or rituals by taking a bath. Then the ‘Somvaar Vrat Katha’ should be recited with devotion. If possible they must also visit a Shiva temple and after offering obeisance, worship the ‘linga’.Throughout the day, only fruits and milk should be consumed and only one meal should be eaten after sunset.Lord Shiva is also called ‘Bhole Shankar’-easy to please. He is the divine power that will protect us from the worldly evils.
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