The Importance of Sawan Shivaratri•
Posted on July 05 2022
Sawan Shivaratri is celebrated in the Hindu month of Shrawan on the chaturdasi tithi during the Krishna Paksha that is typically a couple of days before a new moon day. This occasion is also called Masa Shivaratri or Masik Shivaratri and is considered to be very auspicious. It marks the end of the month-long Kanwar yatra undertaken by Lord Shiva’s Kanwar devotes in this month. These devotees walk on the roads barefoot and are dressed in saffron clothes. They have pitchers of Gangajal on their shoulders that is used to give the Shiva linga in a Shiva temple a bath of the Shivaratri day.
The festival is celebrated all over the country and specially in North India by devotees to be blessed with good life, prosperity and good health. It is celebrated in a slightly different way by the name Ashadha Shivaratri in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Worshippers of the lord undertake a vrat and offer their prayers to Siva Linga with utmost devotion. The fast is primarily observed by married women for long life and good health of their husbands. Unmarried girls also fast on this day to be blessed with a suitable life partner.
The rituals associated with Sawan Shivaratri start one day before the festival. Devotees eat only one meal the previous day during the Trayodashi phase. On the actual Shivaratri day, worshippers wake up early during Brahma Muhurt and have a bath. This is followed by a pooja and abhishek in honour of the deity. Gangajal, rosewater and honey are used to perform abhishek of the idol or linga. Some devotees perform the pooja four times a day.
Following this, the Lord is pleased with His favourite offerings such as neelkamal, belpatra, dhoop, samitra and more. His followers then meditate on the lord and chant the Om Namo Shivaya mantra. The rituals at home is concluded with an arti and distribution of prasad.
After the morning rituals, they take a vow to observe a fast the whole day and eat only the next day. The lord’s followers also seek His blessings for self-determination to observe the fast without any form of intervention or interference.
Devotees take a second bath in the evening and head to nearby Shiva temples to perform Gangajal abhisheka. Special poojas are held in the shrines in the evenings. The pooja in temples is always done during the evening hours on Sawan Shivaratri day and a special pooja known as Nishita Kaal is done at midnight. An abhisheka is also done with Gangajal, rosewater, ghee, honey, milk, vermillion, sugar and curd. The pooja takes close to an hour to get completed.
Followers break the fast the next day after a bath and between sunrise and before the Chaturdashi tithi period comes to an end for maximum benefit from the fast. However, some devotees are of the opinion that the fast should be ended only after the Chaturdashi tithi period.
There are some Sawan Shivaratri rules that the lord’s devotees abide by when worshipping Lord Shiva and observing a fast on this day. Lord Shiva is said to be pleased with His devotees and bestows them with His blessings when they observing these rules with utmost faith.
Worshippers decorate the Shiva linga with a mixture of rice flour, wheat and barley after doing the abhisheka. This is said to win them the deity’s blessings of good health. There should be harmony and peace in the household during the fasting period. Those who are observing the fast must remember to keep themselves calm.
Devotees who undertake a partial fast when they are not able to observe a complete vrat must abstain from sour food. They must also not indulge in Tasmic food. However, they can have thandai, peanuts and makhana with rock salt as well as food made of buckwheat flour and water chestnut flour and vegetables.
It is forbidden to wear black clothes during the fasting period is forbidden. Worshippers must keep their minds free of any form of bad or negative thoughts.
There is an interesting story associated with Sawan Shivaratri. The famous churning of the ocean took place during the Sawan month. Among the many items that came out was some deadly poison that had the ability to destroy the whole world. Lord Shiva gulped the whole poison to stop this from happening. His consort Goddess Parvati held His throat so that He would not swallow it while Lord Vishnu closed His mouth to prevent Him from spitting it. As a result, the poison stayed in Shiva’s throat and He came to be known as Neelakanta.
Sawan is believed to be the holy month of Lord Shiva. The entire month is dedicated to performing poojas for the god and Maa Parvati. However, performing a Shiva pooja on the Sawan Shivaratri day is believed to be the most auspicious. The effect is multifold if the Shivaratri occurs on a Monday. It is said that anyone who undertakes the vrat and carries out the rituals according to according to the customs and utmost devotion will be blessed by the lord with a purified soul along with a long and happy life.
Childless couples will be blessed with children when they pour milk on the Shiva linga along with their prayers. Similarly, bathing the linga or a Shiva idol can help one achieve moksha and relief from one’s bad deeds. Chanting the Shiv chalisa and the Mahamrityunjaya mantra 108 times is considered to be highly beneficial.