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As the Hindu calendar holds religious significance in India, the month of Sawan is particularly revered by devotees of Lord Shiva. The onset of Sawan marks a period of solemn observance, marked by fasting, prayer, and various rituals devoted to Lord Shiva, the supreme deity of destruction and transformation in the Hindu pantheon.

Significance of Sawan

Sawan, which typically falls between July and August, holds paramount importance in Hindu culture as it is believed to be the month when Lord Shiva drank the venom produced during the churning of the ocean (Samudra Manthan) to save the world. This act by Lord Shiva saved the world from destruction and earned him the title of Neelkanth (the one with a blue throat) due to the poison turning his throat blue.

Observances during Sawan

The month of Sawan witnesses a surge in the number of devotees embarking on the Kanwar Yatra, a pilgrimage where devotees carry holy water from the Ganges river to offer at their local Shiva temples. This ritual is believed to invoke blessings from Lord Shiva and is undertaken with utmost fervor and devotion.

Fasting and Rituals

Devotees observe fasts on Mondays during the month of Sawan, known as Sawan Somvar, where they abstain from consuming food and water until sunset. This fast is considered to be auspicious, and it is believed that observing it devoutly can help one attain the blessings and favor of Lord Shiva.

Commemoration of Lord Shiva

Throughout the month of Sawan, devotees offer milk, water, bel leaves, and fruits to Shiva Lingams in temples as a mark of reverence and devotion. Some devotees also engage in rudrabhishek, a sacred bathing of the Shiva Lingam with various offerings like milk, honey, curd, and ghee, accompanied by chanting of Vedic mantras.

Auspicious Dates

The first Monday of Sawan, known as the Sawan Shivratri, holds particular significance for devotees, as it is believed to be the day when Lord Shiva performed his cosmic dance, the Tandava. Additionally, the last Monday of Sawan, known as Shravan Purnima, is celebrated with fervor as it marks the culmination of this sacred month.

Festivities and Celebrations

Apart from the religious observances, the month of Sawan also witnesses vibrant festivals such as Teej and Nag Panchami, which are celebrated with enthusiasm across various regions in India.

Importance of Sawan in Hindu Mythology

Legend has it that during the churning of the ocean by the Devas and Asuras to obtain amrit (nectar of immortality), several divine beings emerged from the ocean. One of these was Halahaal, a deadly poison that threatened to destroy the world. Lord Shiva, in his compassion for all creation, consumed the poison to save the universe. In doing so, he held the poison in his throat, turning it blue and earning the name Neelkanth.

Schedule for Sawan This Year

The month of Sawan usually begins in July and ends in August. In 2021, Sawan is set to commence on July 25th and will continue until August 22nd. During this period, devotees will observe various rituals and fasts in reverence to Lord Shiva.

FAQs about Sawan:

  1. Q: How long does the Sawan month last?
  2. A: The month of Sawan typically lasts for around 30 days, spanning from July to August in the Gregorian calendar.

  3. Q: What is the significance of fasting during Sawan?

  4. A: Fasting during Sawan, especially on Mondays, is believed to bring blessings from Lord Shiva and is considered auspicious for devotees seeking his favor.

  5. Q: What is the Kanwar Yatra, and why is it significant during Sawan?

  6. A: The Kanwar Yatra is a pilgrimage where devotees carry holy water from the Ganges river to offer at Shiva temples, seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva during the sacred month of Sawan.

  7. Q: Are there any specific rituals or ceremonies associated with Sawan apart from fasting?

  8. A: Yes, devotees perform rituals like offering milk, water, bel leaves, and fruits to Shiva Lingams, as well as engaging in rudrabhishek, a sacred bathing of the Shiva Lingam with various offerings.

  9. Q: What are some of the festivals celebrated during the month of Sawan?

  10. A: Festivals like Teej and Nag Panchami are celebrated during the month of Sawan, adding to the festive spirit and cultural significance of this auspicious period.

  11. Q: How is Sawan linked to the legend of the churning of the ocean and the consumption of poison by Lord Shiva?

  12. A: Sawan is associated with the legend of Lord Shiva consuming the Halahaal poison during the churning of the ocean to save the world, thus highlighting his role as the savior and protector of creation.

Conclusion

The month of Sawan holds a special place in the hearts of devotees of Lord Shiva, symbolizing faith, devotion, and the triumph of good over evil. Observing the traditions and rituals during this auspicious month is believed to bring blessings and fulfillment to those who seek the divine grace of Lord Shiva. May this Sawan be a time of spiritual growth, peace, and prosperity for all those who observe its sacred traditions.

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