Shravan month is one of the holiest months in Hindu calendar. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is also the first month in Chatur Mas – four holy months in Hindi Calendar.Mondays in Shrawan month are highly auspicious and millions of Hindu devotees visit Lord Shiva shrines on the day. Equally important is Saturdays or Shanivar in the month of Shravan. Shravan Shanivar is chosen by many devout Hindus to seek the blessings of Lord Shani.
Shravan month in 2015 in North India is from – August 1 to August 29.
In Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka – Shravan is from August 15 to September 13.
Shravan Shaniwar is also known as Sampat Shanivara, as it is widely believed that Lord Shani showers blessings on devotees especially that of prosperity and wealth.
Saturday or Shanivar is generally dedicated to Lord Shani and people observe a fast on the day to get rid of the malefic effects that Shani graha has on their horoscope. In Sawan month, Shanivar Vrata is observed by all people as it is Sampat Shaniwaara – ‘Sampat’ means wealth.
People who undertake Shani pujas on Shanivar usually wear black clothes and offer black colored items like sesame til, black gram etc. Fasting dedicated to Shani is broken in the evening after prayers.
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Talk about Shani or Sani to a Hindu and the first reaction will be fear and then the mentioning of ill effects and troubles. Shani is dreaded by Hindus, especially by those who believe in astrology. Many people observe an Upvaas or fast – Shanivar Vrat – to avoid the adversities and misfortunes on Shanivar or Saturday.
It is believed that those who have the blessing of Lord Hanuman are protected from the wrath of Shani. Therefore many people make it a point to worship Hanuman at home or in temples. Black is the preferred color on Saturday.
Shani, one of the Navagrahas, is worshipped in numerous temples and there are also temples exclusively dedicated to Sani. Devotees who are observing Shanivar Vrat usually visit Shani shrines. Black colored items like sesame til, sesame oil, black clothes, and black gram whole are offered to Shani. It must be noted here that the color of the idol of Shani is always black in color.
Those devotees who fast on Saturday only take a single meal that too in the evening after prayers. Food prepared usually consists of sesame til or black gram or any other black colored food item. Salt is avoided by many on the day.
Shani is represented as a deity carrying bow and arrows and riding a vulture. Some devotees worship a black iron idol of Sani. Some worship the Peepal Tree and tie thread around its bark. Black colored items like sesame oil and black clothes are also donated on the day.
Shani is so dreaded that many Hindus avoid journeys on Saturday. There are also numerous tales regarding the evil effects of Shani.
But generally it is believed that Lord Hanuman devotees are unharmed by Sani. Legend has it that Lord Hanuman had rescued Shani from Ravana. This happened during the burning of the Lanka episode in the epic Ramayana. Lord Shani had then promised that he would not trouble Lord Hanuman devotees.
Shravan Shanivar is an auspicious day to worship Lord Shani (Saturn). According to the Puranas, Lord Shani (Saturn) gave a boon to Dasarath (Lord Rama’s father) that those who worship Lord Shani on Shravan Shanivar (Saturdays in the month of Shravan Maas) will not be affected by Saturn. Also, Lord Shani will bless the people who are affected by Sade Sathe and Shani dasa.
Somvar Vrath (Monday fasting) or Upavaas (doing puja while fasting)
Fasting during Shravan Maas is highly auspicious, and it is recommended that no one consume food until after the evening puja on Mondays. Upavaas (Upa = nearby, vaas = to live or stay) means we need to be near God, resting into our own divinity, while chanting mantras, visiting the Temple, or doing such holy activities.
Monday fasting is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Fasting gives the digestive system a rest and opens the physiology to more subtle energies. It is believed that observing Somvar Vrath will help to attain prosperity and a long, peaceful family life. Those who fast during Shravan Maas, go to the temple, and attend Rudrabhishekam:
– Attain the virtues received by visiting the twelve Jyothirlingas.
– Minimize the effects of an afflicted moon.
Somvar Vrath begins at sunrise on Monday. Usually those devotees observing the Vrath, visit a Lord Shiva Temple in the morning and the evening. After attending the evening Rudrabhishekam, people break the fast and eat a light supper. Those who cannot fast (children, elders, and sick people) can do a partial fast that includes a single meal taken after noon (no breakfast). They can also eat fruit or sabudana (tapioca dish) and visit the Lord Shiva Temple.
Shravan Maas 2012 Video
Music is by Lakshmi Putcha.
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