August marks the beginning of the religious month of Sawan in the Hindu calendar. Sawan, also known as Shravan, is considered a sacred month dedicated to Lord Shiva. Devotees observe fasts, visit temples, and offer prayers during this auspicious time. The start date of Sawan varies each year based on the lunar calendar. In 2021, Sawan began on Monday, July 26th and will continue till Sunday, August 22nd.

Significance of Sawan:

Sawan holds immense significance in Hindu mythology. It is believed that Lord Shiva consumed the “halahala” poison during the churning of the ocean (Samudra Manthan) in this month to save the world. Therefore, prayers and offerings during Sawan are said to please Lord Shiva and bring blessings to devotees.

Rituals and Observances:

  1. Kanvar Yatra: A pilgrimage undertaken by devotees to fetch holy water from the Ganges River and offer it at Shiva temples.
  2. Sawan Somvar Vrat: Fasting on Mondays of Sawan to seek Lord Shiva’s blessings.
  3. Offering Bilva Leaves: Considered dear to Lord Shiva, Bilva leaves are offered while chanting prayers.

Fasting in Sawan:

Fasting is a common practice during Sawan, especially on Mondays. Many devotees abstain from consuming grains, non-vegetarian food, and certain other items during this period. Fasting is believed to purify the body and soul, while also demonstrating dedication and discipline towards Lord Shiva.

Celebrations and Festivities:

During Sawan, various festivals and events are organized to celebrate Lord Shiva’s glory. Raksha Bandhan, Nag Panchami, and Teej are some of the popular festivals that fall during this month. Temples witness a surge in devotees, and special prayers and rituals are conducted to honor Lord Shiva.

Sawan Music and Dance:

Sawan is also associated with vibrant music and dance celebrations. Kirtans (devotional songs), bhajans, and jagrans are organized in temples and households to invoke spiritual fervor. The mesmerizing tunes and rhythmic beats add to the festive atmosphere during this month.

Health Benefits of Fasting:

Apart from its spiritual significance, fasting during Sawan is believed to have numerous health benefits. It allows the digestive system to rest, detoxifies the body, promotes weight loss, and enhances mental clarity. Fasting also helps in developing self-control and mindfulness.

Do’s and Don’ts During Sawan:

  • Do’s:
  • Offer prayers and perform poojas regularly.
  • Consume sattvic (pure) food items during fasting.
  • Visit Shiva temples and participate in rituals.
  • Don’ts:
  • Avoid consuming alcohol and non-vegetarian food.
  • Refrain from negative thoughts and actions.
  • Practice humility and compassion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q1: Can anyone fast during Sawan, or are there specific rules?

A: Fasting during Sawan is voluntary and can be observed by anyone who wishes to seek spiritual growth and blessings from Lord Shiva.

Q2: What should one do if they are unable to fast due to health reasons?

A: Individuals who cannot fast due to health concerns can focus on offering prayers, performing poojas, and engaging in acts of charity and kindness.

Q3: Are there any specific prayers that one should chant during Sawan?

A: “Om Namah Shivaya” is a powerful mantra dedicated to Lord Shiva and is widely chanted during the month of Sawan.

Q4: How can one make the most of Sawan in terms of spiritual growth?

A: Engaging in acts of devotion, practicing meditation, and serving others selflessly can aid in spiritual growth during Sawan.

Q5: Are there any restrictions on social activities during Sawan?

A: While there are no strict restrictions on social activities, practicing moderation and focusing on spiritual endeavors are encouraged during this month.

Sawan is a time of reverence, devotion, and spiritual awakening for millions of devotees around the world. It offers a chance to connect with the divine, seek blessings, and embark on a journey of self-discovery. By following the traditions and rituals associated with this sacred month, individuals can enrich their spiritual lives and experience a deeper connection with Lord Shiva.

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