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Shravan or Sawan: The Holiest of Months in Hinduism is dedicated to Lord Shiva

According to Hindu Mythology, in this month Lord Shiva drank Halahala, the poison that emanated from Samudra Manthan along with Ambrosia, a drink that conferred immortality to the Gods

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Shiv Linga. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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  • In 2016, Shravan month will start from July 20. The whole month is dedicated to Lord Shiva
  • Shravan month is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Mondays during the month are considered highly auspicious
  • All Tuesdays or Mangalwar are dedicated to Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva. Tuesday’s fasting during the Shravan month is known as Mangal Gauri Vrat

Shravan month (July- August) is considered as the holiest of months, according to the Hindu Calender. In 2016, Shravan month starts from July 20 and the whole month is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Legend has it that, in this month, Lord Shiva drank Halahala, the poison that emanated from the churning of the ocean (Samudra Manthan) along with Ambrosia, a drink that conferred immortality to the Gods.

The Mondays during the month are considered highly auspicious. The story of the churning of the ocean milk , one of the most popular in Hinduism, is retold by Savities, worshipers of shiva, at this time. The story begins with devas, or demigods, complaining of the weakness of curse that had been placed on them, mentioned the Speakingtree.com Website.
The deity Brahma told them that they needed to drink amrit, the nectar of immortality, which could be obtained by the churning of the ocean. the devas were assisted by the asuras (demons) in the churning activity, which was so successful that the turbulent ocean threatened to become destructive of force, and Vishnu was forced to take action to calm it.
Lord Shiva consuming Halala Image source: legendsofmagadha.blogspot.com
Lord Shiva consuming Halahala during churning of Ocean. Image source: legendsofmagadha.blogspot.com

Due to the churning of the ocean by the asura and devas, a pot of poison called Halahala was produced. This poison was determined to be so toxic that it could destroy all the creation. The devas thus approached god Shiva, and out of his compassion, he drank the poison. Alarmed at his action, Shiva’s wife Parvati strangled his neck and prevented the poison from moving downward and spreading all over the universe, supposed to be in Shiva’s stomach. And the colour of Shiva’s neck turned blue and he got the name Neelkanth.

Churning of the Ocean. Image source: divinations.wordpress.com
The Churning of the Ocean. Image source: divinations.wordpress.com

Shravan month is also known as Sawan in North Indian states. All the Mondays or Somwar(s) which fall during this month are considered highly fortunate for fasting and known as Sawan Somwar.

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All Tuesdays or Mangalwar are dedicated to Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva. Tuesday’s fasting during the Shravan month is known as Mangal Gauri Vrat.

Major Festivals of Shravan month

  • Nag Panchami: In the month of Shravan, on the fifth day, serpent Gods are worshipped across India and is observed as an auspicious day by the Hindus. Usually, this festival falls two days after Hariyali Teej. During the festival, women worship Nag Devta as well as offer milk to snakes on this auspicious day. Apart from that, women also pray for the well-being of their brothers as well as their family.
  • Shravan-Narali Purnima: Is celebrated on the day of the full moon in the month of Shravan. On this day coconuts are thrown into the sea because it is a good omen for trade; ships resume voyages which had been interrupted due to the monsoons; Brahmins renew their sacred thread (zan’vem) and evoke the memory of rishis (who are believed to be their ascendants).
Nariyal Poornima. Image source: magnificentmaharashtra.wordpress.com
Narali Poornima. Image source: magnificentmaharashtra.wordpress.com

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  • Janmashtami: The birth of Krishna is celebrated in one in the fourth waning quarter of the moon in the month of Shravan. The Hindus fast, worship Krishna at midnight, offer him Tulasi leaves and then take their first meal of the day. On this day, the birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated.
Children celebrating Janmashtami. Image source: www.bagariaschool.org
Children celebrating Janmashtami. Image source: www.bagariaschool.org
  • Rakshabandhan: According to the Hindu Calender, Raksha Bandhan falls on the Purnima of the Shravan month, generally, in the month of August. It is one of the most important Hindu festivals which celebrates the unconditional love and affection of between brothers and sisters.
Rakhi 3.jpg
Rakhi, Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The meaning of Raksha is ‘protection’ and the meaning of Bandhan is ‘bond’. On this day, sisters tie sacred thread Rakhi on their brothers’ wrist symbolises the sister’s love and prayers for well-being and good future of their brothers and the brother’s lifelong vow to protect their sisters.

  • Teej: A seasonal festival is celebrated in northern Indian states, heralding the onset of monsoon season after the season of oppressive heat. It is a festival of womenfolk and is celebrated on the 3rd day of waxing phase of the moon (Shukla Paksha) in the month of Shravan. The festival is named after a small, beautiful, red insect ‘Teej’ which comes out of the soils during rains.
Giddha dance Teeyan Punjab Teej India.jpg
Giddha dance Teeyan Punjab Teej India, Wikimedia Commons

The girls and the women on this day go to temple after taking bath and offer prayers to Lord Shiva’s consort, Goddess Parvati. They also perform ‘puja’ at home. Commemorating Goddess Parvati’s union with Lord Shiva, the festival is celebrated for marital bliss, the well-being of spouse and children and purification of own body and soul. the festival is a three-day-long celebration that combines sumptuous feasts as well as rigid fasting.

– by Akansha Sharma of NewsGram. Twitter: Akansha4117

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Hindus In Delhi Push For A Temple On The Ruins Of a Mosque

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

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Supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad gather during a rally in New Delhi, Dec. 9, 2018. The group gathered thousands of supporters to demand the construction of a Hindu temple on a site where a mosque was attacked, demolished in 1992. VOA

Tens of thousands of hardline Hindu protesters marched in New Delhi on Sunday, calling for a grand temple to be built on the ruins of a destroyed mosque in a flashpoint Indian city.

Trident-waving devotees clad in saffron filled a huge parade ground in the Indian capital under tight security, where speakers warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi they would not let up until the temple was sanctioned.

Some of Modi’s supporters feel the Hindu nationalist leader has not done enough to raise a shrine at a site in Ayodhya, a city believed by many to be the birthplace of the deity Ram.

The site was home to a medieval mosque for 460 years until Hindu zealots tore it down in 1992, kicking off riots across India that left thousands dead, most of them Muslims.

Its future has been tied up in courts for decades but some hardliners want Modi, who is seeking reelection in 2019, to push parliament to guarantee the temple by law.

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“The gathering here is telling you that Hindus won’t sit back until the temple is built, and our wishes are respected,” said Champat Rai, the leader of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) group that organized the protest.

Demonstrators chanting “Praise be to Ram” packed the Ramlila Maidan, a vast ground capable of holding more than 50,000 people, and filled the surrounding streets.

Some carried maces and tridents — weapons traditionally wielded by Hindu gods — and traveled great distances by train and bus to reach the rally.

“We have come here to protect our religion and Hindu pride. We want a temple for our Lord Ram,” Hitesh Bharadwaj, a teacher from Delhi’s satellite city Noida, told AFP.

The hardline VHP has applied pressure on Modi in recent weeks, staging a huge show of force in Ayodhya itself last month.

Hindu, Mosque
Photo credit: theguardian.com

A close ally of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the group is spearheading a push to raise the Ram temple, and is calling for more protests as the premier prepares to go to the polls by May.

The BJP was on the margins until the 1980s when its top leaders, including Modi, backed a growing movement for the construction of the Ram temple.

Its advocates want parliament to introduce a law bypassing legal hurdles blocking the temple before Modi’s term ends.

Also Read: Delhi’s Air Quality Leads To Ban On Trucks And Construction

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

“We don’t care about the courts. A grand temple will be constructed in 2019,” Sushil Chawdhary, a VHP leader, told AFP. (VOA)