Shravaana (श्रावण) (Sawan), the month dedicated to Lord Shiva, starts every year in month of July and August. Men and women offer prayers to Lord Shiva by observing fast on each Monday of Sawan. There are 4 to 5 Mondays falls every year of Sawan period. Observing fast holds great religious importance in Hindu beliefs. There is a story dedicated to every God and Goddess, it is said that without reading the same, the importance of fasting nullifies. Monday is dedicated to Lord Shiva and thus, observing fast on Monday during Shraavana is important and beneficial. It is believed that reading and listening Lord Shiva Katha(story) on Monday is really important to make your fasting fruitful.
How To do Sawan Fasting Ritual:
The rituals also provide the gods with an opportunity to serve as witnesses to the human activities upon earth, so that humans cannot easily abandon their Dharma or their duties and moral obligations, without attracting the wrath or the displeasure of the gods. Lord Shiva is one of the God, who pleased easily. He consider the reverence of man rather ways of doing rituals. But Hindu culture has always preference of doing rituals to please God. When properly performed according to the scriptural injunctions, these rituals can unleash great powers and help men and women to fulfill their desires and achieve their goals.
- On every Monday of Sawan, wake-up in the morning, take bath, go to Shiva temple, if not able to visit temple, you can perform ritual at home as well.
- In the North East corner (Ishan corner), place a picture or idol of Lord Shiva. Keep Lord Shiva’s Shivlinga also.
- Start with chanting the resolution “Mama Kshemas Dhairya Vijaya Veerya Ayur Aarogya Aishwaryaanaam Abhivrudhyartam Somvar Vratam Karishye” which means I observe this Somvar Fasting (somvar vrat) to attain health, courage, success, vitality, long life, strength, and wealth.
- Offer water and milk to Shivling on Monday.
- Write Lord Rama’s name on 108 Bilvpatra and offer it to Lord Shiva.
- Offer Holy Ganga Water to Lord Shiva. One can also offer honey.
- Offer Sandalwood, flowers, colors, yellow cloth, etc. to Lord Shiva.
- Read Sawan Fasting story (Sawan Vrat Katha), then Shiv Chalisa, Rudrashtakam Stotram, Shiv Aarti and ends chanting with “Om Namah Shivaya” for 108 times.
Cautions during fasting
Keep in mind that while doing fasting there should not be lack of water in the body so drink 6 to 8 glasses of water everyday. Diet should include fruits that have high water content such as grapes, oranges, watermelon, musk melon etc. Acidity can increase due to empty stomach, so having some fruits at some intervals will help you to sustain. During fast, you can eat dry fruits, it will give the required energy and will not feel weakness. Also this fasting can be performed till evening. Pregnant woman or unhealthy people should avoid doing fasting but if they want they can have sweet items with bread in dinner.
Moreover keep in mind that there are few things which are not offered to Lord Shiva.
Tulsi or Basil Leaves
Kumkum and Sindoor
Completing Circuit of Shivlinga
Infected Bael Patra
Shravan Fasting Story (Shawan Vrat Katha)
Once upon a time, there was a merchant lived in Amrapuri named village. There was no shortage of money in his house, his business has spread all over cities. He was quit rich person. All the people of that trader used to respect him in the city. But he had no children that made him very unhappy and worried. He was worried about the concern that after his death, who will handle such a large business and wealth. With a desire to get a son, He worship Lord Shiva regular and he used to do fasting every Monday, used to go to Shiva temple to burn the ghee (cow butter milk) lamp in front of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati with full devotion.
One day, impressed with the devotion of that businessman, Goddess Parvati requested Lord Shiva – “Dear husband, this merchant is your true devotee. For many days he has been regularly fasting and worshiping on Mondays. Dear God, you must fulfill this businessman’s wish“. Lord Shiva, after patiently listening to wish of Parvati, Lord Shiva replied “O Parvati, every person in this world gets the fruits according to his deeds (Karma) and one has to suffer whatever is he destined to“.
Despite this, Parvati ji did not agreed upon. She said, “No, prananath! You will have to fulfill his ambition. He is your great devotee. Every Monday, he keeps your fast and after worshiping only, he take a meal at a time. You have to bless him a son.“
Lord Shiva said “I grant him a boon. He will be the father of a son, but his son will live for twelve years only“. All this conversation was heard by merchant. so he got neither happy nor sad and started continuing with his daily routine. As time passed on, the merchants wife gave birth to a beautiful son. He celebrated his sons birth with great pomp and show and distributed food, clothes and money among the poor. Knowing the fact merchant was neutral with the emotions neither sad nor happy, he continued observing the Monday fast with greater zest and there was no let up in the worship of Lord Shiva. At the age of eleven, The merchants wife wanted son’s marriage but merchant did not agree to this proposal. Instead he asked his brother-In-law to take his son to Kashiji arrange and arrange for his best spiritual study. He has given them much money from his treasure and ask his brother in law to arrange devotional gatherings on the way to Kashiji at every halt and distribute alms among the beggars. The merchants son started his journey for Kashi with his maternal uncle. They arranged devotional gatherings and distributed clothes at every halting camp. They also arranged best eats for the Brahmans and made enough offerings to them.
One day they made a halt at a capital of a king. The kings daughters marriage was to take place that day. The marriage party had already reached the city. But the prince who was about to marry was blind of one eye. The prince party was search of a beautiful boy to replace him. Seeing the merchant’s son, an idea came to prince’s father. He thought why not make this boy the groom and marry the princess. The bridegrooms father was a rich person. He said to the merchants maternal uncle, My prestige is at stake. I need a handsome bridegroom in place of my one-eyed son. I shall give enough wealth if your ward agrees to have a temporary marriage with the kings daughter. He shall be free immediately after the marriage ceremony is over. The merchants brother-in-law convinced his sisters son for a temporary marriage. The brides party praised their luck when they saw a handsome bridegroom with the marching band at the head of the marriage procession. The merchants son and the kings daughter were married around the holy fire. But the merchant’s son was honest. He did not find this to be right he took the opportunity and wrote on the foot of the princess’s, “You are married to me, but the prince with whom you will be sent is ‘Boss Eyed’.
When the princess read the words written on the sardine, she told her parents about this. The king did not leave his daughter, taking the procession back. On the other hand, the merchant’s boy and his maternal uncle reached Kashi and went there and performed a Yagya. When the merchant’s son turned 12 years old, a Yagya was performed. The boy told his maternal uncle that my health is not right. Uncle said that you go inside and sleep. According to Shiva’s boon, the child died after some hours. Seeing the nephew dead, his maternal uncle started mourning. Incidentally at the same time, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were going from there. Goddess Parvati said to God- Swami, I cannot bear this cry and pain. You must get rid of this person’s sufferings.
When Lord Shiva approached the dead boy, he said that he is the son of the same merchant, whom I gave a boon to die at the age of 12. But Goddess Parvati said that, please, Mahadev, please give him gift of life, otherwise his parents will also die. On the insistence of Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva gave the boy the boon of being alive. By the grace of Shiva, that boy became alive. After finishing education, the boy went to his city with his maternal uncle. Both of them walked to the same city where he got married. He also performed a Yagya in that city. The boy’s father-in-law recognized him and took him to the palace and took care of him and sent his daughter off with him.
The merchant and his wife were waiting for their son. They had decided that they would not come down until their son supported them himself; otherwise they would commit suicide by jumping down the roof. So the merchants son along with his bride went up to the roof. They touched their feet. The merchant and his wife were very happy to see the couple. The same night, Lord Shiva came in the dream of the merchant and said “I have given a long life to your son, pleased with your Monday fast. Similarly, anyone who observes a fast on Monday or listens to and recites the story, all his sufferings are removed and all wishes are fulfilled.
Here is the end of story.
May lord Shiva helps you in achieving your goals.