Shrawan Month – the 5th month of the Hindu Calendar. Nepal is famous as the only Hindu Kingdom in the world with unique religious tolerance. This pious month is especially celebrated by Hindus worldwide. It is believed that “Shrawan” also means to hear good things. So during these Shravan months, the devotees listen to sermons, devotional prayers, and songs, and dancing in order to praise Lord Shiva. Also, the other literal meaning of “Shravan” is Saawan i.e. month of rainfall, blossoming of flowers, and playing swings.
This entire month of Shrawan is devoted to Lord Shiva, who is considered as the most powerful, the destroyer, and the protector. It is believed that the great Samudra Manthan occurred in this month. The Poison and the Amrit (elixir of life) came out of the depth of the ocean during this Manthan. The Poison named Halahaal was so venomous that it could destroy all the Gods and also the Earth. In order to save the world and the Gods, Lord Shiva drank and stored that poison in his neck. Since then, Lord Shiva got his name “Neelkanth” meaning blue throat. But after drinking the poison, Lord Chandra (Moon) stayed in the head of Lord Shiva to cool him from the impact of the poison.
There are many such beliefs regarding Shrawan month. During this month, the devotees observe fast (vrat or brata) on any day but especially Monday. The fast can be of any type; either complete or partial. Mostly women of any age usually keep fast to praise Lord Shiva. Unmarried keep the fast praying to get an ideal husband like Lord Shiva while married women keep for the long life, good health and prosperity of their husband. They visit the temples, make the offerings like milk, bel patra, flowers, etc. and do the Bhajan-kirtans (devotional prayers and songs). It is also believed that worshipping Lord Shiva during this month is 108 times more powerful and effective than that in normal days.
This auspicious month of Shrawan is especially a great occasion for ladies. They will wear exclusively Green, Red, Yellow bangles, Potes (beads), Sarees, Kurthas, etc. The Green color symbolizes peace and is the main color of Nature. Mehendi or Heena are designed in the hands of the ladies during this month. In the shops and the markets of Nepal, you can easily see the displays of green, red, yellow bangles of various designs. The application of Mehendi or Heena on hands, wearing sarees or kurtas or dresses of green, red, yellow colors, the bangles and earrings of similar colors have become a trend among Hindu women.
There is a practice of breaking the fast or eating strictly vegetarian food items during Shravan month. Apart from the religious point of view, there is a scientific reason for gaining good health by keeping Fast during the month of Shrawan. This is the month of rain. When the rains start showering, the sunlight gets scarce. Due to this, digestion slows down. So during this month, the people usually eat light foods mostly vegetarian diet. This fasting also aids in the detoxification of the digestive system. It is a natural protection against water-borne illnesses during this monsoon season. This Shravan month brings happiness, good health, and prosperity to everyone by the blessings of Lord Shiva.
Author: Step on Himalaya
Date: 13th August, 2018