Sunday 26 July 2020

Shravan Stories

Saawan aayo re..
Saawan aayo re...

Shravan, the 5th month of the Hindu calendar and the holiest of all is finally here. Growing up, I always looked forward to this month. Shravan meant the baarish season which meant endless cups of adrakwali chai accompanied by onion pakoras. Monsoons meant unplanned leaves at school due to heavy downpour. It meant making paper boats and sailing them in puddles outside the house. And it also marked the beginning of most Hindu festivals which meant more yummy food, holidays and family get-togethers. Shravan was my happy month, except that our parents asked us to go vegetarian during this month. As a child I didn't miss eating non-veg food during Shravan because our mom made sure we had too much scrumptious vegetarian food to hog on.

Shravan is considered the holiest month and there are a number of rites and rituals that are followed during this month. And today's post is an attempt to decode some of them.

According to legend, it was during the month of Shravan that the Samudra Manthan or churning of the sea took place. It is believed that 14 kinds of pious things came out of the ocean along with Halahal- the poison which had the ability to destroy everything. Most of us know that it was Lord Shiva who came to the rescue by drinking the poison and containing it in his throat earning him the name - Neelkanth. Even though the poison could not harm Lord Shiva, to save him from its enormous impact, Lord Shiva had to wear a crescent moon on his head and was bathed with holy water of the
Ganges to tame the poison. It is for this reason that the entire month of Shravan is devoted to the worship of Lord Shiva for his sacrifice. All Mondays in the month of Shravan or Shravani Somvar are celebrated in Lord Shiva temples. And it is customary to offer milk, water, bilva leaves and flowers to the Shiva Lingam. A lot of people fast on Shravani Somvar until sunset.

Shravan is also called the fasting month, as you will see most Hindus fast and perform certain ceremonies for this entire month. Shravan falls during the monsoon season when the environment is wet and humid which brings with it a lot of bacterial and viral diseases. Also, due to the humidity in the atmosphere the capacity of our digestive system goes down. Hence fasting or eating fresh fruits during the Shravan month aids our digestive system and benefits our health. It is also for this reason that people avoid eating non-vegetarian food during this month. Another reason for avoiding non vegetarian food is that Shravan is the breeding season of most species, and by killing them we are stopping them from reproducing. Also fishing during the monsoon is not safe for the fishermen, so if the demand goes down, we are saving our fishermen too.

The month of Shravan is special for everyone, but it is considered even more auspicious for married women. Married women pray to Lord Shiva for the long life of their husbands and marital bliss. Since the colour green happens to please Lord Shiva, women wear green attire or green bangles to please him.

Nag Panchami is celebrated on the 5th day of Shravan. During the monsoons when the snakes came out of the fields, the people of India offered it milk and worshiped it as a symbol of  peace and respect, thereby ensuring that they both co-exist peacefully. Also, in Indian mythology snakes have been linked to strength and prosperity. Due to the snake's nature of casting its skin, it also represents rebirth and mortality. Hence, snakes have been worshiped in India since ages.

There's one more vivid memory I have of Shravan from my childhood days. My mom would always wear a white saree with green bangles and her finest jewellery to work on Shravani Somvar. I loved seeing mom all dressed up and so today's outfit is inspired by my mom with a saree borrowed from my MIL. Hope you like it.




Blog Design: Eden Technologies