1. Vrats of the month of Shravan
At the mention of the month of Shravan, one remembers the vrats. It is difficult for the common people to perform conducts according to the Vedas. To overcome this difficulty, the Purans make a mention of vrats. In this, the special vrats fall in the month of Shravan. For example:
- Shravani somvar
- Varadalakshmi vrat
- Kajjali Trutiya
- Budhi Teej
- Pithori Amavasya
Due to the vrats falling in the month of Shravan, benefits are acquired at an individual and social level. This explains the importance of vrats and our heads bow with devotion at the holy feet of the Sages who created these vrats.
A. Shravani somvar
In the month of Shravan, on every Monday (somvar) one should go to a temple of God Shankar and
perform puja. If possible, one should undertake a complete fast. Otherwise one should undertake a nakta-vrat. This pleases God Shankar and Shivsayujya Mukti (merging of self in God Shiva) is attained.
‘Mangalagour’ is a Deity which bestows long life to the husband. This vrat, which consists of puja of the Deity Mangalagour, should be performed by a newly-wed woman. It is expected to be continued for five to seven years after marriage on every Tuesday in the month of Shravan. Puja of Lord Shiva and Lord Ganapati is performed along with Gouri in this vrat.
This vrat is observed on every Friday of the Hindu lunar Shravan month. The deity associated with this vrat is Jivantika, that is, Jivati Devi. This deity protects small children. In this vrat, on the first Friday of Shravan, women draw a picture of deity Jivati on the wall with sandalwood and worship it. Nowadays printed picture is worshipped. Five married women (suhagan) having children, are invited to the house and after applying turmeric and vermillion on their forehead milk, sugar and roasted grams are given to them as holy sacrament (prasad). On the last Friday of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of Shravan a vrat is observed, that is
D. Varadalakshmi vrat
In the ritual of this vrat, a metal pot (kalash) is placed and Sri Varadalakshmi is invoked into it. The Shrisukta is recited and the devi is worshipped. Thereafter a naivedya of 21 anarasas is offered to her. Thereafter, brahmin, married women (suhagans) and celibates (Brahmacharis) are offered upayan, that is, gifts.
In South Bharat, Varadalakshmi vrat is observed on the last Friday of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of the Ashadh month. People believe that in the temples of Tiruvadi, Tiruvayur and Tiruputtur, Goddess Lakshmi herself worshipped Lord Shiv. Therefore these temples have special significance for the observance of this vrat. Begetting a son, prosperity and obtaining wealth and grains are the fruits of observing this vrat.
E. Kajjali Trutiya
This vrat is observed on Shravan Krushna Trutiya. The deity associated with this vrat is Srivishnu. This vrat is also known as ‘Satudi Teej’. At some places this vrat is observed on Bhadrapad Krushna Trutiya. But realistically it should be observed on Shravan Krushna Trutiya only.
F. Budhi teej
Elderly women sing various songs sitting on the swing. They are called kajari. The women observing this vrat consume only one meal. In this vrat, some other old woman is paid obeisance by touching her feet and sugar candies (batases) are gifted to her. In her place dry fruits, sweets etc. are given to the woman observing the vrat.
G. Pithori Amavasya
The Amavasya in the month of Shravan is known as Pithori Amavasya. In this vrat, the sixty four Yoginis are worshipped. A fast is observed for the whole day of Shravan Amavasya.
Earlier, in this vrat idols were made from flour (peeth). The food prepared to be offered as naivedya is also prepared from flour. Therefore this vrat is known as Pithori Amavasya. The children of the women observing the vrat of Pithori Amavasya are blessed with a long life.
2. Shravani ritual
It is also known as Upakarma or Rishitarpan. The ritual of Shravani is associated with the learning of the Vedas. Two rituals performed associated with the learning of Vedas are
- Utsarjan ritual, that is, giving up of the Vedas
- Upakarma ritual, that is, accepting of the Vedas
Upakarma vidhi is performed before commencing learning of Vedas. On the day of Shravani the sequence of studies for the next year is determined only after performing the Upakarma vidhi. If the learning of Vedas is to be discontinued, the Utsarjan vidhi is performed.
A. Utsarjan ritual
On the day of Shravani, the presiding brahmin takes his seat after ablutions in the morning. A sacrificial fire pit is created for Utsarjan-karma (temporary giving up of the Vedas for earning a living) and a similar one for Upakarma (resuming learning of the Vedas). First a ring of Darbh (holy grass) is worn and along with uttering of the desh-kal, resolve (sankalp) is made.
After this panch-gavya is consumed. Panch-gavya is a mixture of milk, curd, ghee, cow’s urine and cowdung.
- Then ritualistic worship of Mahaganapati is done.
- Utsarjan hom (fire sacrifice) is then performed.
- Thereafter, oblations of ghee and cooked rice are offered to the deities in the sacrificial fire.Ritualistic Bathing: In ritualistic bathing, the body is purified by bathing using holy ash (bhasma-snan), cowdung (Gomay-snan), mud (mruttika-snan) and water.
- The body benefits from the Absolute Fire Element (Tej-tattva) by applying holy ash.
- The body benefits from the Absolute Air Element (Vayu-tattva) by applying cowdung.
- By applying mud the body benefits from the Absolute Earth Element (Pruthvi-tattva).
- Also due to application of the frequencies of the principles of holy ash, cowdung and mud on the body a covering is formed on the body and the black covering formed on it is removed.
Then holy grass (durva), sesame seeds and mud is placed on the head along with uttering of mantras.
Spiritual experiences: Some spiritual experiences of the seekers who participated in the Shravani ritual with spiritual emotion:
Black energy going out of the body through yawning and burping
- Experiencing lightness in the body
- Fragrance emanating from the body
- Mind becoming stable and introverted
Enhancing of concentration of the mind
It is clear from the above points that by purifying the body ritualistically in this way together with uttering of mantras, the mind also starts getting purified.
Worshipping the Sages and giving offerings (tarpan) to the Sages:
Here eight betel-nuts (suparis) are placed on a short wooden stool. Then the seven Sages namely Kashyap, Atri, Bhardwaj, Gautam, Jamdagni, Vasishtha, Vishwamitra and Arundhati are invoked and worshipped.
After this, by keeping the sacred thread on both the shoulders, offerings (tarpan) are given to the Sages.
Seven circles are created from the region of the Sages. These circles become one at the nirgun level to form a flow. This flow is emitted towards the Earth and is attracted at the place of the ritualistic worship of the Sages. Through this flow fountains of frequencies of Chaitanya spread in the environment. The people present there benefit from it.
B. Upakarma ritual
In this ritual oblations are offered in the sacrificial fire. In this balls are made from the barley flour and offered in the fire. Then the person participating in the Shravani ritual swallows the balls made from barley flour without chewing.
C. Adorning a new sacred thread (yadnyopaveet)
In the ritual of adorning the sacred thread, first the sacred thread is enriched by uttering mantras. By uttering the mantras with spiritual emotion the vibrations of spiritual energy emitted from the four Vedas are attracted towards the sacred thread and they revolve around it in an activated form.
The sacred thread is held in the hands and the Gayatri mantra is uttered. Then with prayers and spiritual emotion it is adorned. Then the old sacred thread is discarded. The subtle effect of adorning the sacred thread is as follows:
Through this spiritual energy is activated in the sacred thread and it gets charged with this energy.
- Spiritual emotion is awakened in the person who adorns the sacred thread2a. The person achieves communion with God.
- A flow of God’s blessings in the form of Chaitanya is attracted towards the person.3a. Chaitanya is activated in his body.
- A flow of Divine Energy of Knowledge is attracted.
4a. A spiral of Energy of Knowledge is created at the Adnya chakra of the person who wears the sacred thread
- Through the spiral of Energy of Knowledge a flow of Energy of wisdom (pradnya-shakti) spreads at the place of Anahat-chakra of the person.5a. A spiral of Energy of wisdom is created in the person’s body.
- A flow of Divine Chetana-shakti is attracted towards the person.6a. Through this flow a spiral of Chetana-shakti is created in his body.6b. Flows of Chetana-shakti spread in his body.6c. Also particles of Chaitanya-like energy spread in his body. Due to the Chetana-shakti generated in the body, the person acquires the energy to study the Vedas.
- The seven Kundalini chakras in his body get activated.
- A protective sheath is created around the body.
He is protected from negative energies.
With this one can understand how a person is benefited from the frequencies of the Divine Principle by wearing the sacred thread.
For more information on this article, read Sanatan Sanstha’s publication – ‘Holy festivals, Religious festivals and Vowed religious observances’