Deity Shiva’s vrat (Vowed religious observance)

1. Pradosh vrat

The period of 3 ghatikas (72 minutes) before sunset on the 13th day of the bright and dark fortnight of every Hindu lunar month is called as Pradosh.

Method of performing the vrat

On this day one should fast and perform spiritual practice during the entire day. At night one should consume meal only after worshipping Deity Shiva. Next day, one should essentially worship Shrivishnu. As far as possible, this vrat should be commenced during the period of Uttarayan (Six-month period between Makar Sankranti (around January 15) and Karka Sankranti (around July 14), when the sun travels towards the north on the celestial sphere). Duration of the vrat is 3 to 12 years. If Pradosh falls on Saturday in the dark fortnight, then it is considered to be more fruitful.

It is advised that one should not study Vedas during the Pradosh period as this vrat is performed in the night, while Vedas are to be studied in the day time when sun is shining in the sky. Various types of Pradosh vrats are prescribed namely, Sompradosh, Bhoumpradosh, Shanipradosh and Pakshapradosh.

2. Sola Somvar vrat

Tithi

One should commence this vrat on a Monday from any of the Chaitra, Vaishakh, Shravan, Kartik and Margashirsh Hindu lunar months.

Method of performing this vrat

This vrat should be performed on 16 successive Mondays and on 17th Monday, one should conclude this vrat. One should recite the stories prescribed in the vrat on the 16 Mondays.

3. Shivapradakshina vrat

This is a kamya-vrat (vrat performed with expectation of fruit).

Tithi

This vrat is performed in any of the Vaishakh, Shravan, Kartik or Magh Hindu lunar months.

Method of performing this vrat

Initiation for performing this vrat is first obtained. This is followed by performing puja (Ritualistic worship) of Deity Shiva followed by 1 lakh pradakshinas (Circumambulation) of Shivalinga (Deity Shiva’s sacred symbol), which are the main acts of the vrat. Post completion of pradakshinas, the vrat is concluded. While concluding the vrat, golden idol of Uma-Maheshwar is worshipped and hom (Fire-sacrifice performed to appease Deities) is performed. Later, food is offered to Brahmans and the substances used in the worship are donated to them.

Following acts are prohibited during the period in which vrat is performed – accepting donations, eating outside food, speaking lies, socializing with people who denigrate Shrivishnu and Deity Shiva.

4. Shravan Somvar (Monday) and Shivamuth

Shravan Monday vrat

One should visit Deity Shiva’s temple every Monday of Hindu lunar month of Shravan and perform puja. If possible, one should abstain from eating on this day or only eat one meal at the night. By performing this vrat, Deity Shiva gets pleased and one can attain Shiva-Sayujyamukti (The fourth of the four states into which Mukti (Liberation from the bondage of birth and death) is distinguished, the other three are 1. Salok, 2. Sarashti, 3. Saroop)

Shivamuth (Shivamushtivrat)

This vrat is performed in Maharashtra for first five years (serially) after marriage. This vrat is performed on every Monday of Hindu lunar month of Shravan by consuming only one meal in the day, worshipping Shivalinga and offering five fistfuls of rice, sesame seeds, green gram, barley and satu (if fifth Monday occurs in the month of Shravan), one cereal per week in the sequence, to the Deity.

5. Shravan Somvar and Kartik Somvar

Since in comparison to other Deities, Deity Shiva and Shrivishnu hold special significance, similar to Shrivishnu, there are two more festivals associated with Deity Shiva. These are Shravan Somvar and KartikSomvar. Of these, Shravan Somvar is the festival of forgiving form whereas Kartik Somvar is the festival of judicial form. During the period from the month of Shravan to the month of Kartik, one should give donations staying indoors, whereas during the period from Kartik to Shravan, one should donate outdoors. Pilgrimage to holy places is also carried out in the time period from the month of Kartik to Shravan.

6. Hartalika

Tithi

Third day of the bright fortnight of Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapad.

History and objective

Devi Parvati had obtained Deity Shiva by performing this vrat, hence women perform this vrat in order to obtain a groom of their choice and for being blessed with long lasting married life.

Method of performing the vrat

Women should get up and bathe early in the morning, bring home the idols of Devi Parvati and Her friend and worship them along with Shivalinga. During the night women stay awake, and perform the concluding puja on the following day and immerse the idols in water.

Reference : Sanatan’s Holy Text ‘Holy festivals, Religious festivals and Vowed religious observances’

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