Come Shravan and the festival calendar starts for every Hindu Household in India. The month of Shravan usually starts in the months of July- August according to the English Calendar. In North India, It starts 15 days earlier than the South. According to the South Indian Calendar, this year, it has started on the 21st of July onwards.
The month of Shravan has many festivals which mark the important rituals and customs of India. It is considered a very auspicious month and there are many important facts connected with this month.
According to Hindu mythology, it is in this month, that the Samudra Manthan (the churning of the Milky Ocean) took place. This was the time where Lord Shiva had to rescue the three worlds from the poison Halahal which emerged from the ocean. He drank it and contained it is his throat, thus gaining the name of Neelkanth. This month is hence considered very auspicious for the worship of Lord Shiv and every Monday is observed as the Shravan Somvar (Lord Shiv’s favourite day of the week) and he is worshipped by observing a fast and praying to him for prosperity and happiness and removing the obstacles which hinder the same.
This month is also considered as the birth month of Goddess Lakshmi. The auspicious day of Shravan Suddh Tadiy with Pubba Nakshatr is considered to be the day when Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the Ksheersagar, the milky ocean. Hence, the whole month of Shravan, especially in the South states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra is considered very divine for the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi.
The most important ritual of Varalakhmi Vrat is observed by the married women of the household for the long life of their husbands and prosperity of the family, on the Second Friday of the Shravan, before Pournima.
It is very interesting to see that instead of an idol of the Goddess, her face is painted on a coconut, decorated with jewels placed in a kalash (sacred Utensil of water) with mango leaves and flowers and then worshipped. She is worshipped in her eight forms which are
• Aadi Lakshmi (the Protector)
• Dhan Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth)
• Dhairy Lakshmi (Goddess of Courage)
• Sowbhagy Lakshmi (Goddess of Good Fortune)
• Vijaya Lakshmi (Goddess of Victory)
• Dhaany Lakshmi (Goddess of Prosperity)
• Santaan Lakshmi (Goddess of Progeny)
• Vidya Lakshmi (Goddess of Wisdom)
These eight forms signify the eight important aspects needed for a family and the society to prosper.
It is believed that Goddess Parvathi has also observed this ritual for the well-being of Lord Shiv, when she was newly wedded to him, hence Goddess Parvathi too is worshipped every Tuesday by observing a ritual named the Mangal Gauti Vrat, by the newly wedded wives in the household.
This ceremony is completed by inviting the neighbouring women to the house, and offering the auspicious beetel leaf and nuts to them called Taambulam which is considered to bring prosperity to the ones who receive it. This festival also signifies our culture of always wishing the well-being of not only one‘s family, but of all in the society. The month of Shravan depicts the importance of both the Shiv and Vishnu Tatv. It signifies that both are one and the same, and worship of one Tatv is the worship of the other.