Mystic Mantra: The significance of Shravan maas

Columnist  | Sadguru Rameshji

Opinion, Oped

All the Gods thereafter started offering the Ganges’ water to Lord Shiva to lessen the effect of the poison.

Lord Shiva, who held the poison in his throat, indicates that we should also not spit these negativities on others nor allow them to go down deep within us. (Photo: PTI)

As per astrophysics, metaphysics and some other sciences which deal with matter and energy, and their interaction and behaviour — they suggest that all moving matter emanates from some vibratory effect (energy) which in turn influences other matter and beings in this universe.

Astrology more specifically predicts the behaviour of stars and their vibratory influence on human beings and thus declares some days and some months as auspicious and some as inauspicious. The Shravan month, in which the “Shravan” star rules the sky, is considered good from the religious point of view but not very good from materialistic world point of view. Several mythological events took place during this month, hence their celebrations take place but marriages, graha pravesh (the house warming ceremony), etc are not performed during this month as it is not considered very auspicious for these things. Those with beliefs of inauspiciousness — they generally do not even buy any new things during this month such as a new house, a new vehicle, new clothes, etc.

It is also the month of Shiva. Shiva had consumed poison during this month when poison emerged from the ocean while it was churned by Gods and demons. The understanding was that whatever comes out during the churning of the ocean, it will be equally shared between Gods and demons — but none of them agreed to accept the poison.

When neither Gods nor demons were prepared to accept this poison, they decided to throw it away, but lord Shiva prevented them, saying that if the poison was thrown away, the world would be destroyed. So eventually, to save the world, Shiva himself consumed it. The poison was held by Shiva in his neck, as if it went down into the stomach, he would have died and if it was thrown out, the universe would get destroyed. So he had to hold it in his neck and because of this, his neck turned blue in colour. From then onwards, he was also called by the name “Neelkanth”, meaning blue throat.

All the Gods thereafter started offering the Ganges’ water to Lord Shiva to lessen the effect of the poison. Since this happened in the month of Shravan, Shiva’s devotees also offer the Ganges’ water to Lord Shiva in this month. Spiritually, the churning of the ocean indicates contemplation of the mind and when the mind is contemplated upon, then all the past incidents buried inside the subconscious mind surface on to the conscious mind. The most dangerous of all that which surfaces from deep in the subconscious mind is the negativity and negative impressions such hatred, anger, greed, jealousy, enmity, etc. These denote the poison that emerged from the churning of the ocean.

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Lord Shiva, who held the poison in his throat, indicates that we should also not spit these negativities on others nor allow them to go down deep within us. We should hold them at a safe place within us for some time such that they neither affect us nor destroy others, and at the earliest opportunity neutralise these negativities through positive emotions. This process of neutralising the poison was denoted in mythological events as the offering of the Ganges’ water to Shiva by the Gods.

Monday’s deity being Shiva, all the Mondays during Shravan month have special significance as Shiva is worshipped by way of japa (Panchakshri mantra “Om Namah Shiva”), abhishek (giving bath to Shiva with water and milk) and fasting and bhajans (divine songs). These practices emanate positive emotions and help lessen the effect of our inner negativity as well as cleanse the atmosphere. There are many other Hindu festivals that fall during the Shravan month, such as:

Raksha Bandhan — wherein girls tie the Rakhi (holy thread) on the wrist of their brothers and brothers vow to protect sisters. Brahmins also change their janeyu (sacred thread) on the same day of Raksha Bandhan.

Nag Panchami: On this day, snakes are worshipped, seeking protection from them and as per Lord Krishna’s era — Krishna is believed to have conquered Kaliya nag, the most dangerous and poisonous snake in those days, who was a threat to the survival of mankind itself.

The first month of chaturmasya (the four month period) for Jains is the Shravan month. Starting from this month, wandering Jain monks settle down at one place for four months. This is because it is believed that during these four months, countless insects and tiny creatures are born which cannot be seen by the naked eyes and hence to avoid stamping and killing them (non-violence being one of the main pillars of Jainism), they settle down at one place. During this period, they conduct discourses and spiritual practices. Jain householders also perform austerities, fasts, penance, food restrictions and the observance of silence, etc.

Auspiciousness and inauspiciousness, however, is based on one’s individual belief as everyone on earth does not follow the same logic for auspiciousness and inauspiciousness. Strong mental belief can turn inauspicious into auspicious and vice versa also. One should evolve spiritually and overcome these mental conditions of what is auspicious and what is inauspicious. The right kind of knowledge, logical understanding of scriptures and avoidance of superstitious beliefs is what is spirituality is all about. For a spiritual person, nothing is more important than Purushartha (effort, action, deed) and surrendering at the feet of God.

Auspiciousness and Inauspiciousness is in the mind. Let’s cleanse the mind during this month through positive emotions and spiritual practices such as meditation, contemplation, offering unconditional love, compassion, gratitude, selfless service and surrender of the ego at the feet of the Lord.