Amavas are the no moon days of the month and the darkest days of the month as well. Most devout Hindus observe a fast on this day.
An Amavasya which falls on a Monday is known as the Somvati Amavas and is considered to be extremely auspicious. Since it is a rare occurrence, it is considered to be lucky and is believed to be extremely beneficial in terms of worshipping Lord Shiva on this day.
It is also considered to be beneficial in reducing the malevolent effect of Shani and perform the Pitri Tarpan or an offering made to the departed family members. It also holds immence importance for all married women.
Legend of Somavati Amavasya
According to a legend, long ago there lived a money lender who had seven sons and only unmarried daughter. A holy man or a monk visited their house and used to bless the daughter-in –laws, but never the daughter. The daughter and her mother grew worried about this, but their query met with no answer from the monk. Finally they sought advice from a Pandit, who told them that the daughter was pre destined to become a widow. Worried the mother requested the Pandit to give them a solution. The pandit suggested the daughter to travel to Singhal where a washer woman lived. The daughter’s fate can only change if the washer woman agreed to apply vermillion or sindoor on the daughter’s forehead. He also suggested that observing the fast on Somvati Amavasya will alter her fate.
Thus the daughter and her youngest brother started for the island of Singhal. En-route they came across a huge ocean and wondered how to cross it. On the shore of the ocean in a tree lived a vulture family along with their babies. One day a snake attacked the vulture babies when the other vultures had gone out to get food. The daughter of the money lender immediately jumped up to save the vulture babies and managed to drive away the snake.
The vultures were extremely grateful upon their return and as a mark of their gratitude, offered to guide the daughter to the washer woman’s house. Upon reaching there the daughter started to stay with the washer woman and serving her.
After some time the washer woman was very pleased with the daughter and applied vermillion on her forehead and sent her home. While coming back the girl also watched Somvati Amavasya being performed and she also kept a fast. She came across a peepal tree, worshipped it and revolved around it and then only broke her fast by drinking water. In this way the bad luck was erased and she became fortunate and lived happily.
Rituals to be performed on Somvati Amavas
The following rituals are to be followed on the Somvati Amavasya-
- Lord Shiva is to be worshipped for peace and prosperity
- Lord Shiva is to be worshipped by married women for the benefit of their husbands
- Maintain maun, or silence
- Worship Shani to get rid of the malevolent phase of Shani
- Do a 108 Parikrama of the Peepal tree as Peepal is considered to be the Trinity.
- Take a holy bath
- Perform Pitra Tarpan
- Worship Lord Vishnu
- Donate in charity
Benefits of Somvati Amavas
Observing Somvati Amavas gives multiple benefits to devotees. It is believed that married women who observe this for the long and healthy life of their husbands are blessed with that. The day is auspicious to perform Pitri Tarpan, as it is believed to provide immense peace to the departed ancestors. Devotees, who suffer from Pitra Dosh, must observe this vrat. Lastly observance of this is said to bring peace and prosperity to all the devotees.