The month of Shravan is completely dedicated to the Lord Shiva. It is considered to be a month when worshipping Lord Shiva is guaranteed to yield excellent result.
The somvar or the Mondays during the course of the month of Shravan according to traditional Hindu calendar is considered to be extremely auspicious. In fact it is firmly believed that it is so auspicious, that it is actually 108 times more auspicious than worshipping in the normal days.
There are millions of Hindu devotees who keep a fast during the Mondays or the Somvars of the Shravan month. There are many who keep a fast of the solah somvar or the 16 somvar fast from the first Monday of the month of Shravan. As per the Gregorian calendar, Shravan typically falls in the month of July August.
Auspicious Somvar to start the Shravan Somvar Vrat
It is firmly believed that it will be very beneficial to start the vrat from the first Monday of the shukla paksha, or the waning phase of the moon of the Shravan month. The observance of the Shravan Somvars can continue till the shukla paksha or the waxing pahse of the moon of Shravan.
Legend behind the Shravan Somvars
Long ago there lived a money lender who was affluent but did not have any children to carry his family forward, he and his wife kept praying to Goddess Parvati and lord Shiva for a child. Finally taking pity on their distraught state and appeared in the money lender’s dream and told him that they will be blessed with a son, but he will die when he will be 12 years of age.
Soon enough they were blessed with a son. The money lender used to always be involved with bhajan and pujan and worshipping of Lord Shiva. The son gre up and when he was 11 years of age, the money lender sent him away to his maternal uncle’s house in Kashi. While enroute, they kept praying, giving alms to all the temples and Brahmins that they came across. They also encountered a wedding ceremony, where because the groom was blind in one eye, the boy got married instead. Finally they reached kasha and when one day they were having an auspicious occasion, the boy fell ill and finally succumbed to death. When the uncle saw him dead he still thought of going ahead with the ceremony as it was meant for Lord Shiva. However, Lord Shiva passing by saw the grief at the boy’s death and gave back his life. Thus it was Lord Shiva‘s blessings which finally made the son alive and let him live a happy, prosperous and longer life.
Thus from then onwards, the Shravan Somvars were obvserved to gain the blessings of Lord Mahadeva.
Procedure of observing the Shravan Somvar
The devotee should have a ritualistic cleansing bath and then first observe Lord Ganesha. After that Lord Shiva should be worshipped by chanting of the Om Namah Shivaya mantra. The Shiva Linga should be worshipped with milk, honey and water and then bilva leaves, white flowers, dhutura, curd, camphor, water honey or milk should be offered to Lord Shiva. The shivalinga should face the north. Thos ewho cannot keep fast for the whole day can eat fruits and the fast should be broken in the evening or the next day. There are some regions where the devotees wear white clothes. Maha Mrityunjay Mantra and Om Namah Shivaya is chanted throughout the day. Red kumkum is never offered to Lord Shiva, thus the devotees should remember never to offer it to Lord Shiva. After breaking the fast of the Somvar itself, a sweet meal is to have without any salt. Some devotees also visit the nearby Shiva temples to offer worship.
Benefits of Shravan Somvars
Those who devoutly observe the Shravan Somvars, get blessings from Lord Shiva to have all their desires fulfilled and are blessed with immense wisdom. It is also believed according to some, that fasting and observing these Mondays are beneficial to get a good husband for all unmarried women.