The Saavan or Shravan Month is the 5th month in the Hindu calender and it is considered as one of the holiest months in the year.In this month, each Monday is celebrated as Shravan Somvar (Monday) and keeping a fast on every Monday and praying to Lord Shiva is considered very auspicious during this month.During this month, the Nakshtra Shravan is the ruling star on full Moon Day and therefore this month is named as Shravan. This whole month is dedicated to Lord Shiva and praying to Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati during this month is believed to bring blessings from Him.During this month the first Monday is of prime importance and devotees throng Shiva temples to perform puja and seek the blessings of Lord Shiva.
They offer Bael leaves, milk and Ganga jal or water to the Shiva Lingam.Devotees keep themselves away from onion, garlic and non vegetarian food throughout the entire month and eat Sattvik bhojan.Shiva Mantras including Mahamritunjey Mantra and Shiva Chalisa are chanted in the morning and evening every day.Besides eating non vegetarian food, taking alcohol and inflicting violence on other creatures etc is prohibited during Saavan. While the onset of Saavan is marked by the beautiful festival of Minjraan,its end is celebrated with the celebration of the festival of Rakshabhandan symbolising the unconditional love of brother and sister.
Saavan has great religious importance for the Hindus. It is the time when Lord Shiva drank the poisonous Halahala that emanated from the Samundramanthan (churning of ocean) between the Devas and the Asuras for the quest of nector (ambrosia).During the Manthan, the ocean produced fourteen different gems which were divided between Devas and Asuras. (Gods and Demons). When the ocean produced the deadliest poison halahala, which could destroy the whole universe, Lord Shiva decided to drink it to save the world. His devout wife saw him taking the poison and immediately held His throat so that it could not go down and harm Him. Consequently his throat turned blue and He came to be called Neelkantha (having blue throat). All the Gods poured water over Lord Shiva to reduce the impact of the poison; so Shiva Jalabhishek has special significance during this month During this month, the things dear to Lord Shiva, such as Datura, Bael leaves, etc grow in profusion; So they should be offered to Lord Shiva to please Him.It is also believed that Mata Sati, the daughter of King Daksha after a long meditatation and penance took birth in the home of Himalayan King.She underwent rigorous meditation for the whole month of Saavan to have Lord Shiva as her consort. Moreover, Lord Shiva is believed to have visited has inlaws on the earth during this month. Therefore, this month is very dear to Lord Shiv. Moreover, it is believed that Lord Vishnu goes for four month yog nidra (yogic sleep) and Lord Shiva has to take care of the universe.
Apart from religious importance, Saavan is eagerly awaited for other reasons.Indians have a special bonding with Saavan and they wait for it impatiently.It is the month when everything is at its best. The close bond between Saavan and Indians manifests itself in many Bollywood songs and immortal poems which have become a part of our culture.There are many Bollywood films and songs based on Saawan.’Aya saawan jhoom ke’, ‘Saavan ko Aane Do’,’Saavan Bhaadon’ etc are famous Bollywood films based on the theme of Saavan and lovers. ‘Saawan ka mahina pawan kare sor’, ‘kuchh kehta hai jai saawan’, ‘Abke sajan saawan mein’, ‘mere naina saawan bhadon’ ‘Saawan ke jhule pade’, ‘Rimjhim gire saawan’,etc are some of the famous songs based on the month of Saavan and the lovers’ longing for eachother. Most of these songs bring out the lovers desire to meet eachother and their unrequited love.Even for the common Indian, Saavan has great significance. It brings relief from the scorching sun in summer.Beautiful rainbow on the semi clear sky presents a memerising sight and is a treat for the eyes and the soul.Mother Nature often covered in mist, drapes itself in green and shows off its beauty in all glory.The lush green meadows, hills and mountain slopes seem bathed, trees look clean and green, dry brooks can be seen overflowing with water. Saavan has so many shades and colours for everyone.One gets thrilled by watching the cloudy skies, green surroundings, splendid waterfalls, bubbling springs and sweet earthly smell.It is called lover’s time as lovers long to meet each other despite restrictions on them.Thumries depicting the songs of Radha and Lord Krishana are sung.Young damsels can be seen taking long swings with the cord swings tied to the strong branches of the big trees. Farmers sow maize and transplant paddy seedlings in this month.Children play with paperboats and watermills and get themselves drenched to have full enjoymen. Saavan symbolises regeneration and growth and with plants and trees regaining their glory after hot summer, they present a breathtaking view. Animals too feel happy and amorous as it is the mating season for most of them. Many creatures awake from their aestivation and look for food. Frogs croak hoarsely in the ponds, poodles and every where.It is the month when the nightingale and the papiha give out melancholy sounds filling the hearts of people with joy and happiness.Birds have their heart’s fill as a large number of insects come out of the earth and serve as food for them.Peacocks stretch out their wings and give amorous calls to the peahens.In short, this month is welcomed by every living creature.In Duggar, newly married brides are sent to their parental homes during this month to keep them away from their mother in laws as staying with the latter is considered inauspicious.People prepare and offer Babroos to Gods and share them with their relatives and neighbours and girls keep fast every Monday to pray for good life partner.Women wear and distribute green bangles to sybmolise greenery in Nature.Not only this, heavy downpour cleans the roads and lanes of all dirt and rubbish.
At the same time, rain in some regions of our country wrecks havoc with the rivers overflowing their banks causing huge loss of life and property and forcing people to move to safer places for their safety.Government presses its men and machinery for carrying out the relief and relief operations.People get stuck in muds , traffic jams are witnessed due to avalanches, cloudbursts and lightening claim many lives and flooded rivers and streams sometimes affect life badly.But despite all the miseries that the month of Saavan brings with it, it is welcomed and eagerly awaited.It symbolises growth and regeneration and has a beauty and glory of its own.Besides having great religious importance, It brings hope and life to the animals and plants which become emaciated and withered in summer.It is eagery awaited by one and all for various festivals such as Minjraan, Rakshabandhan, etc that it brings.It is, in fact an integral part of our culture and we should celebrate it with religious fervour and great pomp and show by enjoying long swings,preparing special dishes and appreciating the captivating beauty of Nature in myriad ways .
(The writer is serving as Lecturer in English, Govt.Hr.Sec.School, Thial (Udhampur).