How to do Sawan Somwar Vrat and other details
Devotees of Lord Shiva keep a fast on Mondays during the month of Shravan, and this is called Sawan Somwar vrat. This year, Shravan shall begin on July 6 and with it, also commences the sacred period of Chaturmas.
Mythology says, it is in Sawan that Lord Shiva had chosen Parvati as his wife and the month is dedicated to Shiva and Parvati.
There will be five Mondays falling in the month of Sawan. This year the Somvar vrats will be kept on 6th July, 13 July, 20th July, 27th July & 3rd August. The end of Sawan will be celebrated with Rakshabandhan.
According to the legends mentioned in Hindu Vedas and Puranas, the holy month of Sawan is dedicated to worshipping Lord Shiva for success, marriage, and prosperity.
It is believed that if you keep fast on Monday, Lord Shiva blesses you with health, wealth and prosperity. Anyone who is looking for the right partner for marriage is suggested to keep this fast.
According to Puranas, fasting devotees should observe abstinence. Follow the rules of Brahmacharya for the duration of Shravan. Upon failing to do so, they will be sent to hell and their next incarnation will be as animals.
How to do Sawan Somwar Vrat
* A devotee keeping a fast must rise early during Brahma muhurt and do dhyana (meditation)
* Then after taking a bath, and wearing clean clothes, he/she must do sankalpa (vow) to observe the vrat with utmost sincerity
* On the day of vrat, a devotee must maintain celibacy
* A devotee must keep a day-long fast. Consumption of onion, garlic, rice, wheat, lentils, milk and other Tamasic food is strictly prohibited
* A devotee may, however, have vrat recipes and fruits. Some people have a meal only once during the day, while rest follow a vrat diet
Sawan Somwar Puja Vidhi
* Rise at Brahma muhurta (about two hours before sunrise)
Do dhyana (Meditation)
* Take a bath and wear clean clothes
* Clean the temple of the house with Gangajal and purify your home with the sacred waters
* Dhayna - connect the inner self with the Lord
* Asana - Respectfully place the idol of Lord Shiva or the Shiva Linga on a wooden platform meant for puja
* Padya - offer water to the lord's feet.
* Arghya - offer water to the Lord for washing his face and hands
* Achaman- drink water from your palm after offering it to God
* Snana - offer water to the Lord for bathing. One may use water, milk, Gangajal, honey, curd, ghee etc for doing the Abhishek)
* Vastra - offer a fresh piece of cloth to the deity
* Yagnopaveeth - offer the sacred Janeyu and Akshat to the Lord
* Gandha - offer chandan paste
* Pushpa - offer Datura flowers, Vilva leaves etc
* Dhoop - offer incense sticks and dhoop
* Deep - offer an oil lamp
* Naivedhya - offer bhog
* Tabulam - Coconut, fruits, pan supari and dakshina (cash)
* Do aarti - Click here for the lyrics
* Pradakshina or Parikrama/ Circumambulate - stand up on your feet and turn around from your right
* Pushpanjali - offer flowers and do pranam
* Kshama Prarthana - Apologise to Lord Shiva for any mistake you may have committed while performing the puja
Key dates for vrat or puja in the next few days
Kamika Ekadashi (July 16): This is one of the 24 Ekadashi vrats, observed to seek the blessing of Lord Vishnu.
Mangala Gauri Vrats: Many married women do puja on Tuesdays for happiness of their family.
Hariyali Teej (July 23): Married women celebrate the day for the well-being of their spouse and children.
Nag Panchami (July 25): Women offer prayers and milk to the Snake God for the good health of family members.
Know what to eat and what not to eat
1) Avoid eating leafy vegetables and brinjal.
2) Avoid consumption of rice, wheat or lentils. Some people have a meal only once during the day without salt.
3) Do not eat garlic, onions or any other good of Tamasic nature.
4) Opt for a Sattvik diet. You may have fruits, coconut water, regular water and other vrat recipes. You can have recipes made of Rajgira, sabudana, kuttu and singhare ka aata, potatoes etc.
5) Do not consume milk because on the day of vrat as it must be offered only to Lord Shiva during Abhisheka.
Make sure you keep yourself hydrated. Remember, fasting is a method of letting the body get rid of toxins. It is an effective way to flush out unwanted or harmful components from your system. Therefore, you must take good care of yourself by following a Sattvik diet and doing Yoga/meditation.