SHRAVAN MONTH : BLEND OF SPIRITUALITY DEVOTION AND SCIENCE
Shravan month, also known as the month of Sawan, holds great significance in the Hindu calendar. It is a time of joy, devotion, and spiritual significance for millions of people in India and other parts of the world. Sawan Ka Mahina typically falls during the monsoon season, from late July to early August.
In Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities in Hinduism, is associated with this month. According to the legends, it is believed that during the month of Sawan, Lord Shiva drank the poison (Halahal) that emerged from the churning of the ocean to save the world. As a result, devotees worship Lord Shiva during this time to seek his blessings, protection, and forgiveness.
SIGIFICANCE OF SHRAVAN MONTH IN HINDUISM
Shravan Month is celebrated in various parts of India, particularly in the northern regions, with great enthusiasm and reverence. The arrival of monsoon brings relief from scorching heat and symbolizes fertility, growth, and prosperity. The month is associated with Lord Shiva, and devotees believe that his blessings are abundant during this time. It is believed that by observing religious practices and rituals during Sawan, one can gain spiritual merit and fulfill their wishes.
During Sawan Ka Mahina, devotees observe various rituals and practices to express their devotion to Lord Shiva. Many people observe fasts on Mondays, known as “Shravan Somwar,” where they abstain from consuming food or only eat specific food items. Devotees visit Shiva temples, perform special prayers, and offer milk, water, bel leaves (Bel Patra), flowers, and fruits to Lord Shiva’s idols or lingams (symbolic representation of Lord Shiva).
Shravana is considered to be a holy month in the Hindu calendar due to the numerous festivals that are celebrated during this time LIKE
Shravani Mela and many more.
- Monsoon Season: Sawan Ka Mahina coincides with the monsoon season in India. The arrival of monsoon brings crucial rainfall, which is vital for agriculture, replenishing water bodies, and maintaining ecological balance. The monsoon plays a critical role in sustaining the country’s economy and supporting the growth of various plant and animal species.
- Rainfall Patterns: The monsoon rains during Sawan Ka Mahina contribute to the overall water cycle. The rainwater is absorbed by the soil, which recharges groundwater reserves and helps maintain water levels in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Adequate rainfall is essential for the overall water supply, irrigation, and the availability of drinking water for human and animal populations.
- Agricultural Importance: The arrival of monsoon in Sawan Ka Mahina is of immense importance for agricultural practices. Farmers rely on the monsoon rains to water their crops and ensure a successful harvest. Adequate rainfall during this period facilitates the growth of crops, supports increased agricultural productivity, and contributes to food security.
- Waterborne Diseases: Monsoon brings an increased risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A, and leptospirosis. Contaminated water sources and inadequate sanitation can lead to the spread of these diseases. It is essential to drink clean and purified water and maintain proper hygiene to minimize the risk.
- Vector-Borne Diseases: The monsoon season creates favorable breeding conditions for mosquitoes and other vectors. Diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, and Japanese encephalitis are more prevalent during this time. Taking preventive measures like using mosquito nets, repellents, and eliminating stagnant water can help reduce the risk of these diseases.
- Respiratory Infections: Increased humidity during the monsoon can lead to the growth of fungi, molds, and other microorganisms. This can contribute to respiratory infections such as asthma, allergies, and fungal infections. People with respiratory conditions should take necessary precautions and seek medical attention if needed.
- Gastrointestinal Infections: Contaminated food, improper handling, and poor sanitation practices can lead to gastrointestinal infections like gastroenteritis and food poisoning. It is crucial to maintain proper food hygiene, consume freshly cooked meals, and avoid street food to prevent such infections.
- Skin Infections: Increased humidity and dampness during the monsoon can contribute to skin infections such as fungal infections, eczema, and dermatitis. Keeping the skin clean, dry, and moisturized, wearing loose and breathable clothing, and avoiding prolonged contact with wet surfaces can help prevent these conditions.
- Respiratory Allergies: Monsoon can aggravate respiratory allergies, particularly in individuals prone to allergic rhinitis and asthma. Increased mold spores, pollen, and dust mites can trigger allergic reactions. Taking prescribed medications, keeping indoor spaces clean, and minimizing exposure to allergens can provide relief.
- Accidents and Injuries: Slippery roads, reduced visibility, and increased waterlogging can contribute to accidents and injuries during the monsoon season. It is important to take precautionary measures, such as using appropriate footwear, driving carefully, and avoiding areas prone to flooding.Top of Form
- Agni: Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of maintaining a balanced and strong digestive fire or agni. During the monsoon, the digestive fire can be weakened due to the increased humidity and moisture in the environment. Consuming heavy and difficult-to-digest foods like meat can further burden the digestive system, potentially leading to indigestion, bloating, and discomfort. Therefore, some people choose to avoid meat during this time to support their digestive health.
- Food Contamination: The monsoon season is known for increased humidity and dampness, which can create favorable conditions for the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. Meat, particularly if not stored or cooked properly, can be more susceptible to contamination during this time. Ayurveda advises consuming fresh and hygienic food to maintain overall health and prevent foodborne illnesses. Hence, avoiding meat during the monsoon may be a precautionary measure.
- Seasonal Eating: Ayurveda promotes the concept of eating according to the seasons, as different seasons affect the body and its doshas (energies) differently. In the monsoon, the dominant dosha is believed to be Vata (associated with air and space elements) and can become aggravated. Ayurveda suggests consuming lighter, warm, and easily digestible foods during this time to balance Vata. Some individuals follow a vegetarian or plant-based diet to align with this principle during the monsoon season.
- Pitta Imbalance: In Ayurveda, Pitta dosha (associated with fire and water elements) is more dominant during the summer season. Transitioning from the summer heat to the monsoon can cause Pitta imbalance in the body. Eating heavy and spicy foods, including meat, can exacerbate Pitta and lead to symptoms like acidity, inflammation, and skin issues. Choosing lighter vegetarian options can help keep Pitta in balance during this time.
Do’s and Don’ts During Shravan Month.
Certain do’s and dont’s can help individuals stay healthy and safe. Here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Stay Hydrated: Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and compensate for the increased humidity and sweating during the monsoon.
- Eat Fresh and Hygienic Food: Consume freshly prepared food and ensure it is stored properly to avoid food contamination. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption.
- Maintain Personal Hygiene: Take regular showers, keep yourself clean, and wear clean and dry clothes to prevent fungal infections and skin problems that can arise due to increased humidity.
- Boost Immunity: Support your immune system by consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and immune-boosting foods. Include herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, and garlic in your meals.
- Protect Against Mosquitoes: Use mosquito repellents, wear long-sleeved clothes, and consider using mosquito nets to protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, malaria, and chikungunya.
- Practice Good Foot Hygiene: Keep your feet clean and dry to prevent fungal infections. Avoid walking barefoot in puddles or stagnant water to reduce the risk of contracting waterborne diseases.
- Maintain a Clean Environment: Ensure your surroundings are clean and free from stagnant water, which can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Avoid littering and support efforts to keep the environment clean.
- Avoid Eating Street Food: Street food, particularly during the monsoon, can be more susceptible to contamination. It’s best to avoid or be cautious when consuming street food to prevent food borne illnesses.
- Stay Away from Flooded Areas: During heavy rains and flooding, avoid venturing into flooded areas or walking through stagnant water. It can pose risks to your health and safety due to contaminated water and the possibility of accidents.
- Don’t Ignore Symptoms: If you experience symptoms like fever, cough, cold, diarrhea, or any other illness during the monsoon, seek medical attention promptly to receive appropriate treatment and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
- Avoid Walking on Slippery Surfaces: Wet and slippery surfaces can increase the risk of falls and injuries. Use appropriate footwear with good traction and be cautious while walking on wet floors or roads.
- Steer Clear of Electrical Hazards: Take precautions against electrical hazards during the monsoon. Avoid touching electrical wires, exposed power outlets, or electrical equipment with wet hands.
- Don’t Let Water Stagnate: Prevent water from accumulating and stagnating in or around your living space. Regularly clean and dry areas where water tends to collect, such as flower pots, coolers, and drains.
IMPORTANT DATES IN 2023 FOR THIS MONTH
Of all the months, Shravan Maas (July-August) is considered the most auspicious in 2023. In regions such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Bihar, where the Purnimanta Hindu Calendar is followed, Shravan month starts from July 4, 2023 (Tuesday), and ends on August 31, 2023 (Thursday).
In Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, where the Amavasya Lunar Calendar is followed, Shravan Maas begins on July 18, 2023 (Tuesday), and concludes on September 15, 2023 (Friday). It is specifically auspicious to wear a rudraksha during this month.
Throughout the month of Shravan, specific dates hold significance for devotees. In regions following the Purnima Hindu Calendar, Shravana Somwar Vrat (fasting on Mondays) is observed on the following dates: July 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st, as well as August 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th. The last day of Shravan Month in these regions is August 31st. In regions following the Amavasya Lunar Calendar, Shravan Somwar Vrat is observed on August 21st, 28th, and September 4th and 11th. The concluding day of Shravan Month in these areas is September 14th.