The month of Sawan holds great significance in Hinduism, especially for the devotees of Lord Shiva. It is considered a highly auspicious month dedicated to worshipping and seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva. The term “Sawan” refers to the fifth month of the Hindu lunar calendar, which typically falls between July and August in the Gregorian calendar. During this month, devotees observe various rituals, perform religious ceremonies, and engage in spiritual practices to express their devotion to Lord Shiva.
The significance of Sawan month in the worship of Lord Shiva can be traced back to ancient Hindu scriptures and legends. One such legend is the famous Samudra Manthan (Churning of the Ocean) mentioned in the Puranas. According to the legend, both Devas (celestial beings) and Asuras (demons) came together to churn the cosmic ocean in order to obtain the elixir of immortality, known as Amrita. During this churning, a pot of poison emerged from the ocean, endangering all of creation.
To save the universe from destruction, Lord Shiva, out of his compassion and duty as the preserver of the cosmos, drank the poison. However, to prevent the poison from harming him, his consort, Goddess Parvati, held his throat, turning it blue. This event earned Lord Shiva the name “Neelkantha” (the one with a blue throat). The episode of Lord Shiva consuming the poison is believed to have taken place during the month of Sawan. Therefore, devotees offer prayers and engage in special worship during this month to seek Lord Shiva’s blessings for protection, healing, and liberation.
During the month of Sawan, devotees undertake a variety of rituals and practices to express their devotion to Lord Shiva. One of the most common rituals is the Kanwar Yatra, where devotees carry pots filled with holy water from the Ganges River or other sacred water bodies and walk long distances to offer it to Lord Shiva at his temples. The sight of devotees dressed in saffron, singing devotional songs, and carrying the kanwars (sacred pots) is a common sight during this month.
Another popular practice during Sawan is the observance of fasts. Devotees abstain from consuming certain food items, often opting for a vegetarian diet. Some devotees observe a full-day fast, while others observe partial fasts, where they eat only one meal a day. Fasting is considered a way to purify the mind, body, and soul, and to seek Lord Shiva’s blessings for spiritual growth and well-being.
Apart from fasting and Kanwar Yatra, devotees also engage in special prayers and chants dedicated to Lord Shiva during the month of Sawan. Shiv Stuti, or the hymns in praise of Lord Shiva, are recited by devotees to express their love and devotion towards the divine. These Stutis, often composed in poetic form, beautifully describe Lord Shiva’s various divine qualities, his manifestations, and his role as the ultimate source of creation, sustenance, and destruction.
The Shiv Stuti is a collection of verses and hymns found in ancient Hindu scriptures such as the Vedas, Puranas, and various other texts dedicated to Lord Shiva. They are composed in different languages like Sanskrit, Hindi, and regional languages, allowing devotees to connect with Lord Shiva through their native tongues. These Stutis not only serve as a form of prayer but also as a means to delve deeper into the spiritual aspects of Lord Shiva’s divine nature.
The Shiv Stuti encompasses a wide range of themes, including Lord Shiva’s cosmic dance (Tandava), his role as the destroyer of evil