Pradosha vrat is as significant to Lord Shiva's devotees as is for Lord Vishnu's devotees. Lord Shiva being the Bola Shankara is an affable lord and is easy to worship and please. Pradosha period occurs everyday between one and one-and-a-half hours before sunset. It is the most favourable time to worship Lord Shiva. However, Pradosha vrat is performed on the thirteenth day (trayodasi) after both the new moon day and the full moon day.
Story behind the observance of Pradosha vrat:
Skanda Purana glorifies the significance of the observance of Pradosha vrat as follows. Once Sandilya Muni advised a Brahmin lady who was accompanied by her son Suchivrata and an orphan prince Dharmagupta (who lost his father and kingdom in an enemy attack) to observe this vrat. They have religiously observed the vrat. At the end of 4 months, Suchivrata received a pot of nectar and Dharmagupta got married to a celestial princess and regained his lost kingdom from the enemies. Finally, by the blessings of Lord Shiva, all of them attained His supreme abode.
How did Pradosha vrat come into existence?
We all know about the compassion exhibited by Lord Shiva in drinking the poison that emanated from the milk ocean during the churning process. It is believed that the much-awaited nectar emerged out of the milk ocean on dwadasi (twelfth day). Devas enjoyed the divine ambrosia without offering their prayers to Lord Shiva. They realized their mistake on trayodasi and approached Lord Shiva to seek forgiveness. Lord Shiva forgave them instantly and was very pleased with their prayers. It is believed that Lord Shiva is in an extremely propitious mood during pradosha which falls on trayodasi. Thus, it is a very important day to worship Lord Shiva and seek his divine blessings.
It is highly recommended to chant the Mahamrityunjaya mantra 108 times on this day.Mantra:
“We worship Shiva, the three-eyed Lord who is fragrant and who nourishes and nurtures all beings. As is the ripened cucumber (with the intervention of the gardener) freed from its bondage (to the creeper), may He liberate us from death for the sake of immortality. ”
Significance of the mantra:
The chanter of the Mahamrityunjaya mantra is blessed with sound physical, mental and emotional health, longevity, enlightenment, freedom from dangers and fears and is ultimately awarded liberation and immortality.
Shiva Gayatri mantra:
The following is the Shiva Gayatri mantra suitable for recitation by the people who are initiated by a guru into chanting of the Gayatri mantra:
“Let me meditate on the great purusha. May he, who is the greatest god, give me higher intellect. And let Lord Rudra illuminate my mind.”
It is important to note that any mantra recitation generates immense energy and the same needs to be returned to the universe in the form of tarpan or in the form of blessings to the near and dear. The reciter can give away the energy to the universe through tarpan by reciting “tatsa brahmarpana mastu” at the end of the mantra recitation. One can also distribute the energy through rays by blessing the near and dear. Whenever the energy tarpan is performed to the universe, one receives blessings from the universe.
Appropriate way to observe the vrat:
The devotees of Lord Shiva need to keep a fast to observe the Pradosha vrat. A total fast with plain water is the best. However, one can also take fruits and break the fast the next day morning. For devotees, whose health does not permit a total fast can have food after the evening puja to Lord Shiva.
Devotees need to take a shower 1 hour before sunset and start the evening prayers by chanting the Mahamrityunjaya mantra and by worshipping the deity or picture of Lord Shiva. It is extremely beneficial to offer items like milk, ghee, curd, honey, sugar, lime juice, rice powder, sugar cane juice, tender coconut water, cooked rice and sandalwood paste to the Linga form of Lord Shiva in the temple.
Significance of the observance of Pradosha vrat:
• It is said that even a single Bael leaf offered to Mahadeva on this day yields results equivalent to hundreds of Mahapujas.
• Lighting even a single lamp during pradosha period will bring about abundant material and spiritual success.
• Having darshan of Lord Shiva in the temple will destroy all the sins of the devotee and bestow fortune.
• Observance of Pradosha vrat blesses one with happiness, fame, honour, wealth, progeny and good luck.
In 2014, Pradosh vrat is celebrated on the following days:
• January – 13, 28
• February – 12, 27
• March – 13, 28
• April – 12, 26
• May – 12, 26
• June – 10, 24
• July – 10, 24
• August – 8, 22
• September – 6, 21
• October – 6, 21
• November – 4, 19
• December – 4, 19
OnlineTemple.com wishes all the devotees a wonderful observance of Pradosha vrat and abundant joy and success!