Those who worship Shiva and perform Abhishekam, especially during the Pradosham period, gain a long, healthy life, a true life partner, and a happy household. On every Trayodashi or the 13th phase of the Moon, there is a Pradosham celebrated between 4.30 pm to 6 pm. Hence Pradosham falls twice a month during the waxing as well as the waning moon phase, also known as Shukla paksha and Krishna paksha, respectively.
It is observed one and a half hours before dusk when the sun is about to set. These hours are considered as the most sacred since it has the power to wash one’s sins and sanctify him with the grace of God, the ultimate power.
The Legendary Tale behind Shiva Pradosham
It all started with the churning of the ocean Ksheerasagar. All the Devas and Asuras wanted to become immortal like the supreme power. Hence they went to this milky ocean with the help of Lord Vishnu. Vishnu there took the form of a tortoise to held the mountain Mandara and prevented it from falling into the ocean while the churning was in process.
The serpent king Vasuki was used as a rope to churn the ocean and bring out whatever was inside. However, the long hours and severe smothering of the serpent king made Vasuki throw his venom out in the ocean. The venom got mixed with the nectar in the ocean, and this sent a shiver in everyone from Devas to Asuras.
At that point, they all knew that Lord Shiva is the only one who could save them from the situation. They all visited Shiva at Mount Kailasha, where Shiva understood their pleadings and sent Nandi to collect the nectar from the ocean. On bringing the nectar, which had a mixture of venom, Lord Shiva drank the venom and separated it from the nectar to be consumed by the Devas.
However, what Shiva consumed was a deadly poison, and Goddess Parvati was aware of it. She hence rushed to Shiva while he was consuming the poison, and she stopped its flow right in the throat of Shiva. This made the poison reside in the throat only and made Shiva’s throat blue in color. That was when Shiva was first called “Neelkanth.”
The poison started showing its effects and made Shiva close his eyes. He consoled his beloved for not worrying, and with Parvati’s permission, he lay his head on her lap. The whole Kailasha became silent; all Devas were present there, continuously praying to Shiva to revive; they understood the great heart of the Lord and how compassionate he was.
One and a half days passed, and the Lord’s eyes were still closed. As the evening approached, Lord showed some signs of movement; he slowly opened his eyes and looked at all the Devas with grace. This was the evening of Trayodashi that was first known as Pratyushat Kaal, on the name of Pratyusha, another wife of Surya. From that day, it got the name Pradosham Kaal when the divine entity Shiva danced between the two horns of Nandi.
Observing Fast on Pradosham
Those who observe the fast on Pradosham and recite the name of Shiva become healed from all ailments.
- To observe the fast, one should wake up early and take a bath. Wear clean clothes.
- Devotees should visit a Shiva temple or bathe the idols at home with clean water and milk, which is also known as Abhishekam.
- You can also offer flowers and sandalwood tilak to Lord.
- Do the meditation, chant Shiva’s mantra “Om NamahShivay” at least 108 times, and recite his name or listen to Shiva Artis.
- Offer food and utensils to the needy ones.
- Devotees should only break the fast the next morning by consuming light and fresh food.
- While observing the fast, devote the day to Shiva and don’t cultivate any bad thoughts. Don’t indulge in sexual activities, and don’t disrespect anyone.
- Avoid any non-vegetarian and tamasic food items. You should also avoid rice and anything made of rice.
Let your life be a celebration of Shiva with Pradosham that is falling on the 12th and 27th of December this year 2020.