From today the month of Shrawan has begun, popularly known as Sawan in the North belt of India. It is considered the holiest month of the year as all the days of this month are auspicious. It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva during the month of Shrawan is considered more powerful than worshipping during normal days.
It is believed that on Poornima, the full moon day, the Shravan Nakshatra or the Star rules the sky and hence this month derives its name from this nakshatra.
Most of us would have observed that a large number of devotees collecting holy water of river Ganga and taking it to temples and offering it to lord Shiva after travelling more than 100 km for days together.
During my posting in North Bihar at Muzaffarpur from 1995 to 1998 I observed Shiva Devotees collecting water from river Ganga at Sultanpur (Bihar) and carrying it to Devghar in Jharkhand. Others collecting holy water from Patna and offering at Garib Sathan at Muzzarpur (North Bihar). Delhites see a large number of devotees (known as Kanwariyas) coming from Haridwar with Kawars through out the Shrawan month, some of them stopping at stops especially meant for their rest in between on their route to their destinations.
Why do devotees offer Ganga water to lord Shiva ?
It is believed that as per Puranas during Samudra Manthan (Churning of Ocean) in search of Amrit (Elixier) 14 different rubies emerged from the ocean. 13 of them were divided between the Devtas (Gods) and the Asuras (Demons). However the most deadly poison known as Halahal which could have destroyed the entire universe, was consumed by the Lord Shiva and his throat became blue as he kept the poison in it. Hence Lord Shiva came to be known as Neelkantha.
In order to cool of the impact of poison Lord Shiva wore a Crescent Moon on his head and all the Gods started offering water of the holy Ganges to Lord Shiva to reduce the effect of poison. Hence it is considered auspicious to offer holy Ganges water to Lord Shiva in this month.
I too am devotee of Lord Shiva for a long time. During the month of Shrawan of 2010 I visited Mallikaarjun Jyotilingam with my wife Sangeeta Goel. After the visit when I came back to Hyderabad in the Guest House of Income Tax at Banjara Hills, Lord Shiva blessed me with his blessings. It was 15th of August 2010.
I am sharing the image where I an visualising the Lord Shiva in the form of “Snake” and Goddess Parvati , consort of Lord Shiva in the form of “Cat “.(Goddess Durga rides the Tigress or the Lioness)
I may share that Mallikaarjun was my 12th of the Jyotirlingas in the series of 12 Jyotirlingas namely Somnath, Mallikarjun, Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar, Kedarnath, Bheemashankar, Trimbekhwar, Baidnath, Nageshwar, Rameswaram, Kanshi Vishwanath and Ghumeshwar.