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19. 02. 2018
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Pradosha vrata

Pradosha means the dusk of the early night or evening tide. This vows is observed in the evening twilight, and so it is called pradosha vrata it is observed on the 13th day of each lunar fortnight. It is practiced to propitiate lord shiva, in order to obtain his blessings and boons leading to fulfillment of one's cherished desires and spiritual upliftment. The evening tide, when the sun sets and the night approaches, is the best time to worship Shiva.

A thing practised at an opportune moment is likely to bear the best possible results. That is why there is so much emphasis on observing rituals, ceremonies, vows etc., on a given day at a given hour. Our seers have ordained Pradosha vow to be practised in the evening, because it is considered to be most efficacious. The gods themselves approached Lord Shiva at the most auspicious moment of Pradosha to seek succor in the hour of distress, when they were being harassed and tormented by the Danavas and Daityas. And they were quite successful in achieving Mahadeva's favours and blessings.

What is Shani Pradosha ?

According to Hindu belief, Lord Shiva swallowed the poison on a Saturday and this is called Sani Pradosh or Shani Pradosha. Sani Pradosham is classified into Uthama Shani Pradhosham, Mathima Sani Pradhosham, and Athama Sani Pradhosham. Uthama Sani Pradhosha is the Sani Pradhosham that comes during the Tamil month of Chithirai, Vaigasi, Ayppasi and Karthigai during the waxing period. Mathima Sani Pradhosham occurs during the Tamil month of Chithirai, Vaigasi, Ayppasi and Karthigai during waning period.

All other Shani Pradhoshams come under this category Athama Shani Pradhosha. Pradhosha Purana: Once Dhevas and Asuras using the serpent Vasuki and the hill Mandhara were trying to get Amrutham (nector) from the Kseerabthi (milk ocean). Then the terrible poison Halahalam came up. All got frightened and pleaded to Lord Shiva for rescue. Being the peak of mercy Lord Shiva ate that poison. Then as per His order they resumed their effort to get Amrutham. They got it on Dhwadhasi (twelfth moon day). Without praying and thanking the God, by whom they got Amrutham, Devas started dancing and celebrating their victory. On thrayodhasi (thirteenth moon day) they realised their sin of not praying the God and pleaded for forgiveness. The pleased graceful Lord Shiva forgave them and danced between the horns of the Nandhi (holy bull). That time is called Pradhosham. Whoever prays Lord Shiva in that time, Lord Shiva fulfills their wishes and give them mukthi.

During Prodhosha time Abhishekam, the Shiva deity with the following is considered fruitful.

Milk gives long life
Ghee gives Moksha state
Curd gives good children
Honey gives melodious voice
Rice powder frees from debts
Sugar cane juice gives good health
Panjamrutham gives wealth
Lemon removes fear of death
Sugar removes enmity
Tender coconut gives enjoyment
Cooked Rice(Annam) gives mejestic life
Sandal gives Lakshmi's grace

An aspirant should get up early at dawn on Pradosha day and having finished his daily and regular ablutions, should invoke Shiva and meditate on him. On that day he should not eat anything, Then, again at the time of Pradosha, he should bathe and purify himself, and put on clean clothes and sit for ritual worship in a sanctified place. He should, preferably sit on a seat of kusha grass, facing east, but never facing west or south. Then he should offer Shodashopachar Puja (16 acts of homage) to Shiva with seasonal flowers, bael leaves, fruit, lamps, incense, etc.

To offer even one such Pradosha puja equals in merit to scores of other puja. To light even a single ghee lamp at such auspicious moments, is highly rewarding. Along with Shiva; Parvati, Ganesh, Karttikeya and the Nandi Bull are also worshipped and Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is repeated 108 times. The priest and Brahmin should be given clothes, grains, a pitcher and money at the conclusion of the ceremony. While breaking the fast only light meal, consisting of fruits, curd, sweets, etc, should be taken. Night vigil should be kept and Pradosha stotra from the Skanda Purana should be read and recited.

This fast is highly praised in the Purans, and is of great religious merit. Those who practice it with unflinching faith and devotion are bound to possess wealth, health, happiness and, peace of mind. When Pradosha fall on either Monday, Saturday or Sunday, it considered all the more auspicious. Astroshastra offers PRADOSH PUJA , you can order it online

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