Pradosham »

Pradosham literally means the removal of sins. These times are the windows of opportunity to remove karma or karmic energies that limit our potential in this current life.Pradosha, also spelled Pradosh or Pradosham, falls on the 13th lunar day (Trayodashi) during the waxing and waning phase of moon in the Hindu lunar calendar. Occurring between 4.30 pm to 6.00 pm on Trayodashi, the Pradosha time is propitious to pray Lord Shiva and invoke his blessings. It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva at Pradosh day will relieve from sins and gives Moksha. Among the poojas performed by the devotees of Lord Shiva, the Pradosha puja is considered to be more auspicious. It is believed that during Pradosha period all the universal beings and Gods come down to earth and attend the worship. The importance of observing Pradosha is described in Pradosha Mahatmyam from Shiva Purana and hence Shiva devotees observe Pradosha Pooja with high sanctity. Pradosha indicates the meeting of the Sun and the Moon in a horizontal line during their movement on their Axis.

History of Pradosha Vrat or Why Observing Pradosham?

According to Hindu Puranas, the gods (Devas) and the demons (Asuras) were stirring the milky ocean to extract amirtam (nectar), with Vasuki (the serpent king) as a rope. As Vasuki underwent severe scratches due to the churning, she emitted a powerful poison which is capable of destroying the world. The helpless celestials pleaded Lord Shiva to save them. In order to save them, Lord Shiva swallowed the poison. Goddess Parvati stopped the poison in Lords throat and it is believed that his throat turned to blue. As a result of this, Lord Shiva came to be known as Thiruneelagandan or Neelakandan (the one with Blue Throat).

It is said that on the Trayodhasi (thirteenth moon day) day, the gods and demons realized that they had committed a sin of not praying the God and prayed for forgiveness. Lord Shiva Shankar forgave them and danced in between the horns of the Nandhis (Celestial Bull) forehead. This time is called Pradhosham. It is believed that if anybody prays Lord Shiva in that time, he fulfills their wishes and gives them mukthi.

Legend of Narasimha and Pradosham:

One of the greatest incarnations of the universal preserver or maintainer Vishnu, is Lord Narasimha, the Man-Lion Avatar, to save the world from demon Hiranyakashyapu. The Siddhas give a metaphorical explanation for this avatar. Hiranya represents the ego at its peak. When your ego is super inflated, you act rashly and with less prudence. Archetypal Being Vishnu decided to teach a lesson to the human beings on the limits that one shouldn't exceed as far as EGO is concerned. So he is depicted as having torn the demon who was an epitome of EGO, in the form of Narasimha. This event happened during Pradosham time.

How to observe pradosham

Pradosha Vrata is observed on the 13th day of a fortnight and there are two Pradosham in a Hindu month. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are worshipped in the evening during twilight on this day. In some regions, the day is dedicated to Nataraja form of Shiva. The fasting on this day is observed for success, peace and fulfillment of desires. It is said that mere darshan of any of the one form of Shiva removes ignorance.

Pradosham is observed when the Trayodashi Tithi is there during the twilight period. This is important. Theimportance of Pradosha Vrataand how to observe it is narrated in the Skanda Purana.There are two methods of fasting on the day. Some people observe a 24-hour fast which includes not sleeping during night. Another method is fasting from sunrise till sunset and after Shiva puja in the evening the fast is broken.Pradosham is the twilight period just before sunset and after sunset. Pujas and prayers are performed during this period. Many people during this period spend the time in a Shiva temple or listening to the glory of Shiva.In the evening, an hour before sunset the devotee takes bath and prayers are offered to Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvathi, Ganesha, Kartik and Nandi. After the initial prayers, Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Kalasha (sacred pot). The Kalasha filled with water is covered with darbha grass and a lotus is drawn on the pot.

Another form of worship is the puja of Shivling. The shivling is bathed with water and Bilva leaves are offered. Some people use a painting or picture of Shiva for worship. It is said that offering Bilva leaves onPradosham is highly auspicious.After this people listen to the Pradosha Vrata Katha or story or read chapters from Shiva Purana. Then the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is recited 108 times.

After this the water used in the puja ceremony is given as Prasad along with sacred ash. The ash is applied on the forehead.It is said that just lighting a single lamp during Pradosham period is enough to please Lord Shiva and the act is highly rewarding. Majority of Shiva devotees have a darshan of Shiva during Pradoshamin a nearby temple.

Importance of Pradosham

The Shiva Purana states that one undertakes fasting on Pradhosha will be blessed with wealth, children, happiness and honor. The fasting and worship is specially undertaken by women who long to have children. It is said that those praying to Shiva during the auspicious time of Pradhosha will be freed from sins.

Offering Bael or Bilva leaves during the period to Lord Shiva is considered auspicious.

There are Shiva devotees that observe fast on both Pradosha days in a month. Some only fast during the waning phase of moon.

Staunch devotees opt for water only fasting and will only eat the prasad offered in the evening. Such devotees only eat cooked from next day morning.

Another method of fasting is by eating fruits and such devotees eat cooked food on the day after the evening prayers. The strictness of the Pradosha fasting is usually decided by the devotee.

Some devotees do not fast but worship Shiva during the period or visit temples.

Since Monday is dedicated to Shiva, the Pradosha falling on Monday is referred as Soma- Pradosha and is considered highly auspicious. Pradosha falling on Saturday during the waning phase of moon is also auspicious.

During pradosha time anointing (Abhishekam) the shiva deity with the following is considered fruitful:

  • Milk Gives Long life.
  • Ghee gives Moksha.
  • Curd gives good children.
  • Honey gives melodious voice.
  • Rice powder gives free from debts.
  • Sugar cane juice gives good health.
  • Panjamrutham gives wealth.
  • Lemon removes fear of death.
  • Sugar removes enimity.
  • Tender coconut gives enjoyment.
  • Cooked rice gives (Annam) gives majestic life.
  • Sandal gives Lakshmis grace.
  • Vibuthi gives purity.

What is Shani Pradosham and Maha pradosham?

Mahaa Pradosh Kalam comes yearly during the month of Maagh/Maashi (Uma +ShiVa) before Mahaa Shiv Raatri. If the Mahaa Pradosha comes on Saturday, it is called Shani Mahaa Pradosha. Saturday is the day when Lord Shiva swallowed poison and this is called Shani (Sthira in Samskritam) Pradosha. It is categorized into three categories of importance depending upon the month on which Pradosha falls:

  1. Uttama Sthira Pradosha - Maximum power - The Sthira Pradosha that comes during the months of Medam, Yedavam, akh,Karkadikom, Vruschikam, during the Growing Lunar Cycle (Shukla Paksha), i.e from New to Full moon period.
  2. Madhyama Sthira Pradosha - Normal power - The Sthira Pradosha that comes during the months of Medam, Yedavam, akh,Karkadikom, Vruschikam, during Diminishing Lunar Cycle (Krishn Paksha), ie Full to New moon period.
  3. Adhama Sthira Pradosha - Minimum power - All the other Sthira Pradosha. The Pradosh that falls on any Saturday is called MahaA Pradosha (Sthira Pradosh).

It is believed that each day of the week has different benefits during Pradosh time:

  • Sunday (Bhaanu Vaara Pradosha)
  • Peace to all (Mangalam to all)
  • Monday (Indu Vaara Pradosha)
  • Positive (perception) thinking
  • Tuesday (Bhauma Vaara Pradosha)
  • No Poverty (Prosperity to all)
  • Wednesday (Saumya Vaara Pradosha)
  • Blessings with progeny, Knowledge and education
  • Thursday (Guru Vaara Pradosha)
  • Divine blessings through the Pitru's, all dangers will be eliminated
  • Friday (Bhrgu Vaara Pradosha)
  • Nullifying (negativeness) opposition
    1. Saturday (Sthira Vaara Pradosha)
  • Elevation (promotion) getting back the lost wealth.

Shani Pradosham and Soma Pradoshams occurs when one of the 13th moon days occurs on a Saturday or a Monday respectively. The planet Saturn is considered an Agent of Karma who delivers many of life's tougher lessons to help us refine and evolve our souls. Pradosham time are measured by the phases of the Moon.

Significance of Shani Pradosham

According to Hindu mythology, the day Saturday is dedicated to Lord Shani or Shaneeshwara, one of the Navagrahas or nine celestial gods. Lord Shani or Sani has always been related with troubles and ill effects. Moreover, all Hindus believing in astrology dread the effects of Shani over a persons life. To overcome and avoid the adversities and misfortunes of Lord Shani, people observe fasts on Shanivar or Saturday. And when a Pradosh falls on a Saturday, it is termed as Shani Pradosh. To overcome the bad influence of Shani, devotees observe a vrat on Shani Pradosh and offering prayers to Shiva during the day.

The fast is observed from sunrise to sunset and ends with the evening puja. Since the name Pradosha literally means a period just before sunset and after sunset, the Pradosha period for prayers is from 1.5 hours before sunset and 1 hour after sunset. While most of the devotees prefer observing a strict fast by refraining from food and drinking only water, some devotees practice a partial fast by consuming fruits and water. Nonetheless, the strictness of the fast totally depends on the devotees. Even after offering the evening prayers, devotees eat only the Prasad and recommence with eating proper food only in the next morning. During the day of the fast, devotees visit Shiva temples and offer pujas and chant mantras.

Shanidev is karmarak. Shani is very powerful as he is son of Surya God and he is very powerful on Saturday evenings. Chaturthi and Tayadashi rahu is very powerful. Shaitarodayashi earlier one used to pray to Lord Shiva by which our earlier karmas in earlier birth gets cleaned up. Mahashivrati coming on Tuesday is very luck and auspicious as on Saturday Triyadashi means Shanipradosh. On this day one must donate Til to Shani God. As Shiv is Shanis favorite god so Mastor oil is poured on Shani Idol to reduce the effect of shanipradosh. Also praying to shani dev all evil things get reduced peace and calmness in formed in us. All bad karmas get removed and peaceful mind and memory is formed. By following all prayers to Shani god on Saturday night he fulfills our desires and wishes. On Sunday Surya God rearranges all the good effects on him.During Shanipradosh Black Til and White Til should be given to Shani God.