Pradosha, also spelled Pradosh or Shiva 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.
Pradhosha Vrata Significance:-
According to the Shiva Puranas, observing a fast on Pradosham Vratam is regarded as highly auspicious and beneficial. One would be blessed with wealth, children, happiness and honor. While the fast is undertaken by all Shiva devotees, but all women who have been longing for a son specially observe this. Also, praying to Lord Shiva during the course of the fast is said to liberate the devotee from all his previous and present sins and evil deeds committed. According to one legend, Lord Shiva is believed to have drunk the Halahala poison during Pradosham. This poison was mixed with the Ocean of Milk (Samudra Manthan).
Shani Pradosh – Sani Pradosham
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.
Maha Pradhosha is a yearly rite which falls during February – March (Magha in Sanskrit, Kumbha Masam in Malayalam, and Maasi in Tamil) before Maha Sivarathri. Pradosham is carried out regularly in all Lord Shiva Temples across the country.
History of Shiva Pradosham Vrat or Why to observe Shiva Pradosham
According to Hindu Puranas, the gods (Devas) and the demons (Asuras) were stirring the milky ocean to extract amritam (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 Lord’s 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 Nandhi’s (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.
Pradosha pooja is one of the most sacred and important among the poojas performed by Shivites to the Graceful Lord Shiva. In Shukla Paksha (15 moon days from new moon to full moon) and Krishna Paksha (15 moon days from full moon to new moon) the evening of the Trayodasi (thirteenth moon day) between 4.30 pm to 6.00 p.m. is called Pradosham. It comes once in fifteen moon days. Pradosha time is to pray Lord Shiva and invoke His Blessings. Praying in this time will free us from sins and gives Moksha (hence the name Pradosha). During Pradosha time, a special type of circumbulating called “Somasutra Pradakshinam. During Prodhosha time anointing (Abhishekam) the Shiva deity with the Following is considered fruitful.
|Milk||Gives Long Life|
|Ghee||Gives Moksha state|
|Curd||Gives Good Children|
|Honey||Give Melodious Voice|
|Frees from Debts|
|Sugar Cane Juice||Gives good health and removes enmity|
|Lime Juice||Removes fear of Death|
|Tender Coconut||Gives enjoyment and full satisfaction in life|
|Cooked Rice [Annam]||Gives Majestic life|
|Sandal||Gives Lakshmi’s grace|
Rudra is always known to be easily pleased and through the praise contained in Sri Rudram, the fierce Rudra is calmed and becomes ready to grant us every conceivable blessing as requested in the Chamakam hymn.
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How to perform Somasutra pradakshinam during shiva pradosham
Explained by: C S RajGopalan
During the Pradhosham time Somasutra pradakshinam is the suggested way of circumambulating Sivalingam. In some of the temples this is followed always. A point to note here is that the Gomukhi is never crossed. Gomukhi is the place where the water after anointing (abhisheka tirtham) would be flowing northwards out. By doing this way of pradakshinam one does not step over this holy water.
“வ்ருஷம் சண்டம் வ்ருஷம் சைவ ஸோம சூத்ரம் புனர்வ்ருஷம்
சண்டம் ச ஸோம சூத்ரம் ச புனச்சண்டம் புனர்வ்ருஷம்”
“vrusham chandam vrusham saiva soma sutram punavrusham
chandam cha soma sutram cha punachandam punarvrusham”
First saluting the Rishabha devar (Holy Bull) go anti-clockwise and salute chandishwar (not crossing the gomukhi). Now return in the clockwise manner salute Rishabham and continue clockwise till the Gomukhi (not cross it again). Then return in anti-clockwise direction salute the Rishabham again and proceed towards chandishar. From there return back clockwise without worshiping Rishabham and reach the gomukhi. Finally return back anti-clockwise from there to salute Rishabham and continue to chandishwar and return back to Rishabham and worship the shiva lingam (at the altar) by viewing through the space between the two horns of the Holy bull. This is one pradakshinam. 3 such times pradadakshinam to be done.
If you carefully observe the curve traced by doing the pradakshinam is very similar to the periphery of the CRESCENT. Hence this way of circumambulating is called SOMASUTRA PRADAKSHINAM.