The month in which full moon day coincides with Sravana star, that month is denoted as Sraavana Masam. Sravana star is considered as Sri Hari (Vishnu) Nakshathra. While Moon is the star lord, Sri Maha Vishnu is the Star Deity of Sravana nakshathra. It is said that Lord Brahma had darshan of Sri Maha Vishnu for the first time at the beginning of the creation in Sravana constellation. Sri Maha Vishnu’s Vaamana avathara had taken place in the constellation of Sravana. It is also believed that Lord Sri Maha Vishnu (Lord Srinivasa) stepped His foot on the Tirumala hills in search of his consort Goddess Sri Maha Lakshmi in Sravana constellation. At Tirumala temple, the nine day festival Brahmotsavam concludes every year on the day coinciding with Sravana Star.
Astrologically Sravana star is regarded as an auspicious star which falls in the zodiac sign of Makara Raasi (Capricorn) ruled by Saturn. It is said that when Sun during his transit in Makara Raasi comes opposite to Sravana star the doors of Vaikuntam (Moksha Dwara) gets opened. When Sun enters into Makara Raasi, Uttarayana begins. Sravana is considered as a star of learning and Sraavana masam is the auspicious month to begin learning. That is why the sacred ritual Upakarma takes place in the sacred month Sraavana masam that marks the beginning of study of Vedas in olden days. Sravana star forms the basis for performing Upakarma for Rug-Vedis in Sraavana masam. Literally Sravana means to listen. Without good listening one cannot be a good learner. Listening is an art and a good listener is a good decision maker.
In Vedic terminology Sraavana masam is referred to as Nabho-Masam. Nabho is a Sanskrit word meaning Aakasa (Sky) that refers to the celestial nature of Sraavana masam and the Sravana star. Sanskrit dictionary also connects the word Nabhasa to Sraavana masam meaning the rainy season and Nabhas means celestial or heavenly. During Sraavana masam Sun transits into Simha Raasi (Leo sign) that is known as Simha Sankramana. Sraavana masam marks the beginning of Varsha Ruthu when the monsoon will be active. Lord Sri Maha Vishnu in the name of Sridhara is the Presiding Deity (Maasa Niyamaka) governing Sraavana Masam. We find a reference to the word Sridhara in sloka # 65 of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Stothram. Sri means Goddess Sri Maha Lakshmi and Dhara means bearing. Sridhara means the One who always bears on His chest Goddess Sri Maha Lakshmi. In 24 Kesava Naamaas also we find the word Sridhara as the ninth one.
Fifth in the line of Hindu lunar months, Sraavana masam is a highly auspicious month in Hindu philosophy flooded with festivals and austerities. Out of the seven week days that we have, four days viz. Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday have acquired lot of significance in Sraavana masam. Mondays for worshipping Lord Shiva, Tuesdays for Goddess Gouri, Fridays for Goddess Sri Maha Lakshmi and Saturdays for Lord Sri Maha Vishnu in the form of Lord Venkateshwara. In Hinduism, we have a tradition of worshiping Snakes (Naagaaraadhana) since time immemorial and Sravana masam is the sacred month that is identified for Snake worship. Fourth and fifth day of the bright fortnight in Sraavana masam is exclusively earmarked for Snake worship that is known as Naaga Chaturthi and Naga Panchami. The festival of Garuda Panchami that occurs on the fifth day of the bright fortnight in Sravana Masam is dedicated to Lord Garuda.
Full Moon day in Sraavana masam (Sraavana Pournami) has lot of religious and spiritual significance as that day is celebrated as Upakarma, a Vedic ritual. Starting from this day in olden days people used to resort to study of Vedas by symbolically changing the Yagnopaveetham. Traditionally Sraavana Pournami is celebrated as Raakhi or Raksha Bandhan that symbolizes the unmatched bondage of love, care and respect between a brother and a sister. Sankasta Chaturthi associated with Lord Vinayaka (Ganesha) occurring during Sraavana masam is considered as highly sacred day to begin the Sankasta Chaturthi vratha. Observing this Vratha on this day is said to yield merits equivalent to observing the same for the whole year.
Pouranically, Sraavana Pournami is the day Lord Sri Maha Vishnu incarnated as Hayagreeva (Horse headed) that is commemorated as Sri Hayagreeva Jayanthi. Lord Hayagreeva is the presiding Deity and Supreme God of learning, knowledge, and wisdom. Sraavana masam is the most sacred and celestial month that has given birth to Lord Sri Krishna the Paripoorna Avathara of Lord
SriManNarayana. Lord Sri Krishna was born on the 8th day (Ashtami) of the dark fortnight of Sravana masam that is celebrated across the country as Sri Krishna Janmaashtami. At Tirumala temple a sacred ritual known as Pavithrotsavam will be held for three days during Sraavana masam starting from Sukla Dasami which is more or less a purificatory ceremony. Aaraadhana of great Saint and Madhva philosopher, Guru Saarvabhouma Sri Raghavendra Swamy (Rayaru) of Mantralayam takes place during Sraavana masam. It was on the second day (Vidiya) of dark fortnight in Sravana masam Sri Raghavendra Swamy made Sajeeva Brundavana Pravesa that is commemorated as Sri Rayara Aaraadhana.
Checklist of Festivals and Austerities during Sraavana masam
Sukla Paksha
Chaturthi: Naaga Chaturthi
Panchami: Naaga Panchami &
Garuda Panchami
Shasti: Siriyaala Shasti
Ekaadasi: Puthrada Ekaadasi
Dwaadasi: Dadhi Vratha
Pournami: Upakarma, Raakhi,
Krishna Paksha:
Vidiya: Sri Raghavendra Swamy Aaradhana
Chaturthi: Sankasta Chaturthi
Ashtami: Sri Krishna Janmaashtami
Ekaadasi: Aja Ekaadasi
Tuesdays: Mangala Gouri Vratha (by newly married women)
Fridays: Sampatt Sukra Vaara Vratha (By all married women) and Sri Vara Maha Lakshmi Vratha on Friday falling before the full moon day.
During Sraavana masam, austerities like Eka Bhuktha (taking one time meals), Naktha Vratha (fasting during day time and taking meals at night) are prescribed. Saaka-daana (Vegetables) is prescribed on Sravana sukla Dwadasi day. Worshipping Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva during Sraavana masam is highly meritorious. By observing the prescribed austerities and worshipping Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Goddess Sri Maha Lakshmi and Goddess Gouri during Sraavana masam one will be bestowed with good health, longevity, and prosperity.
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