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Indian Mythology

Pradosha Vrta- Lord Shiva in his Best Mood.

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 Pradosham is the twilight period just before sunset and after sunset on the Trayodashi Tithi, 13th Lunar day falling in Krishna and Shukla Pakshas, and this Vrata is very dear to Shiva. Pujas and prayers are performed during this period. Many people during this period spend time in a Shiva temple or listening to the glory of Shiva. People Worship Siva throughout the night, bath the Siva Linga with Pancamrta (namely milk, curds, ghee, sugar, and honey), homa, japa of Lord Shiva’s names and prayers for forgiveness are the other items involved in its observance. The person can then, at the end of Vrta, do Parana (break the fast by having Prasada). One may take a vow to observe this Vrta for 24 or 14 or 12 years. At the end of this period, the person has to perform the Udyapana, a concluding rite indicating the completion of the vow.

 

There is an interesting story mentioned in The Skanda Purana where this Vrta is prescribed to a Bhramin lady.

 

Once a Brahmin lady came to Sandilya Muni with two boys, her son, Suchivrata, and an orphan prince, Dharmagupta, whose father was killed in battle and the kingdom was taken over by enemies. Acting upon the advice of Sandilya Muni, the woman and the boys performed the Vrata with great devotion. After four months, that is, in the eighth Pradosha, Suchivrata obtained a pot of nectar and drank the divine Amruta. Prince Dharmagupta won the hand of a celestial princess and, as ordered by Lord Siva, with the help of the celestial king himself, his enemies were slain and his kingdom restored to him. Then Dharmagupta attained the Lord’s supreme abode.

 

A very important point to be remembered in this connection is that during this auspicious period all the hosts of celestial beings and gods come down from the heavens and attend the worship in their subtle forms. This adds immensely to the sanctity of the worship.

 

The mere sight of the Deity in a temple during this period will destroy all sins and bestow bountiful blessings and Grace upon the fortunate beholder. Even a single bel leaf offered to the Lord at this unique, auspicious moment equals a hundred Mahapujas. importance of offering Bilva to Shiva is stated in Bilva Ashtakam:

 

“Tridalam Trigunakaaram Trinethram Cha Triyayusham,
Trijanma Papa Samharam Eka Bilwam Shivarpanam”

 

I offer one leaf of Bilwa to Lord Shiva,
Which has three leaves,
Which causes three qualities,
Which are like the three eyes of Shiva,
Which is like the triad of weapons,
And which destroys sins of three births.

 

Origin of the Vrta

 

The Vrta is said to be originated during the Samudra Manthan, as mentioned in Shiva Purana, it all began with the churning of the milk ocean by the Gods and the Demons on a holy Dwadasi day. while they were churning the Ocean with Vasuki being the Rope, the first product that came up was Hala Hal, the most deadly poison, that was capable to destroy the whole universe. Lord Vishnu was holding the Mount Meru which was used as a churner in form of Kurma Avatar, the poison sent dreadful shivers amongst every entity in the universe.

 

Every God and Demon then started to pray to Shiva for Help, Lord Shiva came to the rescue ordered Nandi to get the poison and rd Shiva drank all of it. Hearing this goddess Parvati, came to save the universe, as the universe and all of the creation lies inside Lord Shiva, if the poison would reach Shiva’s belly then, whole creation would be destroyed, to save the creation , Goddess Parvati grabbed Lord Shiva’s throat and made the poison stay there, and thus turning Lord Shiva’s throat bluish, giving him the name Nilkantha, or the one with a blue throat. Hala-Hala started taking its toll. and put lord Shiva to sound sleep, till Trayodasi day, when Lord Shiva started to Show signs of normalcy. Nandi was covered with false ego and felt that since he got the poison and nothing happened to him, in spite inhaling the fumes of Hala-Hal.
 

He started to feel superior to Lord Shiva, seeing Nandi dance off in Ego lord Shiva, took a leap and started to dance in between the horns of Nandi tried to throw off lord Shiva, Every time Nandi attempted to throw him off, Shiva too a leap gracefully into the air. Thus Nandi and all Gods experienced the merciful and benevolent form of Lord Shiva. therefore it is believed that Lord Shiva is most benevolent on the Pradosha or Trayodashi day.

Five types of Pradosh

 

1. Nitya Pradosh– The evening time on all days, between just 72 minutes before sunset and the time when the stars rise or become visible in the sky.

 

2.  Paksha Pradosh– evening time of Shukla Paksha Chaturthi every month.

 

3. Maasa Pradosh– Sandhya Krishna Paksha Trayodashi  every month.

 

4. Maha Pradosh– Sandhya time of Krishna Paksha Trayodashi which falls on a Saturday.

 

5. Pralaya Pradosh– The time when the entire universe gets annihilated of merged with Lord Shiva.

 

This is the most favorable moment for direct contact with God. When we fast and pray on that day, we can reduce our bodily activities to the minimum and can have the vision of the Lord who resides in our heart.

 

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