One of the greatest tragedies for Hindus is their lack of awareness about their own calendar, known as Panchang.
The only aspect that resembles Hindu calendar with Western calendar is days, like Monday is Somavar, Sunday is Ravivar etc.
But, rest everything about it is profoundly complex and in harmony with nature’s mathematics and planetary position which remains largely unexplored.
The month of Shravan holds immense significance within the dharma community as it emerges with a plethora of celebrations, sacred vows and an opportunity to behold the breathtaking beauty of nature’s transformation.
Shravan is the beginning of the Chaturmasa period. This time, Chaturmasa will extend for five months, which means there will be a double Shravan month.
The sannyasi communities, who typically travel, choose to stay in one place during this time for intensifying Sadhana, Svadhyaya, and pravachana.
During this time, generally the armies of various kings would cease to move, set up camps and stop the battles, as the rainy season brings a pause.
Sri Ram, even burning in separation of mother Sita chose to halt the search for her during the beginning of Shravan or 1st month of Chaturmasa, respecting the change of time and challenges faced by the search party. Though the separation was intense, the power of nature prevailed.
Shravan is also a favorable time for farmers. The arrival of the south-west monsoon during this period brings abundant rainfall and joyous tidings to the agricultural community. As the monsoon showers pour down, crops enter their prime growth phase, bringing delight to the patient farmers who have diligently tilled the land and sowed the seeds.
The festival of Pola is widely celebrated in Maharashtra and some parts of Karnataka which is a festival of gratitude for farmers and their families to acknowledge the importance of bulls.
The observance of Gamha Purnima is celebrated in Odisha, where all the domesticated cows and bullocks are adorned and worshipped.
During Shravan, a festival called Narali Purnima is celebrated, in which Varundeva is worshipped. One of the traditional delicacies prepared for this occasion is Narali bhat which is made by combining rice, coconut, sugar and other ingredients.
It’s in the month of Shravan, sisters tie Raksha Bandhan on their brothers’ wrists. Of course some unwitted liberals consider this as a regressive festival while keeping their mouth shut for many more regressive ideas in other religions. But this festival is one of the events where families come together, expressing affection and exchanging gifts.
Shravan month also brings the Janmashtami one of the greatest and grandest festivals of Bharat. It is the day when Sri Krishna appeared to act and create perpetual transformation in the hearts of individuals and also an eternal revolution in the society. Janmashtami is a cherished occasion that beautifully combines the essence of Bhakti and Dharma.
One of the highlights of Shravan is the worship of the great Bhagavan Shiva. Every Monday during Shravan, Mahadev is worshiped by one and all. The atmosphere is surcharged with unique and powerful energy.
Indeed, there is no limit to all the festivals and specialities of Shravan month. One great poet mentioned that this month of Shravan is connected to hearing and learning. There are hundreds of katha, upanyas and pravachan to revitalise once parched and dry existence. But with the rain and stationary nature of all communities, the focus on hearing and learning is intensified.
It’s pertinent for one to keenly observe the different parts of Bharat during Shravan month and learn & feel the power of this month and its connection to nature and divinity. This observation will connect individuals to their roots and aid in studying our own calendar, allowing us to appreciate the brilliance of Rishis and wisdom of enlightened souls, while remembering the verse in the Bhagvad Gita that encapsulates the essence:
“yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ śhrīmad ūrjitam eva vā,
tat tad evāvagachchha tvaṁ mama tejo ’nśha-sambhavam”
Know that all opulent, beautiful and glorious creations spring from but a spark of My splendor (10.41).
– Govinda Das