In Luni-Solar calendar, Shravana month is fifth month, falls in july-aug. Vedic texts consider this month like holy and devote to Lord Shiva. In Jainism, this auspicious start is highly celebrated as Chaturmasa or Chaumasa (the holy four months) and observe fasting and prayers throughout four months. In various sects of faith, variably, it is considered to be starting from Ashada Shukla ekadashi (11th bright lunar day), or sharavana sankranti (solar ingression from Gemini to cancer) or ashadi poornima (full moon in Ashada nakshatra), formal of which is falling on 12th july and later two are falling on 16th july 2019.
This ekadashi is known as Harishayani/ Devashayani ekadashi. In hindu mythology, it is believed that Lord Vishnu chooses to go to sleep in Yoga-Nidra for a long duration in Ksheer Sagar (ocean) for four months. All four months have different importance. these four months are considered best for prayers and fasting for spiritual growth but not good for any auspicious work like start of construction, entering new house, mundan ritual of shaving hair of child for first time etc. as lord Vishnu’s blessings cannot be obtained.
First of these four months is holy month of Shravana, It’s every Monday is attributed to Lord Shiva, every Tuesday to goddess Parvati, Fridays to goddess Laxmi, Saturdays called Sampat Shanivaar to Lord Shani for wealth and Panchami (5th Lunar day) to naaga (the snakes of lord shiva). In the vedic era, Sun worship was also the main ritual as Sun is week in Cancer sign for the month. Tulsi plant, associated with worship of Lord Vishnu and Bilva tree, associated with Lord Shiva get great importance and are worshipped in this month. Visit to Dwadash Jyotirlinga (12 holy jyotirlinga) temples in this month is like attending Kumbha Festival. Prayers to lord Shiva with mantras like
“om namah Shivaaye”
Mrityunjaya mantra –
“Om Trayambakam Yajamahe, Sugandhim Pushti Vardhanam, Urvarukmiv Bandhanan, Mrityormokshiya Maamritaat”
Meaning- We meditate, worship and sacrifice on the three eyed one (lord Shiva), the fragrant, the bestower of nourishment, just like ripe fruit separates from branch effortlessly, free us from cycle of death and take us to immortality.
And recitations like Shiva-ashtakam, Maheshwar, Rudri stotram, Tandav stotram etc are made to please Shiva. Fasting on Mondays or every day in the whole month is observed. Offering of holy river Ganga’s water and Rudra-abhishekam are best but simple offerings can also be made to Shivlinga for various wishes eg. Water, Milk, curd, Ghee, Bilva leaves (Aegle marmelos), Aak leaves (Giant calotrope), Dhatura (Datura metel), Bhang (cannabis), Hawan- Ash, Flowers, Honey, Sandal paste or wood, Six grains- barley, millet, rice, wheat, sesame, green moong etc. brings respite from many problems in life. Items offered on shivlinga are not allowed to consume.
Take causion, Ketki flower (Pandanus odoratissimus, tulsi (basil) leaves, coconut water, saffron, turmeric, vermilion etc. cannot be offered to shivlinga.