In the Vedic calendar, the New Moon day on August 2, 2016 will open up the Shravan month which celebrates the victory of Lord Shiva who drank the poisonous halāhala which sprang from the Samudra Manthan, the epic churning of the great ocean performed by the gods and demons in search of the nectar of immortality. This is an allegory about the churning of life’s poisons and the ultimate victory of light over dark. Also it was in this month that Lord Shiva overcame Yama, the lord of death, which is a tale about the eternal and immortal spark of divinity within all of us. Technically, Lord Shiva drinks the poison before the culmination of the New Moon on Pradosh (Pradosham or Pradosha), which is the 13th day after Full Moon two days before the Shravan month begins.
During Shravan month, the universe is rejuvenated by the Shiva Tatva, the highest, purest, transcendental essence of nature, which purifies body, mind and spirit through various rituals like fasting, mantra japa, prayer, pujas and offerings. It is even a more auspicious month this year as Jupiter will ingress into Virgo on August 11, and the 12 days before and after this date are considered an auspicious time to take holy baths for purification, per yet another great legend of the Vedic tradition in which the nourishing spiritual energy of Pushkara stays with Jupiter in his form of Brihaspati, Lord of the Vast, for these 24 days every 13 months when Jupiter leaves one sidereal sign to enter another.
These next few days are a wonderful time for examining and releasing any unhealthy emotional attachments and clearing your personal space in preparation for the next phase that will begin on Tuesday’s New Moon. In addition, the day before this New Moon (Monday) is the Chaturdashi tithi and an incredibly auspicious time for spiritual and healing practices and rituals, especially those dedicated to Lord Shiva and one of his greatest disciples, Saturn (Lord Shani).
One of the best practices for this month is to recite Shiva mantras like Om Namah Shivaya, a prayer addressed to Lord Shiva as the highest essence of your Divine Self as the transformative and creative power of the cosmos. Om Namah Shivaya is also called the Panchakshara Mantra, meaning the “Five Sacred Syllables.” These are na-mah-shi-va-ya. It is also sometimes called the six-syllable mantra by including Om. Among other things, these five represent the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space. Thus, the Om Namah Shivaya mantra balances all the elements in all of life. Another meaning is “I bow to the Divine Self Within.”
- OM/AUM: Oneness.
- Namah/Namaha: Homage, and acknowledgement of Oneness.
- Shivaya/Shiva: The Absolute Reality that is Pure Consciousness.