Sravana Masam Festival History
Sravana Masam which is the fifth month as per the Hindu calender (Hindu calendar starts with Ugadi,ie April) is considered one of the most important and auspicious months for the Hindus. This auspicious month is full of festivals and coincides with the months of August / September.
Sraavana Maasam is the most awaited month of the Telugu people who perform various social functions like Marriages, Gruhapravesam or House-warming Ceremony and other such functions in this month only.
As Sravana Nakshatra is believed to be the birth star of Lord Vishnu, this month is considered highly auspicious and Goddess Sri Mahalakshmi who is the wife of Lord Vishnu, is worshiped on the four Fridays of this auspicious month.
Second Friday of the month is the most important as Varalakshmi Vratam is celebrated on this day when Goddess Lakshmi Devi is worshiped in the form of Varalakshmi – the goddess which bestows with all the boons.
In addition to the four Fridays of the month, even the four Tuesdays of Sravana Maasam are quite important for the newly married women of Andhra Pradesh. They perform Sravana Mangala Gowri Nomu / Vratam on Tuesdays and worship Goddess Parvati Devi in the form of Mangala Gowri for the welfare of their family, for a happy married life and for a healthy life of her husband. Hence, this month is highly important for the newly married brides of Andhra Pradesh.
Mondays of Sravana Masam is dedicated to Lord Shiva
Besides these, the full moon day in this auspicious month is very important and is known by the names Sravana Pournami or Janjaala Pournami as on this auspicious day, men who wear the holy thread perform Upakarma and wear a new thread. And in the Northern states of the country, the important festival of Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the full moon day which helps in strengthening the bond between the siblings, particularly brothers and sisters.
Janmaastami – the birth day of Lord Krishna – is yet another important festival which is celebrated in the month of Sraavan.
The important festivals that are celebrated in this auspicious month of Sravana are:
Naga Panchami / Garuda Panchami
Sri Krishna Janmaastami / Gokulaastami / Sri Krishnaastami
About a Legend:-
Legend has it that Goddess Parvati has once asked Lord Siva about a vratam, performing which would render the women on the earth blessed with all kinds of wealth. Then did Lord Siva preach of “Vara Laksmi Vratam” to be performed on a Friday that comes just before the full moon day in the month of Sravanam. Illustrating the sanctity of the vratam, Lord Siva narrated the story of Charumati of Maratha desa, which runs like this –
Once upon a time, there lived a gracious and wise Brahmin lady called Charumati in the Maratha Desa, a town that had golden houses and golden walls. Charumathi was a Maha Pativrata, indulged in a whole-hearted worship of her husband and looked after her in laws with utmost respect. Pleased with her good nature, Goddess Lakshmi happens to appear in her dream and advises her to perform the Varalakshmi vratam on Sravana sukla sukravaram preceding the full moon day. Charumathi prostrates in devotion to the Goddess in the dream itself and the next morning illustrates the dream to her husband and in-laws. With their consent, she tells the same to a few more women folk of the town and they together wait the day.
The much-awaited day finally comes and they set stage to worship the Goddess Vara Lakshmi at one corner of the house, which is cleaned up with cow dung. All of them perform the puja to the Kalasam with all devotion and piety, tie the toram to their wrists and offer prasadam to the Goddess. Then does the miracle start as they go about to take the Pradakshinas after the puja. They see themselves bedecked with various ornaments one at a time as – anklets on feet for the first, bracelets for the second and various other ornaments for the final pradakshina. Excited about the blessing of Vara Lakshmi, they once again prostrate to the Goddess and honour the Pundit with due Dakshina and conclude the vratam by taking the prasadam.
As the women folk stepped out of the house do they see their houses decked with all riches and golden chariots awaiting them outside Charumati’s house. Extremely happy about what all had happened, the women thank Charumati for having shared her luck with them. Ever since then is the Vara Lakshmi Vratam performed in every household on this auspicious day.
Legend also say that the vratam was later also preached by sage Suta to Sounaka and other sages. Another legend is that Chitranemi who was one cursed by Parvati for having made a partial judgement in favor of Shiva when asked to play the referee for their game, got relieved from the curse by having watched this vratam performed by some pious women. Such is the sanctity of the Vrata.
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