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The occasion of Pradosh Vrat is believed to be one of the most essential, auspicious,and pure fasting days under Hinduism. It is a Hindu religious festival celebrated twice every month, i.e. once during the Shukla Paksha (bright half of the lunar month) and once during the Krishna Paksha (dark half of the lunar month). It falls on the thirteenth day of both the pakshas, i.e. Trayodashi tithi. Millions of devotees across India and worldwide follow this traditional ritual with joy and happiness.
The festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the most revered deities of Hindus and is believed to bring good luck and blessings to those who keep fast on the day. During Pradosh Vrat, devotees fast or remain on empty stomachs from sunrise to sunset and perform puja (worship) to Lord Shiva and his family (Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha, Kartikeya, and Nandi). As the word 'Pardosh' means 'related to evening', the associated pooja is started just a little before sunset and continues after. This Puja is also called Pradosh Puja. The devotees offer milk, honey, fruits, and flowers to the idol’s statue, light lamps and sing devotional songs praising the deity. They visit Lord Shiva temples on this day and perform Abhishekam (ritual bathing of the deity with milk, water, and other sacred substances).
Pradosh Vrat is marked as a sacred day for performing charitable acts and making donations to the needy. This is seen as a way of pleasing Lord Shiva and earning his blessings. The true Pradosh Vrat meaning lies in the fact that it is believed to help in the removal of sins and purification of the soul.One can attain mental stability, peace, and calmness by worshipping Lord Shiva. The festival is also seen as a way of strengthening one's devotion to Lord Shiva and bringing one closer to the divine. The Moon finds an association with the Pradosh dates as the associated ritual is performed in the Sandhyakaal or evening. So, while worshipping Lord Shiva during Pardosh Puja, you are also displaying devotion to the Moon, which is mounted on his head. It is very well mentioned in the renowned 'Skanda Purana'
One who keeps the date and time in mind and does the Pradosh fast, his/her life is believed to flourish forever. Moreover, keeping Pradosh Vrat also corrects the moon’s placement in a Janam kundli. This, in turn, improves health, finances, relationship and work status. Its benefits are not just restricted to the influence of the Moon on human life but to the removal of other planets’ malefic effects too. It is also believed to help resolve marital disputes and suffering. People with major health issues and huge debt are also benefited. Based on Shiva Purana, it also benefits those who are seeking a child, money or dhan and career desires. It is also advised to chant Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra 108 times in front of the Shivlinga or Shiva’s shrine as it is said to fulfil all your desires and spiritual alignment. Such is the importance of Pradosh Vrat.
Pardosh Vrat Mythology is also famously known as Pradosh Vrat Katha. It takes us to the famous story of “Samudra Mathan” or “Churning of the sea”. The holy Skanda Purana mentions all the Gods and Demons or Devas and Asuras who churned the sea (Samundra Manthan) for Amrit to attain immortality. This was done with the help of the serpent, Vasuki. As a result, poison from the body of Vasuki got scattered in the sea. To save the universe from destruction, Lord Shiva came and drank the whole poison. This day was marked as Pradosh.
Pradosh Vrat, or fast, is done in two ways, as mentioned in the Hindu Calendar and associated sacred texts. Any method based on your health and capacity can be selected. A priest or pandit can advise you on the best way in this aspect.
One popular Pradosh Vrat Vidhi is to stay up the whole night and just pray to Lord Mahadev or Shiva. This also includes a 24-hour vrat or fast. You break your fast the next day in the morning after taking a bath.
The second way and an easier one is to be on fruits from the morning till evening. And after attaining the aarti in the Pradosh Kaal time ( 90 minutes before sunset to 60 minutes after), you can complete your fasting schedule by eating the Prashad and later with cooked food and water.
Also, depending on the location of your place, Pradosh Kaal meaning and significance has to be kept in mind. It is a duration when Lord Shiva is considered to emerge from his throne and perform yoga poses, and hence doing offerings and puja during this duration pleases him the most.
Based on different days of the week, a Pradosh Vrat is classified into the following types:
Pradosh Vrat is a significant Hindu festival that is observed with great devotion and piety by millions of devotees across the world. By performing the fast and puja, doing Daan or charity, one can receive the prayers of Lord Shiva and attain peace, happiness, and spiritual fulfilment. One must definitely experience the divinity of this ritual at least once in their life if not yet tried.