Significance of Shravan month
Shravan maas is most auspicious for spiritual activities. Devotees perform many spiritual and devotional activities during this holy month. The literal meaning of the word "Shravan" means "to hear". It is said that during this pious month, all devotees should listen to religious and spiritual discourse, noble words and sermons. Shravan month is the month of Shiva. Shiva had consumed poison during this month when poison emerged from the ocean while it was churned by Gods and demons. The understanding was that whatever comes out during the churning of the ocean, will be equally shared between Gods and demons — but none of them agreed to accept the poison.
When neither Gods nor demons were prepared to accept this poison, they decided to throw it away, but lord Shiva prevented them, saying that if the poison was thrown away, the world would be destroyed. So eventually, to save the world, Shiva himself consumed it. The poison was held by Shiva in his throat, if it went down into his stomach, he would have died and if it was thrown out, the universe would get destroyed. So he had to hold it in his throat and because of this, his throat turned blue in colour. From then onwards, he was also called by the name “Neelkanth”, meaning blue throat.
All the Gods thereafter started offering the Ganges’ water to Lord Shiva to lessen the effect of the poison. Since this happened in the month of Shravan, Shiva’s devotees also offer the Ganges’ water to Lord Shiva in this month. Spiritually, the churning of the ocean indicates contemplation of the mind and when the mind is contemplated upon, then all the past incidents buried inside the subconscious mind surface onto the conscious mind. The most dangerous of all that surfaces from deep in the subconscious mind is the negativity and negative impressions such as hatred, anger, greed, jealousy, enmity, etc. These denote the poison that emerged from the churning of the ocean.
Lord Shiva, who held the poison in his throat, indicates that we should also not spit these negativities on others nor allow them to go down deep within us. We should hold them at a safe place within us for some time such that they neither affect us nor destroy others, and at the earliest opportunity neutralise these negativities through positive emotions. Let’s cleanse the mind during this month through positive emotions and spiritual practices such as meditation, contemplation, offering unconditional love, compassion, gratitude, selfless service and surrender of the ego at the feet of the Lord.