In this Auspicious Shravan Month (Sawan Maas), Shiva Puja is done all over India.
The mythologies says that when the churning, Samudra Manthan of the milk ocean by both demigods (deity) and demons using Mount Mandaranchal kept the mountain on the shell of Lord Vishnu in his tortoise incarnation used as churning rod and Vasuki, the king of Nagas as rope, took place in the month of Shrawan for the nectar of immortality, Amrita.
During the pastime of churning of ocean, fourteen different rabies (gems) came out (produced) from the ocean including POISON and except poison thirteen rabies were divided between the demigods and demons but mostly received by the demigods.
A pot of poison called Halahala, or ‘kalakuta’ was amongst fourteen rabies received from the churning of ocean. The poison was so terrified that both the demigods and demons (asuras) because of its toxoid nature which could wipe out the entire manifest creation, negated to take it.
The demigods on advice of Lord Vishnu approached and requested Lord Shiva for their help, and rescue (protect) them by drinking the poison. Lord Shiva out of compassion for living entities drank the poison even after alarming by Goddess Parvati. Goddess Parvati stopped drunken poison only in the throat of Lord Shiva which earned Lord Shiva also the name of Vishkantha (the one who held the toxic and terrified poison in his throat). Since the drunken poison was also so intoxicating and changed the color of lord Shiva’s neck to blue, Lord Shiva is also called NEELKANTHA (the blue necked)
To reduce the sturdy effect of the poison, Lord Shiva wore the crescent moon on his left side of the head and all the Gods thereafter started offered sacred water of holy river Ganges to cool Lord Shiva alleviate the ill effect of the poison.
Since all this happened in the month of Shrawan it is believed that since then Lord Shiva devotees (KANWARIAS) travels to the origin of Ganga river and collect and carries the holy Ganges water and offer on the head of Lord Shiva (SHIVALINGA) in the month af Shrawan month and Shrawan month considered as most auspicious month for worship.
Author: Shambhu Nath Drolia