Pradosh Vrat Katha

 
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Legend and Significance of the Fast

 
DuringSamudhraManthan (an elaborate process of churning the ocean to gain the elixir of life by both Gods and demons), one of the things that came out of the ocean was a poison, Halahala. It was so destructive that it could have ended the universe. To save the world, Shiva drank the poison and kept it in his throat (that is why Shiva given a name ) and he saved everyone. Every God thanked him on the thirteenth day. 
He was so happy and pleased by the devotion of his devotees that he danced with joy. 
This fast is observed to prove devotion and please Shiva. It is believed that when Shiva is extremely happy, he grants all the wishes and blesses everyone. The fast is also observed to obtain Moksha or salvation. 
 
 
Fast and its Ritual
 
People observe the fast in two different ways. On one hand, devotees who want to keep the 
fast for twenty-four hours do not sleep at night and keep on worshipping Shiva. On another hand, 
fast can be observed from morning till evening. People get up early in the morning and take a bath before sunrise. Then they either pray to Shiva in the form of a sacred pot, covered with grass and on which a picture of lotus is drawn. Or people can offer their devotion to a Shivling (a representation of Shiva) while visiting a temple. Prayers and hymns are sung in his honor and stories of his glory are also narrated. Parvati with her two sons, Ganapati (Remover of Obstacles) and Kartikeya , the mount of Shiva, a bull, is also prayed to. People then recite Mrityunjaya Mantra 108 times. It is known as the great death conquering mantra (a group of sacred words). 
 
 
Om TryambakamYajamaheSugandhimPust-Vardhanam
Urvarukam-ivaBandhananMrtyormuksiyaMamrtat
 
Continuous repetition of mantra,‘Om NamahShivaya’ is also very beneficial and results in spiritual upliftment and bliss. One can complete the fast by drinking the water used in the sacred pot for the rituals as Prasad 
(sacred water or food as a religious offering). Sacred ash is also distributed and is applied on the forehead by devotees. After sunset, one can consume vegetarian food.  
 
 
 

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