Though all Mondays are considered as the day of Shiva, Monday’s in Karthika masam is special according to the Skanda puranam. One of the name of Lord shiva is Soma, the Lord Someshvara, Who wears the soma, the moon crescent on the matted hair.
The normal process of Karthika Somavara Vratham would be to fast for the whole day, perform the Rudra Abhishekam by chanting the Rudra Namakam and Rudra Chamakam. Then eat after seeing the stars.
One who observes this vratam would get to enjoy many pleasures in this world and finally would reach the Kailasham. It is said that The moon has observed this Vratam and got his “moonness”. He saluted the Lord Gauri and Shankara and requested that this Vratam be called “Somavara Vratam” (One of the names of the moon is soma. One of the name of Lord shiva with goddess umA is also soma) and whoever follows this Vratam should get their wishes materialised by the grace of the Lord and finally should get the liberation and God granted his boon.
Long ago a princess called Seemanthini was observing this Vratam regularly. Then two young boys cunningly came as if they were a married couple. The princess worshiped them. The young boys really became male and female couple. The austerous sage Vasishta got the chaste Arundhathi as his wife. One gets blessed by the shiva-shakti on observing this vratam sincerely.
Performing of Ekadasa Rudra Abhishekam
It is considered auspicious to perform “Ekadasa Rudrabhishekam” on Karthika Mondays. Hence many Devotees of Lord Shiva would perform the Ekadasa Rudra Abhishekam, throng the temple who cannot perform them at home. All the Shiva temples do the “Rudra Abhishekam”.
Deepa Daan (offering lamps)
Worship the Lord by offering lamps (diyas), flowers, incense, food, etc. Lighting a diya before the Lord is called as “deep-daan” and affords immense religious merits when performed during the Karthika month.
In the Padma Purana, Karthika Mahatmya, there is a very famous story of a mouse.
In a temple of Lord Vishnu, there was a mouse who used to eat the ghee from the extinguished ghee lamps which had been offered by devotees to Him. One day when she felt hungry to eat ghee, she tried to eat the ghee from a lamp which was not yet extinguished. While eating ghee from the lamp, the cotton wick got stuck in her teeth. Since the ghee wick had a flame, the mouse started jumping in front of the Lord’s Deity form and thus died due to fire. But Lord Sri Vishnu accepted the jumping of that mouse with a lit ghee wick in her mouth as His aarti. In the end, He gave her liberation, the highest destination.
If somebody burns a lamp in the temple of Lord Shri Hari even for a short time (in the month of Karthika), then whatever sins, he has acquired for millions of kalpas (one kalpa equals 1000 yugas) are all destroyed.”
Hence Of all gifts, the gift of a lamp during the month of Karthika is the best. No gift is its equal.”
The Pushkar Puran states, “The person who lights the lamp of sesame (til) oil in the name of Lord Shri Hari in the month of Karthika (during Sandhya) gets unlimited prosperity, beauty, blessedness and wealth.”
Introduction to Karthigai Somavaram
Karthigai Somavaram refers to the Mondays in the Tamil month of Karthigai (mid-Nov to mid-Dec). These days are considered highly auspicious to connect with Lord Shiva and gain his graceful blessings to absolve your sins and attain transcendental bliss.
Significance of Karthigai Somavaram
It is believed that Lord Shiva’s energies are available in abundance during the Karthigai month. According to sacred texts, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of infinite fire during this month. Also, Moon has a special association with Shiva, whose matted hair he adorns. Moon is the ruling planet of Mondays, and since Mondays are also auspicious for Lord Shiva, Karthigai Mondays are highly revered for the worship of the Supreme Lord.
Mythology behind Karthigai Somavaram
According to legend, Chandra (Moon) was cursed by King Daksha, as he did not treat his 27 wives (Daksha’s daughters) equally and hence his powers and luster began to fade. When he was in the last waning stage, he ardently prayed to Lord Shiva to save him. Pleased with his prayers, Shiva relieved him from the curse and placed him on his head as a crescent moon. Lord Shiva, with the crescent moon adorning his head, is called “Chandramouleeswarar” or “Someshwara.” It is believed that Chandra was blessed with this boon by Lord Shiva on a Monday in Karthigai month. Hence, Mondays of Karthigai month are ideal to worship and receive blessings from Lord Shiva.
Rituals of Karthigai Somavaram Vrat (Fasting)
Most Shiva devotees observe Karthigai Somavaram Vrat (fasting) and perform special Poojas for Lord Shiva on all Mondays. Fasting is begun in the early morning and is broken with the sighting of the moon. Through the day, devotees chant Shiva mantras including ‘Panchakshari mantra’ and other prayers praising Lord Shiva. Cooked rice and flowers are offered to Lord Shiva. It is highly believed that this rigorous worship on Mondays will please Lord Shiva who would grant all your earnest wishes.
Performing Archana (Pooja) with Vilva leaves to Lord Shiva on Karthigai Somavaram is believed to promote mental strength and clarity. Since Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a ferocious fire during this month, Sangu Abishekam (hydration Pooja with conch shells) is widely performed in all Shiva temples, to cool him down and receive his abundant blessings.
Benefits of Observing Karthigai Somavaram Vrat
Appeasing Lord Shiva on the auspicious Karthigai Somavaram days and observing Vrat (fasting) can bless you with the following benefits:
1. Beget a good spouse and longevity of husband
2. Blessing of sound health, wealth and prosperity
3. Enjoy a debt-free life
4. Peaceful personal and professional lives
5. Absolve sins, and help attain inner peace, and moksha (salvation)