What is Pradosham?
At a cosmic level, Pradosham is the time when the entire cosmos goes through a dissolution process, and Siva performs his beautiful dance activating the energies of transformation that lie hidden within the chaotic cosmos.
When can we observe Pradosham?
This cosmic event also takes place at a miniature level every day during the period an hour and a half before sunset until sunset itself in the local area. This is commonly called a daily Pradosham.
As the Sun sets over the horizon, a doorway opens into the inner worlds. There is a natural stillness that can be felt during daily Pradosham.
In addition, the daily Pradosham is especially powerful during a 13th Moon phase (called Trayodashi in Sanskrit), and this is when special rituals and practices are often performed. Doing karma-busting rituals or mantras anytime during the hour and a half before sunset until sunset itself during a 13th Moon phase is very effective.
This form of Pradosham, when the Moon is in 13th phase at sunset in the local area, usually occurs twice each month.
There is a 13th Moon during the Moon’s Waxing phase (called Shukla Paksha in Sanskrit) when the Moon is growing brighter. There is also a 13th Moon during the Moon’s Waning phase (called Krishna Paksha in Sanskrit) when the Moon is becoming darker.
How to observe a Pradosham?
Chanting karma-busting mantras such as Thiru Neela Kantam or Thiru Neela Kantam Makaral Sivayanama during Pradosham time amplifies the power of those sounds to dissolve negative karma. Doing these mantras either alone or in a group during 13th Moon Pradosham is an excellent practice.
Other practices such as offering prayers to Siva and performing rituals like abhishekam (ritual hydration ceremony) and archana (offering flowers with mantras) are very effective in speeding up positive transformation and spiritual evolution. Some people participate in Pradosham rituals at their local temple or other community gathering.
Some people pour water and then milk over a Siva lingam at home while chanting mantras. They may also pour sweet juice, yogurt and/or honey over the lingam as well, rinsing it off with water between each ingredient. Light, incense, flowers, bilva leaves and small fruit such as a raisin can be offered as well. Note: If a person does not have a Siva lingam, a smooth, small stone can be used instead.
Some people fast during Pradosham to purify the physical body of negative vibrations and to discipline the mind for spiritual growth. It is recommended that people wishing to fast consult their medical advisor to ensure this is suitable for them.
What are the benefits of observing Pradosham?
The 13th Moon Pradosham has mystical powers to share the compassionate grace of Lord Siva for dissolving negative karma. This is a time when Siva descends onto the Earth plane and into the consciousness of receptive people to give them blessings that can relieve suffering of people on Earth. Earnest prayers to Siva during Pradosham help clear negative energies. Pradosham practices can improve life in the areas of health, finances and relationships.
What mythology relates the importance of Pradosham?
According to Hindu mythology, once the Devas (Angels), Yakshas (Nature Spirits), Maharishis (Sages) and other divine beings were threatened with imminent death on a 13th Moon phase. In utter desperation to save their lives, they sought refuge and protection of the most compassionate and powerful Lord Siva. Siva gave them protection and also a new lease of life during a window of time that came to be known as Pradosham.
Background: The Puranas (ancient sacred texts) relate the story of churning of the Milky Ocean by the Devas (Angels) and the Asuras (Demons) to obtain an elixir of immortality (Amrita). The churning stick was Mount Meru, and the snake Vasuki served as the rope for the churning.
The Angels held the tail side of the snake, and the demons pulled the side of the snake with the head as they churned the Milky Ocean. But the snake Vasuki was unable to bear the pain of being pulled in opposite directions. He began to spew life-threatening venom which could ruin the elixir of immortality.
Upon witnessing this, both the Angels and Demons fled to save their lives and took refuge under Lord Siva.
Siva, in an act of infinite compassion, drank the poison to save the Universe. However, under the assumption that this action would kill Siva, Parvati, Siva's wife, stopped the poison from flowing down his throat. As the poison solidified in Siva’s throat, his throat turned blue in color from the effect of the venom. This is why Siva came to be called Neela Kantam (the one with a blue throat).
Siva's drinking of this poison is a cosmic event that symbolizes the dissolution of bad karma and negative thoughts within us as well as the world.
Siva then performed his dance on the head of the Nandi Bull, between Nandi’s two horns. During every Pradosham time Siva performs this dance and activates energies of transformation.
Taking advantage of Pradosham time to dissolve bad karma and negative thoughts is highly recommended for everyone. It is important to become conscious of the daily timing of sunset in the local area as well as pay attention to when the Moon is in 13th phase.