Pradosham literally means “Removal of Sins”. Pradosham is a vital Power Window occurring during the 13th Phase of the Moon. It is the 1.5 hours before Sunset on the 13th Moon Phase, which occurs twice every month. Sometimes it can occur three times also depending upon the Thithi. For example, Pradosham occurs on three days 1st, 15th and 30th of July 2023. According to Vedic timekeeping procedures, Thithi is a Lunar day. It is also the time taken by the Longitudinal Angle between Moon and the Sun to increase by 12 degrees. The exact dates on a calendar can change one or two days here and there. Today, 4th of Jan 2023 is a Pradosham day.
Pradosham is also known as “Evening” which happens every day but the Pradosham time on the Triodashi (13th) day is considered very auspicious. It is closely connected with Lord Shiva. Hence observing Pradosha Vratam and performing Pradosha Pooja is considered as a very good practice to please Lord Shiva like the Maha Shivaratri. Pradosham on the Krishna Paksha Triodashi (which falls on dark fortnight or the Triodashi before Amavasi) is auspicious. If the Pradosham falls on a Saturday, it is called as “Shani Pradosham” which is more auspecious. As Pradosham means removal of sins, performing the Pradosha Pooja gives a time window and opportunity to remove one’s Karma Dosha (Sins).
The Devas and Asuras remained enemies throughout, with Devas gaining support from the Trinity – Maha Dev (Lord Shiv), Maha Vishnu and Brahma – and occupying the Deva Loka. The universe was also under the control of Devas. Asuras were denied all good things that Devas were enjoying and they fought with Devas on many occasions to capture the Deva Loka. Lord Shiva was always considerate to the Asuras and he wanted to end the enmity between Devas and Asuras.
Once the Trinity, the Devas and the Universe lost all the wealth and prosperity due to a Curse on Indra Dev by the Saint Durvasa. To regain the wealth and prosperity as well as ending the enmity between Devas and Asuras, Maha Dev (Lord Shiv) suggested to churn the Milky Ocean (Palazhy). Either Devas or Asuras could not do that on their own but they had to work together. The great Serpent Vasuki was used as a Rope and the great Mountain Manthara was used as the Churner. Team Devas caught the tail end of Vasuki and Asuras the head. The churning started.
Churning of Palazhy
During the churning of Palazhy, various celestial objects emerged out of the Ocean. Once Vasuki started spitting poison which fell into the Ocean and both Asuras and Devas were in trouble unable to continue the churning. At a point when it was absolutely uncontrollable, Maha Dev intervened and drank the poison. But Devi Parvati stopped the poison from going down by holding Maha Dev’s neck with her hands. It got solidified there and his neck turned blue in colour. Thus he saved the entire universe, Devas and Asuras and got a name “NeelaKanth” meaning Blue Necked. It is believed that Maha Dev drank poison on the Triodashi day and specifically on a Saturday just before sunset. All started praising Maha Dev for saving their lives. From then onwards, doing Pradosha Pooja and worshipping Maha Dev is considered very auspecious to get rid of all sins on one’s life.
Benefits of Pradosha Pooja
It is believed that Worshipping Lord Shiva along with Rishabha (Nandi) during the Pradosham time will provide immense benefits. Belief is that it gives the person relief from diseases, mental imbalance, fear of death and removes all his/her sins. It is also believed that the devotees will be uplifted from poverty, fulfilling all their wishes. The Pradosha pooja is normally performed by observing the Pradosha Vrat (fasting, worshipping and visiting Shiva Temple).