Pradosha Vrat tonight … so here’s a pretty aesthetic shot of the Shiva Temple at Kedarnath
Pradosh Vrat [literally ‘Evening Observance’ – ‘Vrata’, from the same root as our English ‘Word’, communicates the sense of a ‘Vow’, giving somebody your Word] is hailed as an ideal time to approach the Lord in supplication.
This is, we may say, an act of mythic emulation – as numerous are the occurrences within the canon of The Gods Themselves, both jointly or singly, carrying out such observances in the bids to win the Great God (Mahadeva)’s Favour and beseech Him for a Boon.
It occurs twice a (Lunar) month – on the Thirteenth (Trayodashi) Night of the cycle of each of the waxing and the waning phases of the Moon.
Upon these occasions, it is held to be highly auspicious to engage in pious conduct for Lord Shiva during the relevant Sunset phase of the evening. Here in New Zealand, that’s from roughly 20:51 to 22:37 [Other parts of the world shall have different timings based on when Sunset is wherever you are – you can check this via a Hindu astrological calendrical site like Drik Panchang]
I myself will be endeavouring to put that fine Bana-Lingam to use [a Shaivite altar-stone of meteoric iron and river-carved rock that has both Shiva and His Shakti, His Wife], conducting the Milk libations in a basic format whilst chanting mantras, and accompanying this by singing appropriate Shaivite Hymnals.
There is also a quantity of Coconut Barfi that shall be being offered (as Naivedyam – Food Offering), and of course we shall be lighting Dhupa (Incense) and Diya (Lights / Lamps – from same root as ‘Dyaus’, ‘Day’) – I may even finally get the hang of the Sandalwood paste offering !
If you don’t have these elements – a ShivLing, a Murti of Mahadev, etc. and other ritual accompaniments aforementioned – then it is still possible to carry out smaller acts of piety which might find some favour with the Lord.
After all – He is Bholenath [‘Natha’ – Lord; ‘Bhole’ – ‘Simple / Innocent’] : a theonymic which directly connotes His being pleased with even the ‘simpler’ acts of devotion.
ॐ नमः शिवाय