Pradosha Kaalam is that period of time during which Lord Shiva is known to have evolved out of His unsteady state (due to the effect of the poison he had consumed) and performing Ananda Thandava on top of his Rishabha Vahana (Sacred Nandi Bull). During this pradosha time, Lord Shiva is known to be in the most ecstatic of moods as he has been successful in saving mankind from the ill effects of the Poison 'hala'. His Ananda Thandava blesses all the three worlds and the Devathas in turn pray to him.
Lord Shiva is known to be very generous giving away Vardhan (boons), although, he would test his devotees to the core. To those devotees who pray to him during the Pradosha Kaalam, duly observing fast, performing puja, chanting of Rudram, visiting sacred places of interest, He brings prosperity and happiness in life.
Pradosha Kalam falls on the 13th lunar day of Trayodashee during the shukla and krishna pakshas, waxing and waning fortnights in the Hindu calendar months. If, the period between sunset to next sunrise is divided into 5 equal parts, the first part is called Pradosha Kalam and it denotes the end of day time and the beginning of night. This is also called the period of Asuras (Raaksha Neram). It is believed that each day of the week has different benefits during Pradosh time:
- Sunday (Bhaanu Vaara Pradosha)
- Peace to all (Mangalam to all)
- Monday (Indu Vaara Pradosha)
- Positive (perception) thinking
- Tuesday (Bhauma Vaara Pradosha)
- No Poverty (Prosperity to all)
- Wednesday (Saumya Vaara Pradosha)
- Blessings with progeny, Knowledge and education
- Thursday (Guru Vaara Pradosha)
- Divine blessings through the Pitru's, all dangers will be eliminated
- Friday (Bhrgu Vaara Pradosha)
- Nullifying (negativeness) opposition
- Saturday (Sthira Vaara Pradosha)
- Elevation (promotion) getting back the lost wealth
Mahaa Pradosh Kalam comes yearly during the month of Maagh/Maashi (U’ma’ +’Shi’Va) before Mahaa Shiv Raatri. If the Mahaa Pradosha comes on Saturday, it is called Shani Mahaa Pradosha. Saturday is the day when Lord Shiva swallowed poison and this is called Shani (Sthira in Samskritam) Pradosha. It is categorized into three categories of importance depending upon the month on which Pradosha falls:
- Uttama Sthira Pradosha - Maximum power - The Sthira Pradosha that comes during the months of Chaitra, Vaishaakh, Aashaadh and Kaartik during the Growing Lunar Cycle (Shukla Paksha), i.e from New to Full moon period.
- Madhyama Sthira Pradosha - Normal power - The Sthira Pradosha that comes during the months of Chaitra, Vaishaakh, Aashaadh and Kaartik during Diminishing Lunar Cycle (Krishn Paksha), ie Full to New moon period.
- Adhama Sthira Pradosha - Minimum power - All the other Sthira Pradosha. The Pradosh that falls on any Saturday is called MahaA Pradosha (Sthira Pradosh).
During Pradosha Kala, Lord Shiva is supposed to be very powerful and happy. Unlike normal days/times during Pradosha kalam, a special type of circumambulation called Soma-sUtra-pradakshiNam is practiced in Shiva temples. The importance of Soma-sUtra-pradakshiNam is that the gomukhi (place where the water after anointing - abhiSheka tIrtam- would be flowing northwards out) is never crossed during circumambulation of the Lord. By doing this way of pradakshiNam, one does not step over this holy water. The following order of Circumambulation is practiced for a single turn:
1)RiShabham-ChaNdIchar-RiShabham-Gomukhi 2)RiShabham-ChaNdIchar-Gomukhi 3)RiShabham-ChaNdIchar-RiShabham- RiShabham