By Swami Harshananda
The fourth month of the lunar calendar is called Āṣāḍha (June-July). In this month the full-moon is said to be near the constellation Āṣāḍhā.
The ekādaśī (11th day) of the bright fortnight of this month is christened ‘śayanī’ since it was believed that Lord Viṣṇu went to bed on this day, to wake up again on the ekādaśī of kārttika bright fortnight, called ‘prabodhinī or bodhinī.’ The legend of Viṣṇu’s going to bed for four months might be symbolic of the disappearance of the sun (who is also Viṣṇu) behind the clouds during the rainy season.
The deity Subrahmaṇya (also known as Saṇmukha and Skanda) is associated with this month. The sixth day of the bright fortnight called ‘Skandaṣasth' is an important festival observed especially in South India.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore