24. Pradosha Vrata - 3.

    One who takes this Vrata fasts on that day, and keeps vigil at night after the fast is over.

Bathing an hour before sunset,

the worshipper first performs a preliminary worship of Lord Shiva,

together with all the others of His divine family, namely, Parvati, Ganesha, Skanda and Nandi.

After the worship of Ganesha, Lord Shiva is invoked in the special kalasha placed on a square mandala with a lotus drawn in it and spread over with darbha grass.

 After the formal worship has been completed, a Pradosha story is read and heard by the devotees.

This is followed by the recitation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra 108 times.

In the end the sacred kalasha water is partaken of, the sacred ash is applied to the forehead,

and the water which was used to bathe the Lord, is drunk.

A gift of a pot, a cloth and an image of the Lord is given to a Brahmin to conclude the worship.

    A very important point to be remembered in this connection is that during this auspicious period all the hosts of celestial beings and gods come down from the heavens and attend the worship in their subtle forms.

This adds immensely to the sanctity of the worship.

Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  .....

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