Etymology of Pradosha - Pradosha is the son of Kalpa and Dosha. He had two brothers namely Nishita and Vyustha. The three names mean beginning, middle and end of night. The day from new moon day to full moon day is called "Sukla Paksha" and days from every full moon day to new moon day are called "Krishna Paksha". During every month and during every Paksha, the point of time when Triyodashi (13th day of the fortnight) meets the end of Dwadasi (12th day of fortnight) is called Pradosha. During Pradosha, Nandi (the sacred bull of Shiva) in all the Shiva temples in South India is worshipped. The festival idol of Shiva with Parvathi in a seated pose on Nandi is taken as a procession in the temple complex.
The Story of Pradosham
Once upon a time the angels ( Indra and his subordinates) were cursed that their colour would change and they would become demons. therefore they ran to seek refuge from Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu asked them to churn the milk ocean (paal kadal/ milky way). The magical snake Vasuki (King of serpants) volunteered to serve as a rope to churn Mount Mandrachala also known as Mount Meru.
The angels pulled from the snake's tail and demons pulled from the snake's head. They worked very hard and were rewarded with many gifts that emerged from the ocean, including Archetypal Being Lakshmi. Eventually the elixir emerged. However, fate turned the moment of victory into a terrible disaster.
The snake was in so much pain from the constant pulling that it vomited poison just as the elixir emerged. The elixir and the entire area started burning from the poison. No one was able to stop the destruction so the angels and demons prayed for help.
The story continues that Shiva heard their prayers, gathered up the poison and swallowed it, saving the elixir along with everyone and everything. The poison only traveled half-way down Shiva's throat - right where most men have their Adam's Apple. His throat turned blue around the poison, as a reminder of what happened.
For this reason, one of Shiva's names is Neela Kantam, or One with a Blue Throat.
When does Pradosham Occur?
All Pradoshams occur between 1-1/2 hours before and right up until the moment of sunset in the time zone where you are physically. The smaller energy level Pradoshams occur every day during this time.
The middle energy level Pradoshams occur twice each month - on the 13th moon day after the New Moon and after the Full Moon. To determine on which days these Pradoshams occur, begin your count on the actual New Moon or Full Moon day and count that day as "1". Continue the count until you reach "13".
If you are counting from the Full Moon, Pradosham will normally occur two days before the next New Moon, and if you are counting from the New Moon Pradosham will normally occur two days before the next Full Moon.
The larger energy level Pradosham occurs when one of the 13th moon days occurs on a Saturday. The planet Saturn is considered an Archetypal Agent of Karma who delivers many of life's tougher lessons to help us refine and evolve their souls. On a Saturday Pradosham it is believed that the Archetypal Being Shiva has more influence over Saturn and can cause Saturn to loosen or release entirely some of the karmic bonds that limit us.
The evening of Travodasi i.e. the 13th day between 4.30 p.m and 6 p.m is Pradosham. Whatever sins we have comitted will be forgiven by Lord Shiva if we pray wholeheartedly. We can pray to god by performing Abhishegam.
The twilight is the time of Shiva when he absorbs the day and night, good and evil and all opposites into onenesss. This time of transition is also one of transcendence.
Pradosham timings provide the ideal opportunity to dissolve karma. Be in a meditative mode during Pradosham time and use the powerful chant "Thiru Neela Kandan". If you are unable to do that then chant and write "Om Namashivaya" 108 times to receive Lord Shva's blesssings.
Saturn is one of the most powerful Planets. He moves slowly through the zodiac, 2-1/2 years per sign, so his influence is felt very keenly. Saturn's grace creates Kings from paupers and vice versa. Because Saturday is the day ruled by Saturn, and Saturn is a form of Shiva, when Pradosham falls on a Saturday the rituals done to remove karma and receive Saturn's grace are greatly amplified.
One of the names of Lord Shiva is Soma, Lord Someshvara, who has placed the Crescent (the Moon / the Soma) in his matted hair. Somavara (Mondays) are very auspicious for Lord Shiva. Moreover Soma means – Saha Uma (Goddess Parvathi). Mondays are not only for Lord Shiva but also very auspicious for Goddess Parvathi. Hence offering poojas on Pradosham’s occurring on Mondays not only helps you in gaining the abundant blessings of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi but also enables one to negate the malefic effects caused by Chandra Dosha (afflictions caused by the Moon). Another fierce form of Shiva is Rudra. Rudra's grace can eliminate disease, enemies, and destructive negative influences from within and without. As a form of Shiva, the rituals done on a Saturday Pradosham or Monday Pradosham are also extremely auspicious for Rudra (Lord Shiva).
Circumbulation during Pradosham.
*After completing the circumbulation it is advisable to whisper your wish in Nandhi's (Lord Shiva's vaahana) ears. It is believed that Nandhi will directly take your wish to the Lord.
NOTE: makesure you close his left year when you whisper in His ears.
· Nandikesa Maha Bhaga, Shiva dhyana parayana,
Gowri sankara sevartham Anugnam dathumarhasi||
Oh Lord Nandi who is Lord of all bulls,
Who is immersed in prayer of Shiva,
Please give me permission,
To worship Lord Sankara with his consort Gowri.