The significance of Somvati Amavasya was narrated to the eldest Pandava by Bhishma Pitamaha in the epic Mahabharata. It is believed that we can bring peace to our ancestors’ souls by taking a holy dip in the sacred river Ganga on this day. The holy dip washes away all our sorrows and helps us progress and prosper.
The Peepal tree is considered a sacred tree as per Indian traditions and on the auspicious day of Somvati Amavasya, women tie a sacred thread around its trunk 108 times. A parikrama around the tree is also performed 108 times, with offerings of milk, sandal-paste, flowers and vermillion being offered. Devotees sit under the peepal tree and chant mantras to please the Almighty.
The Legend of Somvati Amavasya
Like most festivlas in our country, there’s a legend associated with Somvati Amavasya also. Once upon a time, there lived a money-lender who had seven sons and one daughter. He married all his sons but could not find a suitable match for his daughter.
A monk visited their house regularly and blessed the money-lender’s daughters-in-law, but never blessed the daughter. The daughter told her mother about this and she confronted the monk with this question. The monk replied and left quietly. This really worried the mother and she called a Pandit.
The Pandit told her that her daughter was destined to become a widow. The girl’s mother then asked the Pandit for a solution to the problem. He replied that there was a washerwoman who lived on the island of Singhal. If that woman agreed to apply vermilion (sindoor) on the forehead of the girl, her fate would change. The Pandit also told them that observing the fast of Somvati Amavasya would also be instrumental in reversing her fate.
The mother then sent her daughter and her youngest son to that island. Of course, a sea lay in the path of their progress towards the island. They wondered how to cross it. As they sat under a tree, they spotted a vulture’s nest. A male and female vulture lived there with their babies. When both vultures had flown out of their nest to fetch some food, a snake entered their nest and attacked the babies. All this was being witnessed by the girl sitting there. She immediately jumped to save the vulture babies from the attack.
When the vultures returned, they were really pleased to know what had just happened. As a token of their gratitude, they helped the girl reach the washerwoman’s house. After reaching her destination, she started living with the washerwoman.
After a few months, the woman was really pleased with the girl and applied vermilion (sindoor) on her forehead. While returning back to her house she also observed Somvati Amavasya. This reversed her fate and then she lived a happy married life with her husband.
Spiritual importance of Somvati Amavasya
The darkness of Somvati Amavasya transcends into a beautiful morning, which gives us hope that all our sorrows will go away. It also signifies that only after absolute darkness, comes a light, which means that absolute despair gives birth to extreme happiness and bliss. Therefore, we should not be afraid of the dark and be ready to face all the troubles that come our way.
Freedom from Pitra Dosha
It is believed that on this day, married women fast, praying for the long life of their husbands. They take a holy dip in the Ganga and pray to the Almighty. Lord Shiva is worshipped on this day by all the Hindu married women. This day is also very auspicious for performing Pitra Tarpan (offering to the ancestors) as it provides peace to their souls. People suffering from Pitra Dosh should also observe this fast as it frees them from it. It is believed that observing this helps us get rid of all the sorrows and problems…