Raghunandana sharma & Hunsur Sriprasad
When does pradosha happen? What is its significance?
The period between sunset and nightfall is called Pradosha in traditional literature and designated as a good time to perform religious and spiritual activities. At this time, it is said, that having completed their complete their taanDava nRutya (Cosmic dance) Rudra devaru (Lord Shiva) and Parvati devi visit Earth to inspect who is doing what. Devotees engaged in pious acts like meditation, chanting of mantras, singing of devotional songs etc quickly earn the grace of Rudra devaru and Parvati whereas those not doing so and indulging in activities like eating, unnecessary talking etc invite the demon Kali and his wife alakshmi into their house.
The duration after the pradosha period on a chaturdashi (the fourteenth day in the lunar calendar) has special significance and is called maasa Shivaratri. This has been identified as a very propitious time to acquire Rudra devaru’s grace through special worship.
Maadhvas and Rudra devaru
There is a very popular misconception that Maadhvas do not worship Rudra devaru (Shiva). This is totally wrong and is easily refuted by looking at the great amount of devotional literature created by maadhva ascetics, haridaasas and scholars idolizing Rudra devaru. He is accorded a very high place in the hierarchy of gods and worshipped as manobhimani (the patron deity who controls our mind and thinking). His grace is needed if we are to acquire right knowledge and proceed in the right path. He also blesses us with vairaagya (detachment) and keeps us away from the enticements of the material world. He is revered as a very great Vaishnava and the beloved pupil of Lord Vayu. His wife Parvati is revered as vaagdevate (the patron deity for speech). However, Maadhvas do not exceed the limit in this worship and treat Rudra devaru as paramaatma or parabrahma (the exalted Supreme Being), since this goes against the hierarchy enshrined in our holy scriptures. Another distinguishing feature is that their worship is directed towards Lord Sankarshana (or Lord Narasimha) enshrined within bhArati-ramaNa mukhyaprAna who is within Rudra devaru.
Click the below link to see the songs composed by Sri Sri Vadirajaru and Sri Vijaya Dasaru on Rudra devaru:-
The skaanda puraaNa says “maaghasya tvasitE vidyatE yaa chaturdashi tadraatri shivaraatri syaat sarvapaapapraNaashini” (the night of maagha Krishna Chaturdashi i.e, fourteenth day in the dark half of the lunar month of Maagha is Maha Shivaraatri, the destroyer of all sins). Skaanda puraaNa also describes the rituals to be followed in worshipping Rudra devaru that day. It says that performing worship during pradosha of this day to Lord Sankarshana enshrined within Rudra devaru is very beneficial and can destroy all sins. People are advised to chant pious stotras like the Vishnusahasranaama.
Can women chant Vishnusahasranaama?
This is a topic that is yet to be resolved by scholars and spiritual leaders. Deliberating on this topic endlessly will only result in a lot of disputes and unnecessary talk, the very things you are supposed to avoid! So instead of wasting time in debating this, people are advised to chant other equally potent mantras like Sri Krishnamantra, Sri Venkatesha stotra etc. People can also chant songs by renowned dasas and other devotional compositions like Harikathaamruta saara, Lakshmi Shobhaane etc and earn the grace of Rudra devaru. In addition, knowledgeable people can also chant Sri Rudra dvaadasha stotra, Sri Shiva stuti, Sri Laghu Shivastuti etc and earn the grace of Jayaapati Sankarshana enshrined within Rudra devaru.
— Courtesy of srsmutt.org site