MAHA SHIVARATRI – மஹா சிவராத்திரி
Maha Shivaratri is the annual Hindu festival that is celebrated to honor Lord shiva in remembrance of overcoming darkness and ignorance in life and the world. This maha Shivaratri is known as the “The great night of Shiva” and the night of awakening for receiving the auspicious blessing of Lord Shiva’s abundance grace. It is considered the bright night of the soul and mind.
This huge divine night of Maha Shivaratri is important to push a soul to its spiritual peak and naturally upgrade and enhance the energies around the place. This is the grand Saivism festival celebrated all over the Hindu lands. In general, Shivaratri happens every month, but this Maha Shivaratri happens only once a year.
When Maha-Shivaratri Is Celebrated?
The Chaturdashi tithi of Krishna paksha in the Phalguna of the Hindu calendar. In the lunisolar month(during Feb-march of English month), the 13th or 14th night of the waning moon(before the new moon day) is observed as the divine night of Maha Shivaratri. This Maha Shivaratri festival is celebrated for about 3 to 10 days. Unless the common festivals are celebrated in the daytime, this Maha Shivaratri is celebrated during the nighttime.
Stories Behind Maha Shivaratri:
Maha Shivaratri is the most auspicious day of Lord Shiva with more spiritual significance and various legends or stories behind it. Those stories behind this holy day of Maha Shivaratri are as follows;
Maha Shivaratri Story 1:
Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati Wedding:
Maha Shivaratri is considered as the holy day in Shaivism, where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married to each other. This maha Shivaratri is known as the sacred union between Lord Shiva(god of destruction)and Parvati Devi(goddess of fertility). Lord Shiva and Shakti are the two major factors of the universe and this Maha Shivaratri is the day to celebrate their divine union.
Maha Shivaratri Story 2:
The emergence of Shiva linga:
According to shiva puranam, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu were fidgeting to show their dominance and superiority over each other. Meanwhile, lord Shiva intervened between the fight and took the form of fire flame, and asked the other two gods to find out the top and end of the flame. Lord Brahma took the form of a swan in search of top and Lord Vishnu took the form of Varaha(boar) in search of the end.
As they failed to find the top and end Lord shiva proved his overall supremacy in the form of Linga( an aniconic representation of lord Shiva). The formless Sadashiv have originated and appeared in a lingodbhava moorthi form in this Maha Shivaratri day. Hence Mahashivaratri signifies and celebrates the emergence of Shiva linga.
Maha Shivaratri Story 3:
The Story of Neelakanth:
This maha Shivaratri indicated the incidence where Lord Shiva drank the poison to save the universe. During the process of Samudra Manthan (the churning of the ocean) to obtain the amirtham, the devas and asuras found various precious things coming out of it and this halahala poison is one among them.
To save the universe from getting affected out of this poison Lord shiva drank it and it turned his neck into blue color getting the name Neelakanth. To prevent the poison affecting lord shiva he was made to stay awake the whole night by performing various dances and rituals. To honor the savior of the universe this Maha Shivaratri is celebrated.
Maha Shivaratri Story 4:
Maha Shivaratri and the Hunter:
A tribal devotee or hunter in the forest climbed over a bilva tree (bhel tree or wood apple tree) to safeguard from the wild animals during night time, after getting tired of not getting any animal to be hunted. Hence to stay awake during the night he started dropping the bilva leaves on the lingam (the origin of Nightlong vigil) from the tree to the ground without the knowledge of a shiva linga which is already present beneath the tree.
Pleased by the patience and offerings of the hunter, Lord Shiva appeared before him and blessed him with wisdom and abundance. Thus this night is the remembrance to celebrate Mahashivaratri.
Maha Shivaratri Story 5:
The cosmic dance of Lord Shiva:
This Mahashivaratri is considered as the day where Lord Shiva performs his heavenly dance of creation, protection, and destruction. On this day the devotees of Lord Shiva chant various songs, hymns, mantras, read the scriptures on lord shiva, and join with his cosmic dance. Maha Shivaratri marks the day for divine dance where lord shiva performs his divine dance of tandava and lasya which marks as an important dance form in classical dance (Bharatanatyam) and it is performed to honor Lord Shiva on this auspicious day.
Maha-Shivaratri Story 6:
The awakening of Adiyogi:
This Maha Shivaratri is an auspicious day that denotes the awakening of his eternal consciousness and highly vibing meditating level. The Adi yogi or first yogi is considered as the first and foremost guru who is known as the source of yoga or the originator of yoga and passed the knowledge of yoga.
Importance Of Maha Shivaratri:
The main significance of this Maha Shivaratri day is to access the energy of Lord Shiva to receive his blessings to remove all the karma, past life sins, acquire immense knowledge power, remove obstacles and attain the salvation of life. On this day it helps to detoxify the body, control the restless mind to bring benevolence, spiritual growth, nurture energy to the body, mind, and soul which provides new life and new opportunities.
Benefits Of Maha Shivaratri Worshipping:
By worshipping Lord Shiva will provide us with immense grace and blessings to get over the past sins and restart the life’s path reaching towards liberation. The various benefits of praying and worshipping Lord Shiva on this Maha Shivaratri festival are as follows;
- To get the blessings of Lord Shiva to lead a peaceful and happy life.
- To obtain benevolence and prosperity in life as a whole.
- To gain a long and blissful marriage life for unmarried persons.
- To enhance the spiritual growth in mind.
- To derive the material attainment of an individual.
- To increase and maximize positive vibrations.
- To destroy the bad vibes, evil eyes, past life karma, and get rid of sins.
- To the fulfillment of wishes and satisfy all the desires.
- To attain salvation and reach the divine feet of Lord Shiva.
- To provide peace of mind and attain higher consciousness.
RITUALS OF MAHASHIVARATRI:
This Maha Shivaratri is a divine holy day to honor the remembrance of Lord Shiva to enhance the ethics, virtues, honesty, and non-injury to others, charity, forgiveness, peace for mind, body, and soul. This day of Maha Shivaratri helps us to know about one’s self for self-realization, social harmony, and uninterrupted focus. Various traditional rituals are followed to celebrate the Shiva tattva.
- Pure Prayers
- Wholehearted Chants
- Undergo Meditation
- Observe Fasting
- Awake all long night
- Visit Shiva temples
- Attending pooja and worships
- Pilgrimage to devotional places of Lord Shiva
- Jagran- All-night vigil (songs, dance, bhajans, rituals, pujas, etc.)
In Hindu Shiva temples all these rituals are followed in a grand manner, where Natyanjali- The annual dance festival to worship Lord Shiva in the form of dance is performed. Besides the prayer process called Girivalam (a divine walk around the hills where lord shiva resides) by lighting the huge lamp is followed as an ancient tradition.
FASTING METHODS OF MAHA SHIVARATHRI :
The process of fasting on this holy divine day of Maha Shivaratri will be started from the day before dawn, continues over day and night, and concludes on the next day. It will be decided depending on the good time according to the Panchangam.
- Start the fasting process by waking up early in the morning.
- Take a holy bath in any of the sacred holy rivers to remove all impurities.
- With pure bliss wear new clean clothes and visit any of the nearest Lord Shiva temples.
- Do attend and perform Shiva puja by offering milk to shiva lingam.
- Provide other pooja products like honey, fragrance materials, flower, clothes, pooja materials, and chant divine Shiva mantras.
- Decorate the holy deity or idol with turmeric, sandalwood paste, kumkum, Bilva leaves, flowers, incense sticks, temple bell sounds, and prayers.
- The pooja for Lord shiva deity is done once for every 3 hours and divided into 4 to 6 parts
- The process of fasting has two types such as strong fasting, which denies food, drinks, and water whereas mild fasting includes the intake of only a limited amount of milk, water, and fruits.
All these steps of fasting will doubly be beneficial only along with the presence of night-long vigil and not without it on Maha Shivaratri.
Benefits Of Fasting On Maha Shivaratri:
By undergoing the fasting process on this auspicious day of Maha Shivaratri helps to reduce and remove the bad thoughts, bad company, bad words, and evil vibes. This fasting on maha Shivaratri helps to enhance our master sense, controls our desires, purifies our body, soul, and mind together as a whole.
Must Visiting Temples On Maha Shivaratri:
During Mahashivaratri visiting these 12 jyotirlinga pilgrimage sites is considered holy things to be done on this special day. These jyotirlinga shrines are the 12 temples of Lord Shiva in which he appeared in the form of light in 12 different places. In general, there are 64 jyotirlingas in which these 12 jyotirlinga forms of Shiva are considered as highly auspicious. These symbolize the infinite nature of Lord Shiva.
The twelve jyotirlingas are:
1.Shree Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple-Gujarat
2. Sri Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Swamy Ammavarula Devasthanam -Andhra Pradesh
3. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga -Madhya Pradesh
4. Omkareshwar in Khandwa-Madhya Pradesh
5. Kedarnath Temple -Uttarakhand
6. Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga -Maharashtra
7. Shri Kashi Vishwanath and Maa Annapurna Temple -Uttar Pradesh
8. Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple -Maharashtra
9. Baidyanath in Deoghar-Jharkhand
10. Nageshvara Jyotirlinga in Dwarka-Gujarat
11. Ramanathaswamy in Rameswaram-Tamil Nadu
12. Grishneshwar -Maharashtra
“Saurastre Somanatham cha srisaile Mallikarjunam,
Ujjayinyam Mahakalam Omkaram Mamaleśwaram
Parlyam Vaidyanatham cha dakinyam Bhimasankaram,
Setubandhe tu Ramesam Nagesam Darukavane
Varanasyam tu Visvesam Tryambakaṃ Gautamitate,
Himalaye tu Kedaram Ghusmesam ca Śivalaye
Etani jyotirlingani sayam pratah pathennarah,
Saptajanmakrtam papam smaranena vinasyati
Etesam darsanadeva patakam naiva tisthati,
Karmaksayo bhavettasya yasya tusto mahesvarah”
POWERFUL MANTRAS TO CHANT ON MAHA-SHIVARATRI:
The main mantra of Lord Shiva is OM NAMA SHIVAYA which can be chanted with faith to fulfill all the desires of our life. Each word in this mantra denotes the harmonization of all 5 elements of the universe and is hence known as the panchakshari mantra.
- NA – the sound of earth element
- MA – the sound of the water element
- SHI- the sound of the fire element
- VA – the sound of air or wind element
- YA – the sound of plain sky
‘Ohm Namah Shivaay’
- Benefits of this Mantra: To eradicate the fear
‘Om trayambakam yajamahe sugandhim pushtiwardham
Urwarukmivbandhanaan Mrityormuksheey mamritat’
- Benefits of this Mantra: To increase longevity
‘Om Namo Bhagwate Rudraay’
- Benefits of this Mantra: To receive Lord shiva’s blessings
Lord shiva Dhyana Mantra:
‘Ohm Tath purushaya vidhmahe mahadevaya dhimahi tanno rudra prachodayat’
- Benefits of this Mantra: To increase concentration
‘Karpuragauram karunavataram sansarsaram bhujagendraharam
Sadavasantam hrdayaravinde bhavam bhavanisahitam namami’
- Benefits of this Mantra: To gain health and wealth.
Daaridrya dahana stotram:
‘Vashisthen kritam stotram sarvarog nivaranam,
sarvasamparkaram shighram putrapautradivardhanam’
- Benefits of this Mantra: to alleviate poverty.
Ekadasha Rudra Mantra: A set 11 different mantras
- Kapali – ‘Om HumHum Satrustambhanaya Hum Hum Om Phat’
- Pingala – ‘Om Shrim Hrim Shrim Sarva Mangalaya Pingalaya Om namah’
- Bhima – ‘Om Aim Aim Mano Vanchita Siddhaya Aim Aim Om’
- Virupaksha – ‘Om Rudraya Roganashaya Agacha Cha Ram Om Namah’
- Vilohita – ‘Om Shrim Hrim Sam Sam Hrim Shrim Shankarshanaya Om’
- Shastha – ‘Om Hrim Hrim Safalyayai Siddhaye Om Namah’
- Ajapada – ‘Om Shrim Bam Sough Balavardhanaya Baleshwaraya Rudraya phut om’
- Ahirbhudanya – ‘Om Hram Hrim Hum Samastha Graha Dosha Vinashaya om’
- Sambhu – ‘Om Gam Hluam Shroum Glaum Gam Om Namah’
- Chanda – ‘Om Chum Chandishwaraya Tejasyaya Chum Om Phut’
- Bhava – ‘Om Bhavod Bhava Sambhavaya Ishta Darshana Om Sam Om namaha’
Shiva Gayathri Mantra: Repeat it 108 times to fulfill desires.
‘Om Tatpurushaya vidmahe, mahadevaya dhimahi
Tanno rudrah prachodayat’
Get over your past sins and restart your life on the moral path to reach liberation and salvation by surrendering to Lord Shiva on this devotional day of Maha Shivaratri. Get rid of negative thoughts, anger, greed, lust, jealousy, hatred, and bad vibes but enhance the divine vibes that reside in you.
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“THE DIVINITY IS WITHIN YOU, AND LET IT WAKE UP!”