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Mahashivratri: Facts, Rituals, and Significance

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Shikha Pandey
Shikha Pandeyhttp://devotionalfolks.com
Blogger since 2017. Enthusiastic about hidden Historical facts. Like to explore about scientific aspects of Hindu Scriptures

Mahashivratri “ the great night of Lord Shiva” is a Hindu festival that celebrated all over the Indian subcontinent and in Nepal. In this day, observance of fast is known to surge spiritual energies. Lord Shiva is the ruler of the fourteenth night of every lunar month that’s is why it is known as Shivratri. Generally, Shivratri fast has done on every fourteenth day of the month but Mahashivratri comes once in a year that falls on the fourteenth day of Phalguna in dark fortnight. This night considered to be more significant than other nights of Shivratri.

Facts

So many legends are associated with this great night. Most common among them the marriage of Shiva and Parvati. It is also believed that this is the day when Lord Shiva drank the Halahal poison produced during Samudra Manthan. He held the poison in his throat that’s why Shiva is also called as Neelkanth Mahadev. According to Ishaan Samhita, this is the day when Jyotirlingas came to existence.

One of the legends mentions that on this day Shiva performed Cosmic dance. This dance signifies the creation, preservation, and destruction of the universe. Many artists perform in front of Natraja in temples across India. Most significant among them is Chidambaram where Lord Shiva is worshiped as Nataraj.

This day marked for chanting, pooja-Archana, all day long fasting and an all-night vigil. Fasting can be performed by anyone whether it is young, adult or old. Unlike most of the festivals, Mahashivratri celebrated in the night. Devotees Offer fruits, vilva leaves, datura flowers, sweets and milk to Lord Shiva in temples and homes. Offering vilva leaves considered very auspicious to Shiva Lingam. This night offers a chance for introspection and helps in overcoming ignorance. As per the Skanda Purana –

निशिभ्रमन्ति भूतानि शक्तयः शूलभ्रद यतः|
अतास्तस्याम चतुर्दश्याम सत्यां तत पूजनम भवेत् ||

Meaning:

In the darkest night of Shivratri, all kinds of spirits roaming, being the dev of all beings Mahadev also takes around in the night, therefore, revering Lord Shiva on this night vanishes all past sins and bring peace and harmony inside.

Rituals for Shivratri

After taking bath, keeping Ganga Jal in one hand one should recite this mantra in the morning –

शिवरात्रि व्रतं ह्वे तत करिष्ये$हम् महाफलं |
निर्विघ्नं अस्तु में चात्र त्वत प्रसाद जगत्पते ||

After that try to keep oneself silent and chant” Om Namah Shivay” throughout the day. In the night again after taking a bath, one should sit in east or north-facing direction and perform Shodopchar Pooja and along with this do Rudra Path. Then the offering of seasonal flowers, Vilva leaves, Dhatura flowers, Guggal Dhoop, Ghee lit Diya and Naivedyam to be made to Lord Shiva. This day marked for chanting, meditation, pooja-Archana, an all-night vigil and all day long fasting. After making parikrama and offering Jal pray Lord Shiva with this mantra-

मया कृतान्यनेकानि पापानि हर शंकर|
शिवरात्रौ दादाम्य अर्घ्य मुमाकान्त गृहाण मे||
संसार क्लेश दग्धस्य वर्तेनानेन शंकर|
प्रसीद सुमुखो नाथ ज्ञानदृष्टि प्रदो भव||

As per Skanda Purana, who performs Pooja-Archana, Jagran, meditation and fast for Lord Shiva on Phalgun Krishna Chaturdashi that is Mahashivratri, never takes rebirth on this Earth. There are so many stories mentioning the significance of this day. Shiva is most compassionate this is the reason for him to be known as Bhola Bhandari who blesses his devotees with everything without asking.

Katha of Rich Man

Once there was a rich man who after in bad company started stealing. on the day of Mahashivratri, he stole jewelry from a lady when she was performing the pooja of Shiva. He was caught red-handed and got death punishment for his deeds. Instinctively he was fasting and waking so that he can get into the lady’s house for stealing, therefore Lord Shiva gave him sadgati. Shiva is most compassionate this is the reason for him to be known as Bhola Bhandari who gives his devotees without being asked.

Katha of Hunter

On the day of Shivratri, one hunter was roaming all day for the prey without food and water. He did not get any prey so he hides in the bushes. Under the bushes, there was Shiva Lingam and vilva tree. He saw a doe and without knowing he offered vilva leaves on Shiva and started throwing arrows on doe but she survived. In this way involuntarily hunter kept fasting and worshiped Lord Shiva. Hence Lord Shiva blessed him and liberated him from his deeds.

Significance

The Great Night of Shiva offers material blessings and well-being to householders, on the other hand, yogis can attain enlightenment and unboundedness. Furthermore, Mahashivratri is the divine night that opens the door for awakening and liberation. To sum up we can say that Mahashivratri offers us a possibility to introspect and helps in experiencing our existence with Universe

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Shikha Pandey
Shikha Pandeyhttp://devotionalfolks.com
Blogger since 2017. Enthusiastic about hidden Historical facts. Like to explore about scientific aspects of Hindu Scriptures
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