What is Maha Shivaratri?
Posted on January 31 2021
Lord Shiva is a deity of extreme reverence all throughout India. He is associated with several things including a representation of ‘good’, ‘benevolence’ and even as the ‘destroyer’ of all things. At the same time, he is also known as the creator and also as the protector of the Vedas and other sacred texts.
It is believed that all life on earth has a hint of Lord Shiva. Mahashivaratri is an occasion to acknowledge and praise the deep state of peace that exists in all forms of life. It is celebrated to seek blessings from the Lord Almighty to lead a happy and prosperous life.
The word ‘Mahashivaratri’ literally translates to ‘The great night of Shiva’. It is touted to be the greatest event in the spiritual calendar of India. This year, the grand night falls on 11th March. For the average people amongst us, it is a day of grand celebration full of festivities and get-togethers. For the spiritual folk, the day holds a different significance altogether. Scientifically speaking, the northern hemisphere of the planet earth is positioned such that there is a natural upsurge of energy within one’s body. In order to feel this energy, one is recommended to sit upright with their spine in a vertical, elongated position and meditate all throughout the night.
Mahashivratri is also the occasion of Lord Shiva’s wedding anniversary with Parvati, the goddess of fertility and love. All across the nation, the sacred union is celebrated in great fervor and gaiety.
What to do on Mahashivratri?
On the occasion of Mahashivratri, you will find huge masses of people amassing towards Shiva temples all across the nation. Chanting praises for the lord, ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ can be heard reverberating through colonies. While this is the sight from afar, several individuals perform their ritual in a detailed method. They include:
To experience the natural upsurge in energy that the night causes, a lot of people indulge in meditation. As we welcome new energy into our body, it is essential to detoxify the body to clear toxins and other bad energies. Fasting with fruits and water is the key behind proper cleansing of the body and soul. Also, fasting aids in meditation by lessening the restlessness of one’s mind.
Obviously, meditate! Like said above, the position of constellations in the sky is considered the most auspicious in the spiritual calendar. One is advised to stay awake and sit in a comfortable position with legs crossed on the floor. Focus on your breath and spend the night in mindfulness.
Worship the Shivalinga
The formless God Shiva is symbolically represented in the form of a ‘Linga’. Perform the ‘shivling’ pooja and offer the following items in a chronological order: water, panchamrit (milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar), water to wash away the panchamrit, chandan, vastra, bilva patra, bhang, flowers, sweets and dhoop. Also apply ‘vibhuti’ and recite prayers of Lord Shiva.
Essentially, these are some rituals one must follow to celebrate to the auspicious night and day. Additionally, you can also attend gatherings at your local temple with your friends and family to perform the ‘Rudra Pooja’. Chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ brings purity to your environment by harmonizing all five elements in the world.
How to fast in Mahashivaratri?
A one-day fast is an important aspect in the celebration of Mahashivratri. To the true followers of spirituality and believers of Shiva, fasting will increase the solemnity of your prayers and vows.
- Unlike other forms of fasting or ‘vraths’ according to Hindu literature, the fast on Mahashivaratri is slightly different. It starts at dawn and continues through the day and night.
- Fasting concludes next day during the time of ‘parana’. You can refer to the Panchang for exact timings.
- Fasting is done to rid the body of toxins and to absolve of sins. It helps clear the mind of negative emotions like greed, lust, anger or anxiety. Therefore, fasting is only beneficial with a night long mindfulness.
- Based on age, ease and accessibility, you can choose to perform a lighter fast with fruits, milk and water. The strict form of fasting means that you need to abstain from all kinds of food.
- Fasting does not just mean that you are away from food. One must be abstained from bad thoughts, bad company, bad deeds and bad words.
What is the story behind Mahashivaratri?
There are several legends behind Mahashivratri. The most popular legend goes back to when a poisonous substance, ‘Samudra manthan’, emerged from the ocean. It was potent enough to kill the entire world. Terrified, the Gods and demons sought Lord Shiva for help. Lord Shiva then drank the poison and held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. This is also the reason the famous lord is called Neelakantha.
Mahashivratri celebrates the event in which Lord Shiva saved the world.
In hindsight, this is Mahashivratri and what you can do to make the most of it. It is a revered ritual that dispels knowledge, emanates the light of knowledge, reverberates positive energy and ushers a new season on the human race.
We hope that you have a good time celebrating Mahashivratri with your friends and family. For pooja samagri and other festive requirements, visit: https://thepoojastore.com/
Watch our videos in the below links on how to decorate Lord Shiva for Mahashivratri.
Mahashivratri: March 11, 2021.
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