The most important festival in Hindu, MahaShivratri 2013 is celebrated as a sacred day of Lord Shiva on the thirteenth or fourteenth day during the month of February or March (Phagun). Mahashivratri in the year 2013 is on 10 March. Maha Shivratri (Shivratri) means “the big night of Lord Shiva”. The Maha Shivratri rituls are performed during night and it is believed that Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati on this festival of Shivratri. The festival of Maha Shivratri also indicates the night when Lord Shiva performed the Tandav Nartya.
Maha Shivratri is celebrated by observing fast and devotees spend their maximum time remembering Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lingam of Lord Shiva is worshiped in a very traditional manner where the lingam is offered with honey, milk, water, honey, fruits and Bel leaves on this festival Shivratri. While offering these things to the lingam of Shiva people chant “Om Namah Shivaya”. All the Shiva Temples are fully crowded with devotees and queuing up to get darshan of Lord & offer their obeisance’s at the feet of Lord Shiva on this ” Shivratri” special day.
Mahashivratri is one of the magnificent festivals in India as well as in Nepal and other regions where Lord Shiva is worshipped. Among the popular Temples, Amarnath temple pilgrimage or Mount Amarnath (about 140 km from Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir) is supposed to be the holiest place in Hinduism. Surrounded by fascinating mountainous and picturesque snowy mountains this Temple remains crowded by pilgrims throughout the year especially on Mahashivratri.
There are several stories associated with this special grand night Mahashivratri of Lord Shiva:
Samudra Manthan Story:
During Samudra Manthan by the gods and demons, a highly toxic poison was came out of the ocean. As per the Guidance of Lord Vishnu, gods approached Lord Shiva and prayed him to protect their life by consuming this poison. Lord Shiva pleased with their prayers, out of compassion for living beings, Lord Shiva, drank this poison and held it in his throat. Hence the throat became blue due to the poison (Thus Lord Shiva is also know as Neelakantha) and Shiva remained unharmed. The Gurus advised gods to keep Lord Shiva awake during that night. To keep him awake, the gods took turn performing various dances and playing music. A vigil was thus kept by the gods in contemplation of Shiva. As the Night broke out, Lord Shiva, pleased with their devotion blessed all of them, and also promised that, whosoever worshiped & contemplated to him on this day shall be blessed with the fulfillment of his or her wishes. Since then, on this day and night – devotees fast, keep vigil, sing glories of Lord and meditate.
According to the Shiva Purana, the Mahashivaratri worship must incorporate six items:
- Bathing the Shiv Ling with water, milk and honey, and Wood apple or Bel leaves added to it, representing purification of the soul
- The vermilion paste applied on the Shiv Ling after bathing it, representing virtue
- Offering of fruits, which is conducive to longevity and gratification of desires
- Burning incense, yielding wealth
- The lighting of the lamp which is conducive to the attainment of knowledge
- And betel leaves marking satisfaction with worldly pleasures.