Maha Shivaratri (महाशिवरात्रि)
Sivaratri means ‘night of Lord Shiva (शिव) ’.
In the day of Maha Shivratri devotees observe a rigid fasting for twentyfour hours and sleepless
vigil during the night. Every true devotee of Lord Siva spends the night of Sivaratri in deep meditation, keeps vigil and observes fast.
Maha Shivratri being observed on Sunday, the 10th March, 2013. this year.
On the day of Maha Shivratri morning worship of Lord Shiva begins
after bath. Devotees offering flowers, Bilva leaves and other gifts on the Linga which is a symbol of Lord Shiva, and bathing it
with milk, honey, butter, ghee, rose-water, etc.with chanting the mantra Aum namao śivāya (ॐ नमं: शिवायं)
Once Mother Parvati asked:to Lord Shiva “O venerable Lord, which of the many
rituals observed in Thy honour doth please Thee most?” Lord Siva replied:
फाल्गुने कृष्णपक्षस्य या तिथिः स्याच्चतुर्दशी |
तस्यां या तमसो रात्रिः सोच्चते शिवरात्रिका ||
तत्रोपवासं कुर्वाणः प्रसादमति मां ध्रुवम् |
न स्नानेन न वस्त्रेण न धूपेन न चार्चया ||
तुष्यामि न तथा पुष्पेर्यथा तत्रोपवासतः ||
“The thirteenth night of the new moon, Krishna Paksha, in the month of Phalguna (February-March) is known as Sivaratri, My most
favourable Tithi. My devotee gives Me greater happiness by mere fasting than by ceremonial baths,
and offerings of flowers, sweets, incense, etc.
Maha Shivratri Varta
On the morning of Maha Shivratri, temples of Lord Shiva are flocked by devotees,
mostly women, to perform the Shivalinga worship Devotees bathe at sunrise, in any holy rivers
as River Ganga (गंगा) , River Yamuna (यमुना) ,
Godavari ( गोदावरी) River , River Narmada ( नर्मदा}
or any other holy water source. After the bath Wearing a clean piece of clothing
worshippers carry pots of water to the temple to bathe the Shivalinga. They offer prayers to the sun, Vishnu and Shiva.
Women pray for the well-being of their husbands and sons. An unmarried woman prays for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband. The
temple reverberates with the sound of bells and shouts of Aum namao śivāya (ॐ नमं: शिवायं),
Her Her Mahdev, Jai Bhole baba, Jai Shankar, etc.
Devotees circumambulate the linga, three or seven times, and then pour water over it. Some also
pour milk and honey, and Wood apple or bel leaves added to it, representing purification of the soul. The puja includes
oOffering of fruits, burning incense, lighting of the lamp and vermilion paste applied on the Shiv linga after bathing it.
Importance of Maha Shivaratri
Ishansahita says that those who observe Maha Shivaratri vrata with full devotion get rid of all sins and get Mokha.
शिवरात़्रिव्रतं नाम सर्वपापप्रणाशनम् |
आचाण्डालमनुष्याणां भुक्तिमुक्तिप्रदायकम् ||
The scriptures state that during the night of Maha Shivaratri, 12
majestic Jyotirlingas (“Jyoti” means “fire, light,” and “Linga” representing fire, symbolizing life) dazzled the world with their
appearance in India’s diverse, distant geographical areas. A legend behind the emergence of Jyotirlinga Mahakaleshwar (“Mahakal” means
“Eternal” and “Ishwar” means “Master or Superior,” i.e., God) in the city of Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh,
Legends related to Maha Shivaratri
Samudra Manthan: According to a legend in the Puranas, during the great mythical churning of the ocean called Samudra
Manthan between the Gods and Demons , a pot of poison emerged from the ocean. The gods and the demons were terrified as it could destroy the entire world.
They asked to Lord Shiva for help. Lord Shiva drank the deadly poison but held it in his throat instead of swallowing it.
The poison turned his throat blue, and since then he came to be known as
'Nilkantha', the blue-throated one. Shivratri celebrates this event as Shiva saved the world.
The hunter: Once upon a time, there was hunter
who lived in the town of Varanasi. One evening he was returning from the forest
with the some birds he had killed. Feeling tiredness he sat at the foot of a tree to take some
rest and was overpowered by sleep. When he woke up, it was all thick darkness of
night. It was the night of Sivaratri but he did not know it, He climbed
up the tree, tied his bundle of dead birds to a branch and sat up waiting for the dawn. The tree happened to be
the Bilva, Lord Shiva favourite, “There was a Linga under that tree. He plucked a few leaves dropped them
down. The night-dew trickled down from his body. Lord Shiva highly pleased
with involuntary little gifts of the hunter. The day dawned and the hunter returned to his house.
In course of time, the hunter fell ill and gave up his last breath. After death
the hunter was able to enter Shivalok (the adobe of Lord Shiva) and ward off death by simple
fasting and offering of a few Bilva leaves, however involuntary it might
be because it was the night of Sivaratri.
Shri Siva Panchaksar Strota
नागेन्द्रहाराय त्रिलोचनाय भस्मागंरागाय महेश्वराय |
नित्याय शुद्धाय दिगम्बराय तस्मे 'न'काराय नमः शिवाय || 1
मन्दाकिनीसलिलचन्दनचर्चिताय नन्दीश्वरप्रमथनाथमहेश्वराय |
मन्दारपुष्पबहुपुष्पसुपूजिताय तस्मे 'म'काराय नमः शिवाय || 2
शिवाया गौरीवदनाब्जवृन्द - सूर्याय दक्षाध्वरनाशकाय |
श्रीनीलकण्ठाय वृषध्वजाय तस्मे 'शि"काराय नमः शिवाय || 3
वसिष्ठकुभ्भोद्धवगौतमर्य - मुनीन्द्रदेवार्चितशेखराय |
चन्द्रार्कवैश्र्वानरलोचनाय तस्मे 'व' काराय नमः शिवाय|| 4
यक्षस्व रूपाय जटाधराय पिनाकस्ताय सनातनाय |
दिव्याय देवाय दिगम्बराय तस्मे 'य'काराय नमः शिवाय|| 5
Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
The Mrtyunjaya-maha-mantra, which is found in the Rudram, is said to
eradicate diseases, pain, sufferings and death.
ॐ त्रियम्बकं यजामहे, सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनं
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मोक्षिय मामृतात्
OM triyambakam yajāmahe sugandhim
pushTivardhanam, urvārukamiva bandhanān mrrityormokshiya māmrritāt.
Om. "O three-eyed one (Lord Shiva) , we worship you, the One of sublime
fragrance who is the source of all vitality, growth and splendour. Just
as a ripe cucumber is plucked from its vine, May we transcend death and gain Immortality"
Natyanjali festival on Sivaratri in Chidambaram
On March 10, 2013 dancers pay obeisance to Lord Nataraja, the King of Dance, Loed Siva. Dance becomes ‘king’ for nearly a week in
Chidambaram as also in many Siva temples across Tamil Nadu. Lord Siva, in a dancing pose, is the central deity at Chidambaram. While
every iconic representation of Siva is endowed with multiple mythological references, the one as Nataraja is a vital core of Dance.
As for Bharatanatyam, the "ananda tandava" or ‘dance of bliss,’ which
mythology places in the centre of the Universe – Thillai or Chidambaram – is its very soul.
No Bharatanatyam performance can be complete without at least one dance
in praise of Siva as Nataraja. The symbolism of the dance of Siva has
been expressed in a million words by thinkers, including world -renowned scientists of the western world.
Taking a cue from Chidambaram, the Natyanjali festival has spread its
wings and now takes place at Thanjavur, Kumbakonam, Nagapattinam, Tirunallar, Tiruvayyar, Tiruvarur and Sirkazhi. Representatives of other
styles such as Kathak and Manipuri also participate and enthral small-town audiences.
Maha Shivaratri in other countries
Nepal: Mahashivaratri is one of the biggest festivals in Nepal .Pashupatinath temple
of Lord Shiva in Kathmandu
is the main attraction to celebrate Maha Shivaratri
Devotees worship lord Shiva here while some women fast during the entire
day. Sadhus are seen with marijuana which are allowed on this day because it is believed that Lord
Shiva himself used marijuana on this day. Naga sadhus are also seen around the temple.
Shivratri celebrates when during Samudra
Manthan between the Gods and Demons a pot of poison emerged from the ocean.
Lord Shiva drank the deadly poison and saved the world .
Malavika Sarrukai, the Bharatanatyam dancer dance in praise of Siva as Nataraja.
Aum namao śivāya Vedio