Maha Shivaratri FESTIVAL india 2023

  • Type:Cultural
  • Dates:18-Feb-2023
  • Location:India

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Hailed as Bholenath, Mahadev, Shankar, and various other names, Lord Shiva has incarnated several times to serve multiple purposes. Lord Shiva is one of the towering deities of the Hindu trinity. He is hailed as the "destroyer," while Brahma is the "creator," and Vishnu is the "protector." Nonetheless, the "destruction" referred to here is not the dogmatic destruction of creation but the intrinsic negative human traits, imperfections, and illusions.

And this "destruction" paves the way for creation all over again. Therefore, Lord Shiva could be best described as a "constructive destroyer." In human form, this Hindu deity is seen sitting meditatively. Lord Shiva is also worshipped in the form of a Linga. It is said that the Linga form of Lord Shiva came into being on the Chaturdashi Tithi, Krishna Paksha, in Phalguna month. This auspicious day is also believed to be when Lord Shiva (Purusha) united with Parvati (Shakti). Therefore, the day, popular as Maha Shivratri, commemorates the Lord and his consort's marriage.

ABOUT MAHA SHIVRATRI

Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honor of the god Shiva. The name also refers to the night when Shiva performs the cosmic dance called Tandava. Every month of the lunisolar Hindu calendar, there is a Shivaratri – "night of Shiva" – on the day before the new moon. But once a year, in late winter and before the arrival of Summer (February/March), this night is called "Maha Shivaratri" – "the Great Night of Shiva."Unlike most Hindu festivals, which are celebrated during the day, the Maha Shivaratri is celebrated at night. Furthermore, unlike most Hindu festivals, which include expression of cultural revelry, the Maha Shivaratri is a solemn event notable for its introspective focus, fasting, a meditation on Shiva, self-study, social harmony, and an all-night vigil at Shiva temples.

HISTORY OF MAHA SHIVRATRI

According to the Puranas, several stories and legends describe the origin of the Shivratri festival. One story about the Maha Shivratri says that a pot emerged from the ocean containing poison during Samudra Manthan. All the Gods and demons were terrified that this would destroy the entire world, so the Gods ran to Lord Shiva for help. To protect the entire world from the evil effects, Shiva drank the entire poison and held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. Due to this, his throat becomes blue, and he is also known as Neelakantha. Shivratri is celebrated as an event due to which Shiva saved the world. Another story narrates that Brahma and Vishnu were fighting among themselves over who was superior among the two. Other Gods were terrified, so they went to Lord Shiva to intervene in the war. To make them realize the futility of their fight, Shiva took the form of a massive fire that spread across the length of the universe. By seeing the magnitude, both the Gods decided to find one end to establish supremacy over the other. So, for this, Brahma assumed the form of a swan and went upwards.

On the other hand, Vishnu assumed Varaha and went into the earth. But the fire has no limit, and they searched for thousands of miles but couldn't find the end. On the journey upwards, Brahma came across a Ketaki flower. He asked Ketaki from where she had come; Ketaki replied that she had been placed at the top of the fiery column as an offering. Brahma could not find the upper limit and took the flower as a witness and came. At this, Shiva revealed the true form and became angry. Brahma did not find the uppermost limit and told a lie. So, he was punished by Shiva for telling a lie and cursed that no one would pray for him. Even the Ketaki flower was banned from being used as an offering for any worship. Since it was on the 14th day in the dark half month of Phalguna when Shiva first manifested himself as a Linga, the day is especially auspicious and is celebrated as Maha Shivratri. Worshipping Shiva is believed to bestow happiness and prosperity on this day. It is celebrated as the anniversary of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

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RITUALS OF MAHA SHIVRATRI

Shiva granted Goddess Paravati an avatar of Shakti and wished to marry him as he was impressed by her devotion. On a moonless night, the goddess observed fast for his good health after their marriage. Today also, this ritual is followed by Indian women who pray for the long life of their husbands.

SIGNIFICANCE OF MAHA SHIVRATRI

Followers and devotees of Shiva observe special puja and perform fast in several temples of Shiva across the world. Some ardent devotees follow "nirjala fasting," i.e., fasting without taking any food or water. They offer milk to the Shivling and pray for moksha. Several devotees pray the whole night and chant mantras to praise Lord Shiva. Women pray to be blessed with a good husband and a happy married life. On this day, various temple fairs and cultural programs are organized. It is also believed that those who perform puja, fast, and offer prayers to Lord Shiva are blessed with good luck. The night provides scope for changing the repetitive patterns of thoughts that keep creating the same reality for you recurrently. Such a change that is spurred within can remove all obstacles that keep you stuck at any phase of life. Maha Shivaratri can energize and nurture your body and mind with a new consciousness that offers a chance to create a new life with new opportunities.

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FAQs about Maha Shivaratri Festival

Q.What is the reason behind celebrating Maha Shivaratri?
The day Lord Shiva got married to Parvati is celebrated as Shivaratri - the Night of Lord Shiva.
Q.What does the name "Maha Shivratri" refer to?
The name "Maha Shivratri" refers to the night Shiva performs the cosmic dance called Tandava.
Q.Who keeps Mahashivratri fast?
People observe the Mahashivratri Vrat to mark their devotion for their beloved deity
Q.Why do Indian women follow Mahashivratri Vrat ritual?
Mahashivratri Vrat ritual is followed by Indian women to pray for the long life of their husbands.