Rudraksha Center wishes all Patrons & Visitors Health, Wealth and Happiness in this Maha Shivratri 2019 and Beyond
Maha Shivratri is one of the most important festivals for Hindu worshippers and devotees of Lord Shiva, is on Monday, 4th March 2019. This festival is celebrated on the 13th / 14th night of the Krishna Paksha of the Maagh month. The word "Shiva Ratri" literally translates to "Night of the Lord Shiva".
Legend behind Shivaratri :
Legends as per Puranas states that during the churning of the ocean, a pot of poison emerged, which had the power to destroy the entire world. Lord Shiva, to save humanity, drank the entire pot of poison (turning his throat blue) thus gaining him the name "Neel (Blue) - Kanth (Throat)". The festival of Shivratri celebrates this event.
In modern times, Shiva Ratri is celebrated by devotees all over the world. This festival has special significance for women as well. Married Women pray to Lord Shiva to grant well-being and happiness to the male members of the family - Father, Sons, Husband, while unmarried ones, pray for getting a suitable Husband.
Devotees celebrate Maha Shivratri by keeping Fast and offering Incense, Flowers, Panchamrut and Bel Leaves ( Bilwa Patra ) to Lord Shiva in temples.
It is said that whoever remembers Lord Shiva with sincerity on Maha Shivratri is freed from all mortal sins and attains Moksha, thus being liberated from the cycle of Birth and Death, thus being united with Lord Shiva.
About Lord Shiva :
Lord Shiva is the third Deity in the Hindu trilogy, finding place alongside Lord Brahma and Vishnu. Shiva is revered, feared and worshipped widely. He enjoys an exalted position, not just for his abode which is high on Mount Kailash, or for his fiery temper which no one dares test. He is the destroyer of all evil and the one who bestows the greatest blessings when pleased.
Several opposing elements co-exist in harmony alongside Lord Shiva, much like his own nature. While He is charming and attractive, no one dares venture too close for fear of his wrath. Similarly, you will notice his lethal third eye, symbolic of fire exist with the Ganges which flows from his locks. His vehicle Nandi lays at his feet, almost oblivious of the venomous snake coiled around the Lord. Lord Shiva’s blue reflects the poisons that He is constantly taking away from our lives and the nectar of bliss that He gives in return.
There are several forms in which Lord Shiva is worshipped. The meditative form is what people love best, since it reflects his tranquil divinity perfectly. There is also the taandava form, depicting Shiva dance when He is most agitated. While this is not a form worshipped, this is one that is commonly found around the houses. The Natraj or Shiva in dance is a very commonly found symbol of the deity. The most powerful representation of Lord Shiva is, however, the Lingam, which is believed to be the most auspicious of all forms.
Lord Shiva Temples :
There are thousands of Shiva temples which can be found all across India. Of these, there are temples known as Jyotirlinga temples, which contains the most potent Shiva Lingams in the world. These are the main seats of Lord Shiva, and visits to these are advised at least once during a lifetime. The 12 Jyotirlinga temples include Somnath, Mahakaleshwar, Kedarnath, Bhimashankar, Omkareshwar, Trimbakeshwar, Kashi Vishwanath, Grihneshwar, Vaidyanath, Ramnathaswamy, Nageshwar and Mallikarjuna. Each of these important destinations has a history and legend of its own and a visit to any of these locations will give you an insight into the importance of the Lord. It is believed that a trip to any of the Jyotirlinga temples will enable you to absolve yourself of all sin, and also fulfill all desires of your heart.
Lord Shiva's Family :
Lord Shiva does not live in isolation, but with a family of His own. Always by His side is His consort, the Goddess Parvati. The family is completed by Lord Ganesha and Kartikeya, who are believed to be their offspring. Although depicted as an ascetic, Shiva is actually a girhasta or householder. Shiva is believed to be the embodiment of power or shakti. With Parvati or nature by His side, the balance is maintained.
The Festival of Maha Shiva Ratri :
The main festival that is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva is known as Maha Shivratri. This festival is celebrated once a year. During the Hindu month of maagh, on the 13th night, the celebration of Mahashivratri begins. Some believe this to be the night when Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati. This is also considered to be the occasion on which He performed the taandav. There are several stories that are associated with this occasion, but the most important is the understanding of what the significance behind it is.
The celebration of Maha Shivratri is all about introspection and prayer. It is customary for people to fast on this day, and spend their time in the worship of Lord Shiva. It is common to find serpentine queues leading up to the lingam or idols at temples, where people offer prayer with milk and water, and bilva leaves which are believed to be especially favourable when praying to Lord Shiva. Most people stay awake through the night, reading spiritual books, reciting prayers and meditating on the form of Shiva. This night is believed to be the time when the mind is steadiest and it is easiest to concentrate on the Lord. Practicing all the necessary traditions of Maha Shivratri will enable a devotee to gain greater control of the senses, realize the true potential within, and also stay close to divinity.
Mantra for Maha Shivaratri :
The Devotee can recite the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra on the day of Mahashivratri to attain Health, Wealth and Happiness
" Om Trayambakkam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarookmiva Bandhanaan Mrityor Moksheeya Maamritaat "
The meaning of Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is as follows :
" I worship the sweet Lord of transcendental vision ( three eyed one Lord Shiva ). O giver of Health and Prosperity to all, may I be free from the bonds of Death, just as a melon is severed effortlessly from its bondage or attachment to the creeper "
Benefits of worshipping Lord Shiva / Mahadev on Maha Shivaratri :
According to Shiva Purana, there is a special significance of worshipping Lord Shiva on Maha Shivratri with six essential puja items :
Bathing of Shivlinga with Water, Milk, Honey and Wood Apple or Bel leaves added to it represents Purification of Soul
Vermilion paste applied on Shiv Lingam after the ritual bath represents Virtue
Offering Fruits symbolizes Longevity and Gratification of desires
Burning of Incense Sticks yields Wealth
Lighting of Oil Lamp symbolizes Attainment of Knowledge
Offering of Betel Leaves marks Satisfaction with worldly pleasures