Saturday, January 23, 2010

Maha Shivratri - a Festival of awakening, devotion and meditation.

The importance of Maha Shivratri

Shiva Shiva is the God of Meditation and destruction. Meditation, also brings about destruction of that, which is unnecessary. The negativity that attacks our consciousness have to be destroyed, so that the new, the bliss, the awakening within, Shiva tatva replaces those negative tendencies. It can be said, the destruction of destructive forces.

There are certain days on which the awakening force is more. As there are those days, there are places charged with spiritual energies where the meditation becomes spontaneous. Where one finds oneself filled with awakening energies and the disturbing elements like anger, lust, possessiveness, jealousy and insecurities, cannot find it easy to attack one’s chit (consciousness).

Ratri means the night. So Shivratri is the night of meditation. The night when the grace of Lord Shiva is maximum. The awakening force, Shiva tatva is with vigor. It is very easy to feel Lord Shiva’s grace and get soaked in that energy, deep in meditation. Maha means great, and Maha Shivratri is the great night of Shiva. The greatest among all Shivaratri.

What are the dates of Shivratri and Maha Shivratri ?

Shivratri dates are observed according to the Hindu calendar, which has Lunar months. The month starts with the new moon and ends with the full moon, also called poonam or purnimaa (full moon day).
Shivaratri, is observed on 13th night of this Lunar month and 14th day. Maha Shivratri is the Shivraratri that occurs in the month of Krishna Paksha (waning moon) of the month of Maagha (as per Shalivahana or Gujarati Vikrama) or Phalguna (as per Vikrama)

Mahasivratri dates in coming years.Shiva_Shankar

Mahashivratri normally falls in the month of February or beginning weeks of March. Below are the dates of Mahashivratri from 2010 A.D till 2015 A.D.
Mahashivartari in 2010 A.D. is on Friday, 12th of February.
Mahashivartari in 2011 A.D. is on Wednesday , 2nd of March.
Mahashivartari in 2012 A.D. is on Monday, 20th of February.
Mahashivartari in 2013 A.D. is on Sunday, 10th of March.
Mahashivartari in 2014 A.D. is on Friday, 28th of February.
Mahashivartari in 2015 A.D. is on Tuesday, 17th of February.

Stories related to MahaSivratri

There are quiet a few stories related with MahaShivratri.
It is believed that on this days Lord Shiva was married to Goddesses Parvati. Once when Shakti Parvati asked Lord Shiva about the day, most dear to Him. Lord Shiva replied that replied that the 13th night of the new moon, during the month of Maagha, is his most favourite day. Since the importance of Mahasivratri was known and is being observed as a very spiritual and dearest day of Lord Shiva. It is also said that this was the night when Lord Shiva performed Tandava Nitrya (dance).

Maha Shivratri a Festival of awakening, devotion and meditation.

There is a lot of adhyatmik (spiritual) significance associated with Mahashivratri. So for spiritual aspirants and bhaktas (devotees), this day holds lots of importance and significance. They wait for this powerful night to arrive and get the maximum on this day.
About the source for spiritual significance a thought had came to my mind that Sri Sri Ravishankar must have given a very good explanation. Indeed, He has. I remembered a post on Vikram Hazra’s blog, about the same. So those looking for spiritual significance of Maha Shivratri can read it on Sri Sri on Mahashivratri on his blog.
The day of Mahashivratri is celebrated with awesome enthusiasm all over India. Although, theShivratri_temple significance holds for the night. Devotees throngs in large numbers to Shiva Temples, from early morning. Shiva Temples normally are in large numbers in each cities of India. Temples of Lord Shiva can be located every mile or every few miles. All these temples attract large number of devotees.

MahaShivaratri pooja or worship of Shiva in Temples.

Apart from meditation part, It is seen that mostly the worship of Lord Shiva is done with great fervor. A post Worship of Sai Baba is worth reading. Although it is written on worship of Sai Baba it contains some essence about worship, it might be devoted to any form of God or Goddesses, who comes from one indivisible SatChitAnand (truth, consciousness, bliss).

Worship in Shiva temples

Normally worship in Siva Temple is done with offerings to Lord Shiva on the sacred Lingam, a sacred symbol of Shiva found in every temple of Lord Shiva.

shivratri_offerings Offerings to Lord Shiva

Offerings to Lord Shiva is made by all the devotees. Water is poured and offered on Lingam.
Flowers are offered. Milk is offered. Bael leaves also known as bili patra or belva or bel leafs are offered.
These five are basic offerings done to Lord Shiva with root Mantra Om Namah Shivay chanting.
There are various other offerings made  to Lord Shiva other than the chief and most offerings mentioned above.
Aarti of Lord Shiva on Maha Shivaratri.

Since this is the night of vigil meditation or intense devotion. On this particular occasion Shiva aarti is also performed at midnight. Below is the video of Shiva aarti. Lyrics and meaning of this Shiva aarti. And after the Aarti many devotees of Lord Shiva spent the rest of the night in Chanting of Shiva Mantra, singing bhajans (devotional songs), or meditating.

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