This year Maha Shivaratri will fall on 11th March, Thursday. People all over India celebrate the day with utmost devotion and seek the sanctification of Shiva who is one of the Trinity, namely Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Worshipping Shiva on the day brings the most fruitful results; hence a large number of people in thousands can be seen in Shiva’s temples on Shivaratri.
Worshipping the Shiv Lingam by doing the Abhishekam is the most significant activity where people pour milk and water on the lingam. They then apply Chandan on it and worship by circling the incense sticks.
Legends of Maha Shivaratri
There are various legends related to the day or why Shivaratri is celebrated by devotees with so much festive vibe and devotion. One such legend is that on the day Lord Shiva got married to Parvati. All the Gods and Devas were contented with the bond of these two. The entire Kailash mountain was celebrating the marriage of the duo.
Some also say that the day is celebrated to remember the “Tandav” of Lord Shiva, which he performed on this auspicious night of Shivaratri. Tandav is considered to be the dance of primal creation, preservation, and destruction.
There is one other legend, according to which, on this day, Lord Shiva created himself in the form of a Lingam. Hence to celebrate Shiva’s Lingam form, devotees worship it, and they make it a grand night with their utmost devotion.
Traditions and Customs of Shivaratri
There are various traditions and customs that devotees perform to please Lord Shiva. However, that depends on place to place or the region of India. Performing Abhishekam, however, is a common ritual in all temples of Shiva. The majority of the devotees also observe fasting during which they only consume vrat-friendly foods; some devotees don’t take even a drop of water, such penance is performed to impress the Lord.
People on the day wake up early, take a bath, and wear white clothes since white is dear to Lord Shiva. Some devotees also visit the river Ganga and take a bath in it. Then they visit the nearby Shiva temple and perform the Abhishekam with water and raw milk. Devotees then apply the “Tripundra” tilak, which has three horizontal lines of sandalwood paste.
People then worship Shiva with incense sticks or Dhoop Batti. They submit their prayers and ask for a healthy, happy, and ailments-free life. They also chant the Mahamrityunjay mantra as the mantra is life-giving and purifies one’s soul completely. In fact, some devotees conduct a special Havan in their home where a priest chants the mantra at specific times.
On Shivaratri, the worship goes on day and night to please the Lord. The priest performs rituals according to the hours of the day. Every three hours, he conducts one Puja, which includes bathing the Shiva Lingam with milk, yogurt, honey, ghee, sugar, and water while chanting the Shiva mantras and ringing the bells. Devotees spend the night singing the hymns and devotional songs of Shiva.
Only in the morning, they break the fast by consuming the Prasadam offered to the deity. Spending the day this way brings people mental peace and stability in their life. It washes off one’s sins and makes a person earn good karma. This way, a devotee comes closer to ending the cycle of birth and death and becoming one with the infinite Lord.
Shivaratri brings benefits to everyone regardless of gender and age. Married or unmarried women both worship Shiva. In return, they get blessed by an understanding, calm and composed life partner. Married women experience maternal bliss and happiness from the children by worshipping Shiva. Women on Shivaratri pray for a husband like Shiva.
Shiva is also called “Bholenath” for a reason. Here Bhole means Innocent, and Nath means Lord. He is the one innocent God who gets pleased easily with minimum efforts from the devotee. A person who is blessed by Shiva’s grace receives a comfortable life in this world and after the world.
Don’t forget to invoke Lord Shiva this Shivaratri and fill your life with Shiva’s grace. If you have Kaalsarp Dosha in your horoscope, worshipping Shiva relieves it; you can also conduct the Dosha Mukti Puja on the day.
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