Maha Shivaratri: The Festival of Lord Shiva is on 24th February 2017
Every year Rudra Centre, organises a grand celebration for Maha Shivratri where devotees also participate in Rudra Abhishek. Bhajans, satsang with Neeta Singhal and Rudram chanting and dances are a part of this and devotees experience divine Shiva energy in the perfect ambience of Chakra Yog. You are welcome to attend this joyous celebration of union of Shiva with Shakti any time between 6:38 pm to 1:00 am. Participation is Free.
Maha Shivratri (known as "The Night of Shiva") is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in reverence of Lord Shiva. On this auspicious day devotees glorify, honor and worship Lord Shiva with sanctifying rituals throughout the night. For devotees of Shiva, this day is the most propitious day of the year as it is believed that whoever worships Him with true devotion is freed of all sins and is blessed with Nirvana or Moksha (liberation from the eternal cycle of life and death). As per the Vedas, the Universal Spiritual energy generated by favorable planetary positions is at its peak during this time. Thus Mahashivratri puja benefits and has a profound impact on the Supreme Lord’s devotees.
Mahashivaratri 2017 Festival Date and Time
Maha Shivratri occurs on the 14th night of the new moon, in the dark fortnight during the month of Phalgun. It falls on a moonless night in February or March and is celebrated with much fervor and enthusiasm to honor Lord Shiva. Mahashivratri 2017 falls on 24th February (Friday) this year.
Shivratri (in Sanskrit 'ratri' means night) is the night when Lord Shiva is believed to have performed the Tandava Nritya, the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction. This festival is commemorated for one day and one night only. Maha Shivratri is also known as Shivaratri (and written as Sivaratri, Shivaratri, Sivarathri or Shivarathri)
Maha Shivaratri Muhurta
Chaturdashi Tithi Begins: 09:38 pm on 24th Feb, 2017
Chaturdashi Tithi Ends: 09:20 pm on 25th Feb, 2017
Ratri First Prahar Puja Time: 06:38 pm to 09:45 pm (on 24th Feb)
Ratri Second Prahar Puja Time: 09:45 pm to 00:51 am (on 24th Feb)
Ratri Third Prahar Puja Time: 00:51 am to 03:57 am (on 25th Feb)
Ratri Fourth Prahar Puja Time: 03:57 am to 07:04 am (on 25th Feb)
Start wearing Rudraksha
This is the best time of the year to start wearing Rudraksha, the mystical beads dearest to Lord Shiva. Rudraksha beads have emanated from the tears of Lord Shiva himself. Since the cosmos is super charged with divine shambhu tatva on this occasion, wearing Rudraksha on Mahashivratri day is a special boon for Lord Shiva’s devotees.
Importance of Lord Shiva and Mahashivratri
Lord Shiva is the most revered Hindu God and one of the three main deities of Hinduism. He is the fountainhead of perfection, yoga, meditation, bliss and spirituality. In ancient Vedic times, renowned saints (Brahmins) sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for moksha, fabled warriors (Kshatriyas) prayed to Him for honor, strength and bravery, merchants and traders (Vaishyas) worshipped him for wealth and profits, and the servant class (Shudras) worshipped Him for daily bread and butter.According to Srimad Bhagvatam (4.6.34), Lord Shiva is flanked by Lord Kubera, the god of wealth and the four Kumaras, who are celibate and liberated souls. This denotes that the Supreme Lord is the sanctuary for both kinds of devotees, the ones who seek wealth and worldly pleasures and the ones who seek liberation from miseries of the world.
Story of Mahashivratri
There are many legends around Mahashivratri festival. According to one, after the Earth’s creation was complete, Maa Parvati asked Lord Shiva about the kind of rituals or worship that pleased Him the most. Lord Shiva replied that worshiping Him with Bel patra on the 14th day of the waning moon in the month of Phalgun by His devotees pleases Him the most. Goddess Parvati reiterated this to Her friends and word spread to all creation. From that time onwards, this day is celebrated as Mahashivratri.
Why We Celebrate Mahashivaratri
Maha Shivaratri is considered a propitious and mesmerizing night when all followers of Shiva must take refuge in Him to rid themselves of miseries and sufferings. Devotees all over the world wait for this night to seek the blessings from the Lord.1. Maha Shivaratri Significance
2. Significance of Maha Shivratri for Women
- As per Vedic scriptures, on the day of Maha Shivratri Lord Shiva revealed His Lingam form. Hence devotees perform the Rudra Abhishekham at midnight of Mahashivaratri to worship the formless Sadashiv.
- Shiva and Parvati got married on the day of Mahashivratri and due to the power of Parvati, Lord Shiva was transformed from a "Nirgun Brahman" to a "Sagun Brahman".
- It is believed that Maa Parvati followed strict penance for Lord Shiva.
- According to the legend of "Samundra Manthan" Shiva saved the whole world and humanity by consuming the poison Halahal, which emerged as a byproduct from the churning of Kshir Sagar or the milky ocean. With His immense Yogic powers He was able to stop the poison in His throat. The effect of the poison was such that it turned His throat blue and He became known as Neelkantha, the Blue Throated one.
- It is on this night that Shiva performed the Tandava, the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction.
3. Rituals on Maha Shivratri
- Mahashivratri is deemed a very auspicious occasion for women. On this night married women pray for the long life and well-being of their husbands and sons.
- Unmarried women pray for an ideal husband, just like Shiva, the husband of Kali, Parvati and Durga. It is believed that anyone who sincerely utters the name of Shiva or does Shiva mantra japa during Shivratri attains Moksha.
- Puja rituals on Mahashivratri primarily involve traditional Shivalinga worship.
- Shiva devotees wake up early in the morning and take a ritualistic bath (bathing in holy rivers like Ganga is considered highly auspicious on this day).
- They then offer prayers to Lord Surya, Lord Vishnu and Shiva as part of a purification rite observed on all important Hindu festivals.
- After wearing clean or new clothes, devotees visit their nearest Shiva Temple for Shivalinga abhishek or giving the Lingam a customary bath.
- Circumambulation around Shivalinga three or seven times is also done.
How to Perform Shivling Abhishek on Mahashivratri
Shiva devotees perform Maha Shivratri Puja and Abhishek Vidhi all through the night. According to the Shiv Purana, the Shivalingam should be bathed at an interval of every three hours on this night. The linga is bathed with five sacred offerings from a cow - the ‘panchagavya’ comprising of milk, curd, cow urine, ghee and cow dung. In addition to these, fragrant substances such as sandalwood paste, rosewater and honey are also offered. The Shiva Mantra "OM NAMAH SHIVAYA" is chanted during this entire ceremony. After this, milk, clarified butter, curd, honey and sugar (the 5 foods of immortality) are offered to the Shivling. Sandalwood paste is then applied on the linga. The leaves of Bilwa, Maredu and Wood apple trees are used for Shiv puja. Bilwa leaves (there is a belief that Goddess Lakshmi resides in them) are offered on top of the Shivaling. Ber or jujube fruit and beetle leaves are a special offering on this day. The fruit and flower of Dhatura, though poisonous, is sacred to Shiva and thus used as an offering. The Shivling is decorated with flowers and garlands. Incense and fruits are offered to the Lord.
Significance of Shivling Abhishek on Mahashivratri
|Ritual of Worshipping Shivling ||Spiritual Connotation |
|Bathing the Shiva Linga with water, milk and honey and offering Woodapple or bel leaves ||Represents purification of the soul |
|Applying sandalwood on Shiva Linga after bathing it ||Purification and filling oneself with divine fragrance |
|Offering of fruits ||Represents longevity and gratification of desires |
|Burning incense ||Surrender of senses to the Higher Self |
|Lighting of the lamp ||Attainment of knowledge |
|Offering betel leaves ||Represents satisfaction with worldly pleasures |
|Applying Tripundra on forehead and Shivling (three horizontal stripes of holy ash) ||Represents spiritual knowledge, purity and penance. (It also symbolizes the three eyes of Lord Shiva) |
1. How to Worship Lord Shiva on Mahashivaratri
Shiva devotees stay awake all through the night for Shivaratri puja. They spend the night in Shiva temples or wherever they are offering Puja. During the ritual worship, Shiva is offered special food made from the fruits of the season, root vegetables and coconuts. Those who observe Mahashivaratri fast break their fast the next morning by consuming the Prasad offered to Lord Shiva
2. Hymns and Mantras that please Lord Shiva
The Maha Mrityunjay Mantra from the Sukla Yajurveda Samhita III. 60
|| Om Trayambakam Yajaamahe Suganghim Pushtivardhanam Urvaarukmiva BandhanaanMrityor Mokshiya Mamritaat ||
The meaning of the Mantra is as follows:
"I worship thee, O sweet Lord of transcendental vision (the three -eyed one or Lord Siva). O giver of health and prosperity to all, may I be free from the bonds of death, just as a melon (or cucumber) is severed effortlessly from its bondage or attachment to the creeper".
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