Maha Shivratri 2014
Maha Shivratri, the grand night of Shiva this year will fall on 27th of February 2014. Maha Shivratri will fall on a moonless February night; it is celebrated annually with much fervor and enthusiasm to honor Lord Shiva. Maha shivratri is celebrated in the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) on the 13th night or 14th day of Maagha or Phalguna (February or March).
On Mahashivratri one can find long serpentine queues outside all big and small Shiva temples. The six items that must be included in Shiva Puja on Mahashivratri according to the Shiva Purana are Bael Leaves, Fruits preferably Ber (jujube fruit) or Datura, Vermilion Paste, Betel Leaves and Incense or Oil Lamp. According to Vedic scriptures, devotees who worship Lord Shiva with thorough devotion on the auspicious day of Mahashivratri are freed from all past sins and are ultimately blessed with Moksha by Lord Shiva. On the day of Mahashivratri, chanting of Shiva Mantras like 'Om Namah Shivaya' or Mahamritunjaya Mantra using a Rudraksha Japa Mala is also considered as very auspicious.
On the day of Maha Shivratri special celebrations are organized in all Shiva temples big or small. Maha Shivratri is celebrated throughout the night and day. All Shiva temples big or small are decorated to the hilt. Worshipping Lord Shiva and chanting Om Namah Shivaya on Mahashivratri washes away bad karma of this life and that of past lives. Pujas offered on the day of Mahashivratri gets amplified many folds, Mahashivratri is the best day to purify one's thought or to undertake one's spiritual journey. Lord Shiva is Bholenath, the innocent, merciful, compassionate and by worshipping Him on the day of Maha Shivratri devotees ensures Lord Shiva's blessings. Maha Shivratri celebrations specially at the Twelve Jyotirlingas are spell bounding filled with fervor and devotion.
Legends associated with Maha Shivratri:
1. On the day of Maha Shivratri at midnight, Lord Shiva revealed his Lingam form. Thus devotees perform the Rudra Abhishekham at midnight of Mahashivratri to worship the formless Sadashiv.
2. Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati got married on the day of Maha Shivratri. Thus from 'Nirgun Brahman' He became "Sagun Brahman" due to Maya power of Parvati.
3. Lord Shiva drank the poison Halahal that emerged during the churning of Kshir Sagar or the milky ocean and saved the world from humanity on this day. Due to the poison the Lord's throat turned as He came to be known as 'Neelkantha'.
4. Lord Shiva had revealed to Maa Parvati that the 14th night of the Krishna Paksha is His favorite night and that devotees who worship Him on thus night will surely receive His blessings
5. Also on the night of Mahashivratri Lord Shiva is said to have revealed the Tandava, the dance of primordial conception, preservation, sustenance and destruction
6. On the day of Mahashivratri, Maa Parvati performed strict penance for Lord Shiva
Rituals to worship Lord Shiva on Maha Shivratri as per the Shiva Purana:
Bathing of the Shiva Lingam with water, milk, honey and bel patra – this symbolizes purification of soul
Vermilion paste is applied on the Lingam – this symbolizes virtue
Fruits are offered, which is helpful in longevity and gratification of desires
Incense are lighted, which symbolizes yielding of wealth
Oil lamps are lit, which symbolizes knowledge
Betel leaves are offered which represents satisfaction with worldly pleasures
On the day of Maha Shivratri, Shiva Abhishekam is done with Sugarcane Juice (for Laxmi), Honey (for Wealth), Milk (for child), Water (for removal of miseries), Ghee (for progeny), Mustard (for protection against enemies) and with Gangajal (for Moksha). Dhatura fruit and flower are also offered to Lord Shiva and even though they are poisonous, they are believed to be a favorite of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is worshipped in Lingam form throughout the night; the Lingam is bathed every three hours with the 5 sacred offerings from a cow, called the 'Panchagavya'. The Panchagavya contains milk, sour milk, urine, butter and dung. Milk, Clarified Butter, Curd, Honey and Sugar are also placed before the Lingam.
On Maha Shivaratri Lord Shiva is worshipped either one time or four times during the night. The whole night duration is divided into four segments (Prahars) and Maha Shivaratri Puja of Lord Shiva is performed during each of the four Prahars. Lord Shiva is Supreme, He is Mahayogi, He is Chandrashekhar, He is originator of the Ganga, He is the one and only Aghora who understands the Tantra of this cosmos, He is Mahadeva, He is Bholenath, He is Rudra. Devotees worship Lord Shiva with dedication and devotion on the day of Maha Shivaratri to seek His blessings, so that they can live a fulfilling life and ultimately attain Moksha.
Benefits of worshipping Lord Shiva on Mahashivaratri
• The act of ablution of Lord Shiva purifies the worshipper's soul.
• Offering of Naivaidya helps the devotee to attain a satisfactory life.
• Lighting a lamp, blessed the worshipper with knowledge.
• Offering of Tambul fulfils your wishes.
• Offering of Darbha (a kind of grass) will drive away all types of diseases. If honey, ghee and sugarcane are offered to Lord Shiva, one can attain wealth.
• By bathing Lord Shiva with the holy water will help in attaining salvation.
Wearing a rosary made from the Rudraksha when worshipping Lord Shiva is ideal as it is His favorite.
Mantra for Mahashivaratri
The best mantra is Maha Mrityunjay Mantra from the Sukla Yajurveda Samhita III. 60.
|| Om Trayambakam Yajaamahe
Mrityor 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.
Maha Shivratri Maha Puja
Anyone who worships Shiva on the day of Maha Shivratri is freed from all bondages and sins of Karma and moves on the path towards Moksha. Devotees who worship Lord Shiva with true devotion on Mahashivratri are freed from all sins and are blessed with health, wealth and success.
Maha Shivratri Articles
Bhajans for Maha Shivratri
Shiv Mala Audio CD part-I
• Shiv Mahimna Stotra • Shiv Panchakshar Stotra
• Shiv Manas Puja
• Dvadash Jyotirlinga
• Mantra Pushpanjali
Shiv Mala Audio CD part-II
• Shiv Tandav Stotra
• Natraj Stuti
• Shivoham shivoham
• Jaye Shambho-Dhun
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The Twelve Jyotirlingas dedicated to Lord Shiva:
- Somnath Temple (Gujarat)
- Mallikarjun Temple (Andhra pradesh)
- Mahakaleshwara Temple (Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh)
- Omkareshwar Temple (Madhya Pradesh)
- Vaidyanath Temple (Deogarh, Bihar)
- Bhimashankar Temple (near Pune, Maharashtra)
- Rameshwaram Temple (Tamil Nadu)
- Nageshwar Temple (Dwarka, Gujarat)
- Vishwanath Temple (Varanasi)
- Trimbakeshwar Temple (Nasik, Maharashtra)
- Kedarnath Temple (Uttarakhand)
- Grishneshwar Temple (Daulatabad, Maharashtra)