Significance of Mahashivaratri 2017 : Great night of Lord Shiva
In 2017, Mahashivratri, the ‘Great Night of Lord Shiva’, will be celebrated date on 24th February 2017 Friday. Maha Shivaratri refers to the reunion of Shiva and Shakti, and the perfect time to satisfy Lord Shiva in order to get his blessings. Read on to know more.
Mahashivaratri 2017 date
Shivratri is celebrated on the Chaturdashi of every Hindu lunar month according to the classical text Nirnaya Sindhu. The Chaturdashi which falls in the dark fortnight of the Magha month of Hindu calendar is called Maha Shivratri. The day is regarded as auspicious for getting the blessings of Lord Shiva, so people do various things to impress Lord Shiva on Maha Shivratri.
What Is Maha shivratri?
The word ‘Maha’ means ‘great’, and ‘Shivratri’ means ‘the night of Shiva’. So it is known as ‘great night of lord Shiva’. On the occasion of Maha Shivratri, people keep fast. You can also keep a fast on Mahashivratri to show your dedication and devotion towards Lord Shiva. Maha Shivratri is celebrated in a huge manner in India, with Nepal joining the gusto of this grand celebration. There are several facts related with Maha Shivratri.
Maha shivratri 2017: Worship & Fast
Devotees should eat only one meal on the day preceding the night of Chaturdashi Tithi (be it the day of Chaturdashi or Trayodashi Tithi) according to the classical text Nirnaya Sindhu. It also states that devotees should worship Shiva Parivar on the same night also. The fast starts from the next morning after performing all the daily routine tasks like bathing, worshiping, etc. Devotees need to start the fast after taking oath of observing it with full devotion. But if Chaturdashi continues till the night, the fast should not be broken even after dusk. Instead it should be followed until the Chaturdashi Tithi gets over.
Devotees celebrate Mahashivratri with great enthusiasm. People sing religious songs and hymns in order to please Lord Shiva. All over the country, the temples are decorated, as Mahashivaratri is celebrated on a large scale. On this particular day, people offer wood apple leaves, milk and water, etc. while worshiping Lord Shiva. These things are considered favorite things of Lord Shiva.
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All over the night, devotees chant Mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” to please Lord Shiva. The proper method of keeping a fast and celebrating the great festival of Mahashivratri, dedicated to Lord Shiva are mentioned below:-
- Devotees need to take bath with a water that is boiled with sesame seeds in it and wear new clothes.
- Devotees keep fast and can only eat fruits and drink milk as part of their diet.
- They visit the nearest temple of Lord Shiva and the puja is done by bathing the Shiva Lingam with milk, water and honey etc. They also chant the mantra “Om Namah Shivaya”.
- After performimg this sacred bath, turmeric and vermilion are applied on the Shiva Lingam with a garland of lotus flowers over it.
- Bel leaves are kept on the top of the Lingam.
- Then, the devotees sing hymns and prayers along with lighting the incense sticks.
- The devotees ring the bell of the temple at last to get the blessings of Lord Shiva.
Mahashivratri 2017: Significance of Fast
It is believed that if a person observes Maha Shivaratri fast with full devotion and dedication, then the person can overcome all evils. The fast of Mahashivratri enables to control the two natural tendencies. One is Rajas Guna which refers to thequality of acting with passion, and other one is Tamas Guna which refers to the quality of being less active. According to the belief if a person observes the fast and remains awake the whole night to worship Lord Shiva, then the person suppress and conquers the Tamas Guna. A person, who can get over this Guna, lives a happy life free from the unending cycle of birth and death.
Spiritual Significance of Maha Shivratri
Shiva and Shakti are the symbol of awareness and oneness. In english ‘maha’ means big, Shiva indicates positivity, and Ratri means night. So, one can identify his/her inner self on the day of Maha Shivratri. As night indicates ignorance, so Maha Shivaratri tells that one can rescue from the darkness of ignorance. One can also achieve higher level of divinity by worshiping Lord Shiva.
Legends of Mahashivratri
There are various legends that are associated with Maha Shivaratri. They are related to different incidents, but they all tell the story about the importance of Mahashivratri.
Marriage of Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati
At first, Lord Shiva got married to Sati, daughter of King Daksha. But king Daksha was not happy with the marriage. During a Yagna (holy sacrifice), King Daksha insulted Lord Shiva. Sati became very angry. Unable to bear her husband’s insult, she jumped into the fire of Yagna, and finished her life. Lord Shiva became furious and performed Tandav nritya(violent dance) in anger and cut off Daksha’s head. He then went to the Himalayas, as he was sad on his wife’s death. Seeing all this, all gods planned to bring back Lord Shiva; so they made Sati in the form of Goddess Parvati. When Lord Shiva and Parvati got married, that occasion was named as Mahashivratri.
Lord Shiva: The Neelkanth
It is believed that the process of the churning of Ocean (Samudra Manthan) took place by all the gods and demons. This Manthan was planned to get Amrit or the immortality nectar out of the ocean. But, during this churning, a very poisonous toxin came out from the mouth of the snake. That toxin was poisonous enough to kill everyone on the earth. So, Lord Vishnu advised all the gods to go to Lord Shiva and ask him for help. Lord Shiva agreed to save the earth when all the gods went o him. The poison turned his throat blue, and so he was named as Neelkanth. It was told to keep Lord Shiva awake all over the night in order to get safety from any after effects of poison. To keep him awake, all gods performed various dance forms and played music. Lord Shiva became happy by the pleasing devotion of all the gods in the morning. He said that if anyone would worship and please him on the day of Mahashivratri, his/ her wishes will get fulfilled. From that day onward, the process goes on like this.
Emergence of Jyotirlinga: The Pillar Of Light
Once Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma had a fight about who is greater among them. When the quarrel kept on rising, all the gods went to the Lord Shiva, and asked him to solve the matter between them. Lord Shiva then came to finish the fight between them. He formed a pillar of light between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, and asked them to find the end of the light emitting from the pillar. Sitting on swan, Lord Brahma went up while Lord Vishnu went toward earth sitting on Varaha. Brahma while going up saw that Ketaki was falling down from the top of the pillar. So, he took it along with it to prove that he saw the top of fire pillar. Failing to find the end, Lord Vishnu came back. But whenLord Brahma was laying, Lord Shiva told him that he will not be worshiped and Ketaki flower will also not be used for worshiping gods. Lord Shiva emerged as the pillar of light, on the fourteenth day of Hindu month of Magha. Since then, the day is celebrated as Maha Shivratri.
Hope this article will help you to understand the significance of Mahashivaratri.
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