Importance of Maha Shivratri in India
Religious celebration has been the popular tradition in India since ages which is the major part of every Hindu family. Festivals are another crucial part of celebrations in Hindu religion. Festivals are such vibrant occasions when everyone is immersed into the mood of enjoyment and refreshment. It becomes an adventurous thrill especially when the festivals are connected to spiritual celebration.
There are numerous wonderous festivals celebrated by Hindus one of which is Maha Shivratri which is one of the most revered one. It is the festival of Lord Shiva and Parvati which sets the pleasant aura around the place where sacred rituals are done. It is one of the popular festivals in Hindu religion which is celebrated by Hindus all over the planet.
Mythological Facts about Maha Shivratri:
There are more than one stories popular about the celebration of Maha Shivratri in India and other parts of the world. As known it is a great night of Lord Shiva that falls before the fourteenth night of the new moon. As per a myth, the day marks the existence of Shiva Linga which happened due to a conflict between trinity (Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh).
The discussion was about who is more powerful due to which Lord Brahma (the creator) went on search of beginning and Lord Vishnu (the preserver) towards the end of Shiva. After thousands of years they were not able to find the end or beginning of Lord Shiva which proved his eternity. In this way, Shiva Linga appeared on this day which is now celebrated as Maha Shivratri.
According to another popular story, Maha Shivratri is celebrated as the union of Lord Shiva with goddess Parvati. This is the day when they tie nuptial knots with each other on the 14th night before the amavasya. Lord Shiva being Purusha personifies (mindfulness) and goddess Parvati personifies (prakrati) nature. The union of these two elements triggers the creation in the universe.
According to another story, it is also a night of performing a dance of creation, preservation and destruction by Lord Shiva popularly known as ‘Tandava’.
The celebration of Maha Shivratri is the auspicious occasion during which people are thrilled with an immense amount of enthusiasm. The entire function includes many activities from sacred ceremonies, to chanting of shlokas and performance of royal rituals. People enjoy the festivity in a similar way like attending a marriage function.
The celebration is usually different at different places with some or the other inclusions and deductions as per the local culture.
People keep a day long fast and offer milk, water, bel patra and dhatura as it is considered sacred on this day. Hindus perform an overnight pooja of Shiv Linga on the night of Maha Shivratri accompanied with chanting of Shiv stotram and shlokas.
At many places heavy events, fairs along with a week long recitation of Shiv Puranas at many temples are organized.
Every spiritual occasion has some or the other historical, religious or celestial history behind its existence. Shivratri or Maha Shivratri also has a reason behind its occurrence which is connected to the position of the moon. According to the Hindu lunar calendar Shivratri falls on every fourteenth day (just before Amavasya or the new moon day) of every month. In this way there happens to be about twelve to thirteen Shivratri every year with Maha Shivratri once in a year.
Maha Shivratri occurs in the month of maagha that is during February and March every year. It is believed that there is a flow of some energies on Maha Shivratri in the northern hemisphere, observed by the experts. This does not happen on other Shivaratris.
It is believed that by following all the rituals, keeping fast, worshipping Shiv Linga along with goddess Parvati people get the blessings of Shiva. Married couples pray for a happy married life, young girls for a good husband and devotees worship Lord Shiva to attain moksha.
Devotees do meditation, keep fast and recite Shiv kathas which leads them to understand the truth of life. People realize the value of human birth and develop an understanding that ego and pride will only lead to unsatisfied life. Maha Shivratri is the day of gaining and absorbing the energies that rise on this day and inspires people to become an ascetic.
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