Significance of Maha Shivaratri
Maha Shivratri, one of the biggest festivals of Hindus is celebrated religiously by the devotees of Lord Shiva throughout India. The prayer and puja performed by the devotees on the day of maha shivarari has lots of significance. Maha shivaratri festival is ‘The Night of Shiva’ celebrated with great devotion and religious dedication in honor of Lord Shiva, who is one of the deities of Hindu Trinity.
Ritual worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri festival falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalgun pleases Lord Shiva the most. The real celebration of Shivratri takes place in the temples on the night of “Chauthasand lasts till the morning of Amavas. The occasion of Maha Shivaratri has a different significance for different people.
Mahashivratri is famous for its fast act by the devotee of lord Shiva. Devotee took a fast on this day to make happy the lord Shiva for their batter fortune and happy life.
It is believed that worship of Lord Shiva with devotion and sincerity absolves a devotee of past sins. The devotee reaches the abode of Lord Shanker and lives there happily. He is also liberated from the cycle of birth and death and attains moksha or salvation.
Mahashivratri festival is also considered to be an extremely significant festival by women. Married and unmarried women observe fast and perform Shiva puja with sincerity to appease Goddess Parvati. Unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband. For housewives, it is the time to seek blessings of the Lord for their family and children.
There are several stories which are associated with this special grand night of Lord Shiva:
1. During Samudra Manthan by the gods and demons, a highly toxic poison came out of the ocean. As per the advice of Lord Vishnu, gods approached Lord Shiva and prayed him to protect life by consuming this poison. Pleased with their prayers, out of compassion for living beings, Lord Shiva drank this poison and held it in his throat by binding it with a snake. The throat became blue due to the poison (Thus Lord Shiva is also know as Neelakantha) and Shiva remained unharmed. The wise men advised gods to keep Lord Shiva awake during the night. To keep him awake, the gods took turn performing various dances and playing music. A vigil was thus kept by the gods in contemplation of Shiva. As the day broke out, Shiva, pleased with their devotion blessed them all, and also said that whosoever worshipped & contemplated on him on this day shall be blessed with the fulfillment of his or her wishes. Since then, on this day and night – devotees fast, keep vigil, sing glories of Lord and meditate.
2. Another legend associated with the significance of Mahashivaratri is King Daksha, opposed Sati’s marriage with Shiva. At a yagna (holy sacrifice) the king ignored Shiva’s presence and thereby insulted the latter publicly. Sati was so angered by this that she jumped into the sacrificial fire and ended her life. Lord Shiva unleashed his fury at the death of his wife by performing the violent dance, Tandava. He wiped out Daksha’s kingdom, undertook rigorous penance and retired to the Himalayas. The Gods, who feared that the severity of Shiva’s penance might bring an end to the world, revived Sati in the new avatar of Parvati. Shiva-Parvati married and this reunion is celebrated on Maha Shivaratri.
This is important day in India because on this day lord Shiva appeared on the earth in an especial form of Linga which is also known as the name of ‘Jyortilinga’. The linga is just a sign of lord Shiva. It has neither a beginning nor end itself.