Maha Shivaratri 2018 Vrat, Upwas, Puja Vidhi, Date Time, Festival, Tyohar, Utsav, Parv, Mahotsav

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 Maha Shivaratri  
13th February, 2018 (Tuesday)
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  Maha Shivaratri Muhurta  
Nishita Kaal Puja Time = 24:27+ to 25:17+
Duration = 0 Hours 50 Mins
On 14th, Maha Shivaratri Parana Time = 07:11 to 15:43

Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival observed yearly in worship of the god Shiva. It is the day Shiva was married to the goddess Parvati. The Maha Shivaratri festival, also usually known as ‘Shivaratri’ or ‘Great Night of Shiva’, marks the merging of Shiva and Shakti. Maha Shivaratri is observed on the Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi of Hindu calendar month Maagha as per Amavasya-ant month calculation. As per Poornima-ant month calculation, the day is Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi of Hindu calendar month Phalguna which comes in February or March as per the Gregorian calendar. Of the twelve Shivaratris in the year, the Maha Shivarathri is the holiest.

The festival is particularly celebrated by presents of Bael leaves to Shiva, all day fasting and an all-night-vigil (jagaran). All through the day, believers chant “Om Namah Shivaya”, the sacred mantra of Shiva. Penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach life’s biggest good steadily and swiftly. On this day, the worldly positions in the Northern hemisphere act as potent incentives to help a person raise his or her spiritual energy more efficiently. The benefits of powerful ancient Sanskrit mantras such as Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra improve greatly on this night.

In Nepal, millions of Hindus revisit Shivaratri together from various part of the world at the famous Pashupatinath Temple. Thousands of devotees also visit Mahasivaratri at the famous Shiva Shakti Peetham of Nepal.

In Indo-Caribbean communities throughout the West Indies, thousands of Hindus spend the auspicious night in over 400 temples across the country, offering special jal to Lord Shiva.

On Maha Shivaratri, Nishita Kala is the ideal time to perceive Shiva Pooja. Nishita Kala celebrates when Lord Shiva appeared on the Earth in the form of Linga. On this day, in all Shiva temples, the most favorable Lingodbhava Puja is performed.

Legends

Maha Shivaratri is connected with the marriage of Shiva and Shakti.

The legends mean that this day is the favorite of Lord Shiva and also throws light on his greatness and the mastery of Lord Shiva over all other Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

Maha Shivaratri also celebrates the night when Lord Shiva made the ‘Tandava’, the universal dance.

According to the different legend of Samudra manthan, Shiva saved the world from the destructive effects of a poison that emerged as a product of the churning of the sea (Samudra manthan), by applying the whole of the poison. Shiva could arrest the poison in his throat by his Yogic powers and it didn’t go down his throat. His neck turned blue due to the impact of the poison on his throat and henceforth he is also known as Neela Kantha or The Blue Throated.
Observances of Maha Shivaratri

Very fresh morning, Shiva temples are flocked by devotees, young and old, who come to perform the traditional Shivalinga worship (puja) and hence hope for gifts from the God. Devotees bathe at sunrise, before in the Ganga, or any other holy water origin. This is a rite of purification, which is an important part of all Hindu festivals. Endless clean clothing after the holy bath, worshippers carries pots of water to the temple to bathe the Shivalinga. Women and men both offer prayers to the Sun, Vishnu and Shiva. The temple reverberates with the sound of bells and shouts of “Shankerji ki Jai” meaning ‘Hail Shiva’. Devotees travel the lingam three or seven times, and then pour water over it. Some also pour milk over it.

According to the Shiva Purana, the Mahashivaratri worship must incorporate six items:

1- Bathing the Shiva Linga with water, milk and honey. Woodapple or bel leaves are added to, which represents pardoning of the soul;
2- Vermilion paste is applied to the Shiva Linga after washing it. This represents virtue;
3- Offering of fruits, which is helpful to longevity and gratification of desires;
4- Burning flame, yielding wealth;
5- The lighting of the lamp which is favorable to the attainment of knowledge;
6- And betel moves marking satisfaction with worldly desires.

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