All About Maha Sivaratri
Mahashivratri is one of the greatest and the most celebrated Hindu festivals when Lord Shiva is glorified, worshipped and honoured with sanctifying rituals throughout the night. The word Shiva means all auspicious. Maha means great, and Ratri means night. Maha Shivaratri means The Great Night of Shiva.
Maha Shivaratri is the most important and pious day of the year. It is believed that on the day of Mahashivratri whichever devotee of Lord Shiva worships Him with true devotion is absolved of all sins and is blessed with Nirvana (Moksha).
On Maha Shivratri the Universal Spiritual energy is at its peak and thus the effects of the prayers offered to Lord Shiva on the day of Mahashivaratri gets magnified many folds. Lord Shiva is the most revered Hindu God who, as all the Vedic scriptures confirm is the fountain-head of perfection, yoga, meditation, bliss and spirituality. In the ancient times or Vedic ages, prominent saints sought Lord Shiva’s blessing for moksha, Kshatriyas prayed to Him for strength and honor, merchants and traders worshipped him for economic gains and wealth, and servant class offered their prayers to Him for daily bread and butter. Lord Shiva is surrounded by saintly persons like Kubera, the lord of wealth, and the four Kumaras, who are celibate and liberated souls. It implies that Lord Shiva is the refuge for both, desirers of wealth and seekers of liberation from various miseries of the world.
Maha Shivrati means “Great Night of Lord Shiva”. It is believed that once when Maa Parvati asked Lord Shiva “what kind of rituals or worship by His devotees pleases Him the most?” Lord Shiva replied that worship with Bel patra on the 14th day of waning moon in the month of Phalgun by devotees pleases Him the most. From then onwards this day is celebrated as Mahashivratri.
Maha Shivaratri is considered as a blissful night when all followers of Shiva take refuge in him. Those who take refuge get free from all miseries and sufferings. Shivratri is considered as auspicious night for paying offerings and prayers to Lord Shiva. Followers all over the world wait for this night to seek blessings from Lord Shiva.
What to do on Mahashivaratri
Poojas and prayers offered during Maha Shivaratri are promised to be amplified 10 million times. If there is a time that you can purify your thoughts and activate the empowerment of your goals, it is this special night.
As a tradition, devotees wake up early in the morning of the Mahashivratri day and take a ritual sunrise bath, preferably in the holy waters of river Ganga. They also offer prayers to the Sun God, Vishnu and Shiva as a part of a purification rite observed on all important Hindu festivals. After wearing fresh new clothes, devotees visit the nearest Shiva Temple to give the customary bath to the Shiva linga. During this period, Shiva temples are swarmed by devotees, mainly women, who seek blessings of Lord Shiva by performing traditional Shiva linga pooja. As a ritual, circumambulation around Shiva linga for three or seven times and pouring water or milk over linga is done
Auspicious Muhurtha timings on Mahashivaratri:
- 1st prahar: 8:00PM
- 2nd prahar: 9:44PM
- 3rd Prahar: 12.52AM
- 4th prahar: 4:00AM
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:
OM. We worship the Three-eyed Lord who is fragrant and who nourishes and nurtures all beings. As is the ripened cucumber (with the intervention of the gardener) is freed from its bondage (to the creeper), may he liberate us from death for the sake of immortality.