Maha Shivratri: 11th March 2021
One of the most auspicious festivals of the Hindus known as the Maha Shivratri is celebrated with great pomp and show, as Hindu communities across the world dedicate this day to Lord Shiva and offer their devotion to the mighty God.
The word ‘MahaShivaratri,’ means the great night of Lord Shiva and the night in which, the great Lord according to Indian mythology appeared as the form of the Linga. This was also the night in which Lord Shiva married His beloved Parvati, culminating the bond of truth (satyam), infinite love (shivam), beauty (sundaram), and power (shakti).
A powerful night of deep contemplation and prayer, it is believed that this is the night we are to stay awake, keeping our spine erect, so that we are able to draw positive vibrations into our bodies through our spine, to eradicate old and stagnant energies that serve us no more. It is also a time to charge our bodies to their heightened state, so that we elevate the etheric and celestial processes from within, conferring newness into our sacred vessels.
The night on this day when the constellations are in a particular position is very auspicious for meditation. And so, it is very useful for people to keep awake and meditate on Shivratri.”
There is an ancient saying, ‘If you cannot meditate every day, do so at least one day in a year, on Shivratri day; keep awake and do meditation’. Awaken the Divinity that is deep within you – this is the message.
It is a major festival in Hinduism, but one that is solemn and marks a remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance,” in life and the world. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, doing Yoga, and meditating on ethics and virtues such as self-restraint, honesty, forgiveness, and non-injury to others.
According to Hindu mythology Lord Shiva performed the divine dance, ‘Tandava Nritya,’ on this night depicting ‘Srishti,’ that is creation; ‘Sthiti,’ that is preservation; and ‘Samhara,’ that is vinasha or destruction.
The special puja of Lord Shiva is performed at ‘Nishita Kala,’ which is the day when Lord Shiva manifested in the form of a Lingodbhava.
This day further signifies the eradication of all sin, greed, and negative forces from life, if one utters the name Shiva with utmost dedication and devotion. The purity and sanctity of this festival is an ode to eliminating darkness from everyone’s lives, with the blessing of Lord Shiva.
RITUALS OF MAHASHIVARATRI
- Mould a Shivling from Vibhuti (holy ash) powder or sandalwood powder and place Vilvapatra (vilva leaf), on the Shivling. Offer flowers and prasad (food offering).
- Place the Shivling on a plate and place the plate on the NE or E quadrant of the home.
- Perform Sankalpa (intention setting) for whatever you desire to invite into your life.
- Offer Pitru puja (prayer to ancestors) and Karma Puja.
- Offer 3 ghee lamps (represent of the trinity), with betel nut leaves and whole betel nuts.
- Offer Pushpanjali and aarati (offering of flowers and fire). Offer incense or agarbatthi.
- Chant Om Namah Shivaya 1008x
- Recite Rudrashtakam and Lingashtakam.
- Practice silent meditation with spine erect.
MahaShivaratri is also a time of stilling and silencing the body and mind to the point that the vibration of the mantra Om Namah Shivaya offers its resonance through our breath and our heartbeat while invoking the dormant aghori (devout believer of Shiva) from deep within – cajoling the deep knowing that we are all born with.
May your ascend in your flight!
HAR HAR MAHADEV
*Art by Anuradha Mahesh
SUJATA NANDY WORLD GURUKUL