Maha Shivratri is a Hindu festival celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day of the Maagha month of the Hindu calendar. Shivaratri means the great night of Shiva or the night of Shiva.The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael or Bilva/Vilvam leaves to Lord Shiva, all-day fasting and an all-night-long vigil.
All through the day the devotees, chant the sacred Panchakshara mantra dedicated to Lord “Om Namah Shivay“. In accordance with scriptural and discipleship traditions, penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach life’s summum bonum steadily and swiftly.
According to the Shiv Purana, the Mahashivaratri worship must incorporate six items:
1.Bathing the Shiv Linga with water, milk and honey. Wood, apple or bel leaves are added to, which represents purification of the soul;
2.Vermilion paste is applied to the Shiv Linga after bathing it. This represents virtue;
3.Offering of fruits, which is conducive to longevity and gratification of desires;
4.Burning incense, yielding wealth;
5.The lighting of the lamp which is conducive to the attainment of knowledge;
6.And betel leaves marking satisfaction with worldly pleasures.
Numerous interesting and intriguing mythological stories are believed pertaining to the celebration to Maha Shivaratri. In a version, devotees believe that Shivratri is auspicious because it marks the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva and Parvati. However, many believe that Mahashivratri signifies the auspicious night when Lord Shiva performed the dance ‘Tandava’ that led to the creation, conservation and devastation of the universe.
Tripundra refers to the three horizontal stripes of holy ash applied to the forehead by worshipers of Lord Shiva. These stripes symbolise spiritual knowledge, purity and penance (spiritual practice of Yoga). They also represent the three eyes of Lord Shiva.
Significant of Shivratri for Women
Shivratri is considered especially auspicious for women. Married women pray for the well being of their husbands and sons, while unmarried women pray for an ideal husband like Shiva, who is the spouse of Kali, Parvati and Durga. But generally it is believed that anyone who utters the name of Shiva during Shivratri with pure devotion is freed from all sins. He or she reaches the abode of Shiva and is liberated from the cycle of birth and death.
Maha Shivratri Festival at Shri Pardeshwar Shiv Temple, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Shri Pardeshwar Shiv Temple situated at Aurangabad, celebrates mahashivratri in its unique and traditional way called as Chita Bhasma. On this auspicious day, Shivlinga abhishek is performed with ash from five different cremation grounds. Lord Shiva is considered as Smashan Jogi. Lord Shiva seldom liked to visit and stay at Smashan Bhoomi (cremation ground) and applied the ash all over his body. Smashan Jogi’s from five different smashan bhoomis arrive with the ash and perform chita bhasma (cremation ash) abhishek at pardeshwar mandir. Lakhs of Devotees gather together to celebrate the festival every year. Temple houses 111 kg of Parad (Mercury) shivling resting in 151 kg gandhak (sulphur) vedi (platform). This unique combination makes shivlinga extremely powerful and devotees believe that performing abhishek at the temple on the auspicious shivratri day, fulfil all wishes and bestows happy long life, wealth and peace.
Like each year, Maha Shivratri 2019 will be celebrated on Monday, March 04 by decorating the temple in floral colourful ways. Visit Pardeshwar Temple to obtain the blessings of Lord Shiva. Yagyapuja, our online partner specially provides this unique opportunity to all Lord Shiva devotees to perform shivlinga puja at Pardeshwar Shiv temple on the auspicious day of mahashivratri. Click here to participate.