. Mahashivaratri Festival or the The Night of Shiva is celebrated with devotion and religious fervor in honor of Lord Shiva, one of the deities of Hindu Trinity. Shivaratri falls on the moonless 14th night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Phalgun, which corresponds to the month of February - March in English Calendar. Celebrating the festival of Shivaratri devotees observe day and night fast and perform ritual worship of Shiva Lingam to appease Lord Shiva.
Legends of Mahashivratri
. There are various interestinglegendsrelated to the festival of Maha Shivaratri. According to one of the most popular legends, Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Some believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed theTandava,the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction. Another popular Shivratri legend stated in Linga Purana states that it was on Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga. Hence the day is considered to be extremely auspicious by Shiva devotees and they celebrate it asMahashivaratri- the grand night of Shiva.
Traditions and Customs of Shivaratri
. Various traditions and customs related to Shivaratri Festival are dutifully followed by the worshippers of Lord Shiva. Devotees observe strict fast in honor of Shiva, though many go on a diet of fruits and milk some do not consume even a drop of water. Devotees strongly believe that sincere worship of Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Shivaratri, absolves a person of sins and liberates him from the cycle of birth and death. Shivaratri is considered especially auspicious for women. While married women pray for the well being of their husbands unmarried women pray for a husband like Lord Shiva, who is regarded as the ideal husband. To mark the Shivratri festival, devotees wake up early and take a ritual bath, preferably in river Ganga. After wearing fresh new clothes devotees visit the nearest Shiva temple to give ritual bath to the Shiva Lingum with milk, honey, water etc. On Shivaratri, worship of Lord Shiva continues all through the day and night. Every three hours priests perform ritual pooja of Shivalingam by bathing it with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water amidst the chanting of ???Om Namah Shivaya and ringing of temple bells. Nightlong vigil or jaagran is also observed in Shiva temples where large number of devotees spend the night singing hymns and devotional songs in praise of Lord Shiva. It is only on the following morning that devotee break their fast by partaking prasad offered to the deity.
When is Shivaratri
. Auspicious festival of Mahashivaratri falls on the 13th or the 14th night of the new moon during Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Phalgun. The Sanskrit term, Krishna Paksha means the period of waning moon or the dark fortnight and Phalguna corresponds to the month of February - March in English Calendar. Shivaratri Festival is celebrated on a moonless night. According to Hindu mythology, Shivaratri or Shivas Great Night symbolizes the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Many however, believe, Shivaratri is the night when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Nritya - the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction. Celebrating the festival in a customary manner, devotees give a ritual bath to the Lingam with the panchagavya - milk, sour milk, urine, butter and dung. Celebrations of Shivaratri Festival mainly take place at night. Devotees of Lord Shiva throng Shiva temples across the country and spend the Night of Lord Shiva by chanting verses and hymns in praise of the Lord. The festival holds special meaning for the ladies. They pray to Goddess Parvati also called ?Gaura?, the giver of ?suhag? for good husbands, marital bliss and a long and prosperous married life.
. Devotees of Lord Shiva observe the Shivaratri Festival by following the prescribed rituals with sincerity and devotion. All through the day, devotees abstain from eating food and break their fast only the next morning, after the nightlong worship. Ritual baths of Shivalinga in the numerous Shiva temples by Shiva worshipper, mainly women, is another significant feature of Shivratri customs and traditions. Devotees strongly believe that ritual worship of Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Shivaratri absolves them of past sins and they are blessed with Moksha. Rituals Observed on a Shivaratri Morning 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 Shivalinga. On a Shivratri day, Shiva temples are thronged by devotees, mainly women, who come to perform the traditional Shivalinga pooja and seek blessings from the god. At times there is so much rush in the temples that devotees have to wait for their turn to observe pooja. At their turn for worship, devotees circumambulate the Shivalinga, three or seven times, and then pour water over it. Some also pour milk. Sounds of bell and shouts of Shankarji ki Jai or (Hail Shiva) reverberate in the temple premises.
. Shivaratri Pooja has been given tremendous significance in Hindu mythology. It is said that ritual worship of Lord Shiva on a Shivaratri day pleases Lord Shiva the most. Devotees further believe that by pleasing Lord Shankara on the auspicious Shivaratri day, a person is absolved of past sins and is blessed with Moksha or salvation. Merits of Shivaratri Puja According to Shiva Purana, sincere worship of Lord Shiva yields merits including spiritual growth for the devotees. It also provides extensive details on the right way to perform Shivratri Puja. Shiva Purana further says that performing abhisheka of ShivaLinga with six different dravyas including milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water while chanting Sri Rudram, Chamakam and Dasa Shanthi pleases Lord Shiva the most. According to the mythology, each of these dravya used in the abhisheka blesses a unique quality: Milk is for the blessing of purity and piousness. Yogurt is for prosperity and progeny. Honey is for sweet speech. Ghee is for victory. Sugar is for happiness. Water is for purity.
. Shivaratri Celebrations in India are marked with devotion and religious fervor. Joy is writ large on the faces of millions of Lord Shiva devotees as they start preparing for the biggest Lord Shiva festival in advance. Celebrations of Shivaratri began with the break of the dawn on the Shivratri day and continue all though the night. Devotees observe fast and spend the day in devotion and worship of Lord Shiva. Many worshippers also participate in the jaagran or the night vigil organized in various Shiva temples across the country. Devotees believe that sincere observance of Shivaratri puja and all night worship of Lord Shiva will absolve them of all their sins and liberate them from the cycle of birth and death. Shivaratri Celebrations in Temples After the ritual bath, preferably in the sacred waters of river Ganga, devotees pay a visit to the nearest Lord Shiva temple carrying the traditional puja items like milk, water, bel leaves, fruits, incense stick, oil lamp etc. Due to massive popularity of the festival several stalls selling puja items come up outside the temple and do a thriving business.
. The auspicious festival of Maha Shivaratri is celebrated with devotion and religious fervor all over India and even beyond. Though fasting and worship of Shiva Linga with a ritual bath remain the common feature of Shivaratri celebrations at all places, minor variations due to regional difference can be observed in some states. Please read on to know more about regional celebrations of Shivratri. You will be surprised to know, about the various interesting traditions and customs of Shivratri Festival and the zeal with which devotee of Lord Shiva follow them. Shivaratri Celebrations in Various States of India ? Andhra Pradesh ? Assam ? Himachal Pradesh ? Jammu and Kashmir ? Karnataka ? Madhya Pradesh ? Orissa ? West Bengal Shivaratri Celebrations around the World ? Mauritius ? Nepal Andhra Pradesh Festival of Shivaratri is observed with extreme enthusiasm in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Devotees throng the various important Shiva temples in the state mainly Sri Kalahasteshwara Temple at Kalahasti and the Bharamarambha Malikarjunaswamy Temple at Srisailam. Devotees also observe fast and chant mantras in honor of Lord Shiva to mark the auspicious festival. Assam In the North-Eastern state of Assam, the hub of Shivratri celebrations is at the Umananda Temple, situated on the Peacock Island in the middle of Brahamaputra river in Guwahati, the capital of Assam. Thousands of Shiva devotees from all over the country pay a visit to the temple on the occasion of Shivaratri. Sibsagar, the capital of the erstwhile Ahom kings, is the other major centre of Mahashivaratri celebrations in Assam. Himachal Pradesh The Temple of Bhutnath at Mandi in Himachal Pradesh is said to host the biggest Shivaratri Puja in the country. Every year on Shivratri Festival, the Governor of the state leads a Shobha Yatra at a function inaugurated by the Chief Minister. The royal family of Mandi started the tradition some 500 years ago. An eight-day-long fair is also organized which witness the participation of artists from India and even beyond. Top Jammu and Kashmir Hindus of Kashmir observe Shivaratri with utmost zeal and devotion. Here, Shivratri is celebrated for three weeks or 21 days, beginning on the first day of the dark fortnight of Phalguna (locally known as hur ukdoh) and end on the 8th day of the bright half of Phalguna. Kashmiri Brahmins perform Shivaratri puja on the 13th day of the dark half of Phalguna Krishna Paksha to mark Lord Shiva?s wedding with Uma, the beautiful daughter of the Himalayas. In keeping with their hospitable nature, Kashimiri Brahmins offer even non-vegetarian food in puja to entertain Bhairavas who are said to form the major part of Shiva?s baaraat. Shivratri puja in Jammu and Kashmir is performed in a very distinctive way. Two pots (called kalash), depicting Shiva and Parvati are filled with walnuts soaked in water. These walnuts are taken out only on the third day which usually falls on the no moon day or amavasya. On the third day this walnut which is wet is distributed to all friends and neighbours as prasad. On the chaturdashi (14th day after full moon) there is the real feasting when the families invite each other for dinners. In Kashmir, Shivaratri is also called Hayrath, which is the corrupt form of hairat, a Persian word meaning ?utter surprise?. The term was coined during the Pathan occupation of the valley. Besides, Shivaratri puja is better known as Vatuk Puja in Kashimir where Vatuk means, collection or an assemblage of different objects. The name has been given because the main puja on Shivaratri day involves collection of a large number of articles. The name could also be traced to the term Vatuk Dev, Lord Shiva?s celibate form. People in Kashmir also worship Vatuk Bhairav, said to be Shiva?s most trusted dwarpal (gatekeeper). This is done in a bid to seek his favor for an audience with the Lord. On Hayrath day the children are given money as a gift called "herat kharch". Interestingly it is not only children who receive gifts, for even husbands give gifts to their wife and the elder brother gives to younger brother. On the next day there is also a tradition to play the game of "harr" which is played with the help of sea shells.Karnataka Festival of Maha Shivaratri is observed with pomp and enthusiasm in the southern state of Karnataka. A grand Sri Shidlingappa?s fair is observed to mark the auspicious occasion. Deity is taken to the river in a palanquin accompanied by drummers (Dollu and Majalu) from several neighboring and is then worshipped. Linagayats, people of the Shiva cult, worship Linga on Shivaratri. Following a tradition, married women wear a linga made of silver or gold on their body. In southern Karnataka, children make believe that they are kings and dole out punishments to all and sundry. This particular tradition is based on the mythological legend related with Shivaratri that narrates the story of Shiva punishing Brahma for lying about measuring the length of Linga. Madhya Pradesh Shivaratri is celebrated with religious fervor in the state of Madhya Pradesh. As a tradition, people in Madhya Pradesh take a holy dip in Sagar tank in Khajuraho. The place houses a beautiful Shiva temple. Bundelkhand Region, which has a stronghold of Shaivites hosts the biggest Shivaratri celebrations in the state. A large number of Lord Shiva devotees flock the Matangeshwar Temple and worship throughout the night. Highpoint of the Shivaratri celebrations at the Matangeshwar Temple is the 10-day-long fair that witness the participation of traders, peddlers and gypsies from other parts of the state. Display of traditional fare and a variety of handicrafts besides the rural circus show, magic shows, folk theatre, and merry-go-rounds add to the excitement. Orissa Festival of Maha Shivaratri is celebrated with devotion and enthusiasm in the state of Orissa. Major centres of Shivaratri celebrations in the state are Lingaraj Temple and Hakateswar Temple Atri. Shiva temples located at Mahendragiri, Gupteswar, Kapilas, Bhubaneswar and Khiching also draw a large of pilgrims from across the state. Shivaratri celebration at Lokanath Temple, Puri is also quite popular. According to a legend popular in Orissa, long ago, Puri was a center of Shiva worship. The story goes, Lord Ramachandra himself installed the Lingam in the Lokanath Temple. This lingam is kept submerged, in a vat of water. It can only be seen on Pankodhar Ekadasi, before Shivaratri, when the water is removed from the vat. On that day, thousands of devotees come for a darshan.West Bengal In the state of West Bengal the festival of Maha Shivaratri is performed with great devotion and enthusiasm. On a Shivaratri day, devotees in West Bengal fast through out the day. Following the tradition, they also make four Shivlings made of clay of the holy river Ganga. These Shivlings are later offered in puja in four "prahars" (a meassure of time equal to 3 hours) of the night. In the first prahar one of the shivalings is bathed in milk. In the second period it is bathed with curd, in the third with ghee and in the fourth with honey. The devotees also stay awake the all - through the Shivaratri night. The following morning, they pray, listen to religious discourses, feed the Brahmins, offer them dakshina (alms) and finally break their fast with prasad. At some places in West Bengal, Mahashivratri celebrations are confined to the Shiva temples. Women visit the temple carrying a copper vessel containing milk and water. They also carry with them leaves of woodapple tree, a wood apple, fruits and flowers and a lamp. As a tradition followed in many places, devotees bathe Shiva Linga with water mixed with milk. Puja is performed and fruits and flowers are offered. After Puja they return home to break their fast with fruits. At the temple of Tarakeshwar, 57 km from Kolkata, bare-footed pilgrims carry containers filled with the sacred water of river Ganga to pour over the stone image of the Lord and decorate the granite Lingum with garlands and flowers, as a mark of their devotion. Shivaratri Celebrations around the World Shivaratri is celebrated by Hindus located anywhere in the world. However, celebrations are marked in countries where there is a significant Hindu population. Mauritius In Mauritius, Maha Shivaratri is celebrated in a big way for over three days. A large number of island?s Hindu population makes a pilgrimage to the holy volcanic lake, Grand Bassin and make food sacrifices and stockpile vessels of the holy water. Nepal Shivaratri is a much-anticipated festival in the Hindu kingdom of Nepal. Thousands of pilgrims and holy men from all over Southeast Asia flock Nepal weeks before the festival to worship at the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. This Lord Shiva temple is considered as one of the holiest shrines of the Hindus. To mark the festival of Mahashivaratri, devotees fast through out the day. They also take a holy bath or dip in the river on a Shivaratri morning and visit the temple to worship.
. Shivaratri Fast is considered to be the most important fast for the devotees of Lord Shiva. Shiva Purana goes on to say that if a devotee observes Shivaratri Vrata with sincerity, pure devotion and love he is blessed with the divine grace of Lord Shiva. Every year devotees observe Maha Shivaratri fast with devotion and sincerity. Though many go on a diet of fruits and milk, some do not consume even a drop of water all through the day and night of Shivaratri Festival.Merits of Mahashivratri Vrat According to Hindu mythology, observance of mahashivratri Vrat with discipline helps a devotee to control the two great natural forces that afflict a man, rajas guna (the quality of passionate activity) and tamas guna (the quality of inertia). When a devotee spends an entire day in the Feet of Lord and worships with sincerity, his motion is controlled and evils like lust, anger and jealousy, born of Rajas are ignored and subdued. Besides, when a devotee observes vigil throughout the night (jaagran) he manages to conquer the evils of Tamas Guna too. It has also been mentioned that when a devotee observes a round of worship every three hours, the Shivaratri Vrata becomes perfect.Devotees of Lord Shiva believe consider Shivratri fast to be extremely auspicious and rate it equal or more than performing an Ashwamedha Yagna. Some believe that a devotee who observes a Shivaratri Fast with sincerity and utters the name of Lord Shiva with perfect devotion is absolved from all sins. Such a devotee reaches the abode of Lord Shiva and lives there happily. He is also liberated from the cycle of birth and death. Customs and Traditions of Shivaratri Fast As a tradition, devotees who are on a strict fast on Shivaratri take bath with the water that is boiled with black sesame seeds to wash away bodily impurities. After putting on fresh new clothes, a devotee visit the nearest Lord Shiva temple to perform the ritual Shiva Linga bath with milk, honey etc. While bathing the Lingam a devotee prays, "O Lord ! I will bathe Thee with water, milk, etc. Do Thou kindly bathe me with the milk of wisdom. Do Thou kindly wash me of all my sins, so that the fire of worldliness which is scorching me may be put out once for all, so that I may be one with Thee-the One alone without a second." Following the sacred bath, devotee applies haldi-kumkum on the lingum and place a garland of white and pink lotus flowers on it. Bel leaves are also placed at the top of the Lingum. Aarthi and bhajans in praise of Lord Shiva are also sung to invoke his blessings. Devotee also light incense stick and ring temple bell to invoke the blessing of the large-hearted Lord Shiva. It may be noted that unlike most other festivals, where after performing the Puja of the deity a feast follows, a Shivratri fast continues all through the day and night. Devotees observe an all night vigil while chanting the mantra, "Om Namah Shivaya" and singing devotional hymns and songs. Even during the night, Shiva Lings is given the holy bath every three hours. An offering of fruits is also made to the deity. There is also the tradition to listen to the recital of various legends and stories related to Shivaratri and Lord Shiva and to understand its deeper meanings. It is only in the following morning that a devotee breaks the fast by consuming the prasad offered to Lord Shankar.
Significance of Shivratri
. Festival of Mahashivaratri is the most important festival for the millions of devotees of Lord Shiva. The festival has been accorded lot of significance in Hindu mythology. It says that a devotee who performs sincere worship of Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Shivratri is absolved of sins and attains moksha. Significance of Shivaratri in Hinduism Festival of Mahashivaratri has tremendous significance in Hinduism. According to sacred scriptures, ritual worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri festival that falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalgun pleases Lord Shiva the most. This fact is said to have been declared by Lord Shiva himself, when his consort Parvati asked him as to which ritual performed by his devotees pleases him the most.Even till date, devotees of Lord Shiva perform the ritual worship of Shivratri with care and devotion. They observe day and nigh fast and give sacred bath to Shiva Linga with honey, milk, water etc. Hindus consider it extremely auspicious to worship Lord Shiva on a Shivaratri as 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. Significance of Shivaratri for Women 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 who is also regarded as Gaura - one who bestows marital bliss and long and prosperous married life. Unmarried women also pray for a husband like Lord Shiva who is regarded as the ideal husband.
Marriage of Shiva and Shakti
. The legend of marriage of Shiva and Shakti is one the most important legends related to the festival of Mahashivaratri. The story tells us how Lord Shiva got married a second time to Shakti, his divine consort. According to legend of Shiva and Shakti, the day Lord Shiva got married to Parvati is celebrated as Shivaratri - the Night of Lord Shiva. The Legend Legend goes that once Lord Shiva and his wife Sati or Shakti were returning from sage Agastyas ashram after listening to Ram Katha or story of Ram. On their way through a forest, Shiva saw Lord Rama searching for his wife Sita who had been kidnapped by Ravana, the King of Lanka. Lord Shiva bowed his head in reverence to Lord Rama. Sati was surprised by Lord Shivas behavior and inquired why he was paying obeisance to a mere mortal. Shiva informed Sati that Rama was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Sati, however, was not satisfied with the reply and Lord asked her to go and verify the truth for herself. Using her power to change forms, Sati took the form of Sita appeared before Rama. Lord Rama immediately recognized the true identity of the Goddess and asked, "Devi, why are you alone, where?s Shiva?" At this, Sati realized the truth about Lord Ram. But, Sita was like a mother to Lord Shiva and since Sati took the form of Sita her status had changed. From that time, Shiva detached himself from her as a wife. Sati was sad with the change of attitude of Lord Shiva but she stayed on at Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva.Later, Satis father Daksha organised a yagna, but did not invite Sati or Shiva as he had an altercation with Shiva in the court of Brahma. But, Sati who wanted to attend the Yagna, went even though Lord Shiva did not appreciate the idea. To hre great anguish, Daksha ignored her presence and did not even offer Prasad for Shiva. Sati felt humiliated and was struck with profound grief. She jumped into the yagna fire and immolated herself. Lord Shiva became extremely furious when he heard the news of Satis immolation. Carrying the body of Sati, Shiva began to perform Rudra Tandava or the dance of destruction and wiped out the kingdom of Daksha. Everybody was terrified as Shivas Tandava had the power to destroy the entire universe. In order to calm Lord Shiva, Vishnu severed Sati?s body into 12 pieces and threw them on earth. It is said that wherever the pieces of Shaktis body fell, there emerged a Shakti Peetha, including the Kamaroopa Kamakhya in Assam and the Vindhyavasini in UP. Lord Siva was now alone undertook rigorous penance and retired to the Himalayas. Sati took a re-birth as Parvati in the family of God Himalaya. She performed penance to break Shivas meditation and win his attention. It is said that Parvati, who found it hard to break Shivas meditation seeked help of Kamadeva - the God of Love and Passion. Kaamadeva asked Parvati to dance in front of Shiva. When Parvati danced, Kaamadeva shot his arrow of passion at Shiva breaking his penance. Shiva became extremely infuriated and opening his third eye that reduced Kaamadeva to ashes. It was only after Kamadevas wife Ratis pleading that Lord Shiva agreed to revive Kaamadeva. Later, Parvati undertook severe penance to win over Shiva. Through her devotion and persuasion by sages devas, Parvati, also known as Uma, was finally able to lure Shiva into marriage and away from asceticism. Their marriage was solemnized a day before Amavasya in the month of Phalgun. This day of union of God Shiva and Parvati is celebrated as Mahashivratri every year. Another Version of the Legend According to another version of the legend, Goddess Parvati performed tapas and prayers on the auspicious moonless night of Shivaratri to ward off any evil that may befall her husband. Since then, womenfolk began the custom of praying for the well being of their husbands and sons on Shivaratri day. Unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband.
. This very popular Shivaratri legend from Puranas explains why people stay awake all night on Shivaratri. Besides, it also tells us why Lord Shiva is also known as Neelakantha. Legend Behind Samudra Manthan Once Indra - the King of Gods, while riding on an elephant came across Durvasa Muni who offered him a special garland. Indra accepted the garland but put in on the trunk of the elephant. The elephant was irritated by the smell and it threw the garland on the floor. This enraged the sage as the garland was a dwelling of Sri (fortune) and was to be treated as prasada. Durvasa Muni cursed Indra and all devas to be bereft of all strength, energy, and fortune. In battles that followed this incident, devas were defeated and asuras (demons) led by Bali gained control of the universe. Devas sought help from Lord Vishnu who advised them to treat asuras in a diplomatic manner. Devas formed an alliance with asuras to jointly churn the ocean for the nectar of immortality and to share it among them. Lord Vishu told Devas that we would arrange that they alone obtain the nectar.The Churning of the Ocean The churning of the milk - ocean was an elaborate process. Mount Mandara was used as churning rod and Vasuki, the King of Serpents, became the churning rope. Lord Vishnu himself had to intercede in so many ways to aid the Devas. All kinds of herbs were cast into the ocean and many great beings and objects were produced from the ocean and were divided between asuras and gods. It is said that following things emerged from the Samudra Manthan Sura or Varuni - Goddess and creator of wine Apsaras - various divine nymphs Kaustubha - a rare diamond said to be the most valuable jewel in the world Uchhaishravas - the divine white horse Kalpavriksha - the wish-granting tree Kamadhenu - the wish fulfilling cow Airavata - the white elephant Lakshmi - the Goddess of Fortune and Wealth. Vishnu and Her were reunited after having been separated for many ages. Haalaa-Hala - the Poison During the Sagar Manthan by the gods and demons, haalaa-hala, a pot of poison also came out of the ocean. This terrified the Gods and demons as the poison was so toxic that it effects would have wiped out the entire creation. On the advice of Lord Vishnu, Gods approached Lord Shiva for help and protection as only he could swallow it without being affected. On the request of gods and out of compassion for living beings, Lord Shiva drank the poison. However, Parvati - Lord Shivas consort pressed his neck so that the poison does not reach his stomach. Thus, it stayed in his throat neither going up nor going down and Shiva remained unharmed. The poison was so potent that it changed the color of Lord Mahadevas neck to blue. For this reason, Lord Shiva is also called Neelakantha (the blue-necked one) where Neela means blue and Kantha means neck or throat. As part of the therapy, doctors advised gods to keep Lord Shiva awake during the night. Thus, Gods kept a vigil in contemplation of Lord Shiva. To amuse Shiva and to keep him awake, the gods took turn performing various dances and playing music. As the day broke out, Lord Shiva, pleased with their devotion blessed them all. Shivaratri is the celebration of this event by which Shiva saved the world. Since then, on this day and night - devotees fast, keep vigil, sing glories of Lord and meditate. Churning Out Divine Nectar At last, Dhanvantari - the Divine Physician appeared with a pot of Amrita (nectar of immortality) in his skilful hands. Fierce fighting ensued between devas and asuras for the nectar. To protect the nectar from asuras, devas hid the pot of nectar at four places on the earth - Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. At each of these places, a drop of the nectar spilled from the pot and since then, it is believed that these places acquired mystical power. Grand Kumbh Mela is celebrated at the four places after every 12 year for this reason. Eventually, Lord Vishnu took the form of a beautiful woman, Mohini. While her beauty bewildered the asuras, Mohini seized the nectar and returned it to the Devas, who drank it immediately.
Legend of Shiva Linga
. The legend of Shiva Linga or Lingodbhavamurthy is deeply related to Mahashivaratri. The legend narrates the story of vain search by Brahma and Vishnu to discover the Aadi (beginning) and the Antha (end) of Lord Shiva. The legend thus proves the supremacy of Lord Mahadeva over other Hindu Gods and explains why the lingam is believed to be one of the most potent emblems in Hindu ideals. The story is stated in the three of the puranas - the Kurma Purana, the Vayu Purana and Shiva Purana The Legend According to Puranas, once the other two of the triads of Hindu Gods, Brahma and Vishnu were fighting over each others prowess. Horrified at the intensity of the battle, the other gods asked Shiva to intervene. To make them realize the futility of their fight, Lord Shiva assumed the form of a flaming Linga in between Brahma and Vishnu and challenged both of them by asking them to measure the gigantic Linga (phallic symbol of Lord Shiva). Awestruck by its magnitude, Brahma and Vishnu decided to find one end each to establish supremacy over the other. Lord Brahma took the form of a swan and went upwards while Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Varaha - a boar and went into the earth towards nether land. Both searched for thousands of miles but neither could find the end.On his journey upward, Brahma came across Ketaki flower. Exhausted and bewildered with his search to find the uppermost limit of fiery column, Brahma made Ketaki assent to lie that he had seen the top of the column where the flower had previously resided. Accompanied by his accomplice, Brahma confronted Vishnu and asserted that he had indeed discovered the origin of the cosmic column. At this point, the central part of the pillar split open and Shiva revealed himself in his full glory. Overawed, both Brahma and Vishnu bowed before him accepted lord Shivas supremacy. Lord Shiva also explained to Brahma and Vishnu that both of them were born out of him and that the three were then separated out into three different aspects of divinity. However, Lord Shiva was angry with Brahma for making a false claim. The Lord cursed Brahma that no one would ever pray to him. (This legend explains why there is hardly any Brahma temple of significance in India.) Lord Shiva also punished the Ketaki flower for testifying falsely and banned her from being used as an offering for any worship. Since it was on the 14th day in the dark fortnight of the month of Phalguna that Shiva first manifested himself in the form of a Linga, the day is extremely auspicious and is celebrated as Mahashivaratri - the grand night of Shiva. To celebrate the occasion, devotees of Lord Shiva fast during the day and pray to the Lord throughout the night. It is said that worshipping of Lord Shiva on Shivaratri bestows one with happiness and prosperity.
The Legend of Lubdhaka
. The legend of Lubdhaka is deeply related to Mahashivaratri and explains the popular custom of all-night worship of Lord Shiva on the festival. As a tradition devotees recite the legend of Lubdhaka while they observe fast in worship of Lord Shiva on Mahashivaratri. And, it is only after observing an all night fast that devotees eat the prasad offered to Shiva. There is yet another version of this legend, which is popular as the legend of King Chitrabhanu. This legend has been narrated by Bhishma in Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata and has been discussed later in this article. Story of Lubdhaka Story goes that Lubdhaka - a poor tribal man and a devout worshipper of Lord Shiva once went into the deep forests to collect firewood. As the darkness engulfed the jungle, Lubdhaka lost his way and could not find his way home. He became extremely terrified as deep growls of animals began to fill the jungle. Seeking protection till daybreak, Lubdhaka climbed the nearest bel tree and sought safety and shelter in its branches. Since Lubdhaka was perched on the branch of a tree he was afraid that if he dozed he might fall off from the tree. To keep himself awake all night, Lubdhaka decided to pluck one leaf from the bheel tree and drop it while chanting the name of Shiva. By sunrise, the devout tribal realized that he had dropped thousands of leaves on to a Shiva Lingam, which he had not seen in the darkness. Lubdhakas all night worship pleased Lord Shiva and by his divine grace tigers and other wild animals went away. Thus, Lubdhaka not only survived but was also rewarded with divine bliss. According to Puranas, ever since that day, the story of the tribal Lubdhaka has been recited every year on the night of Mahashivaratri. This popular legend also form the basis of the popular custom of offering bhel (Aegle marmelos) leaves to Lord Shiva on Shivaratri.Different Version of the Legend - Story of King Chitrabhanu Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata, talks about the legend of King Chitrabhanu observing the festival. The story, as told by Bhishma while resting on the bed of arrows and discoursing on Dharma, says that once King Chitrabhanu of the Ikshvaku dynasty who ruled over the whole of Jambudvipa was observing a fast with his wife, it being the day of Maha Shivaratri. The sage Ashtavakra came on a visit to the court of the king and inquired the king about reasons for keeping a fast. Answering the sages query, King Chitrabhanu who had the gift of remembering the incidents from his previous birth said that in the past birth he was a hunter in Varanasi and his name was Suswara. His livelihood was to kill and sell birds and animals. One day while he was roaming through the woods in search of animals, he was overtaken by the darkness of the night. To seek shelter from wild animals, Suswarna seeked shelter in the branches of nearest tree, which happened to a bael. Suswarna has also shot a deer that day but had no time to take it to home. So he bundled it up and tied it to a branch on the tree. Hunger and thirst tormented Suswarna and kept him awake all night. Feeling sad that his poor wife and children were starving and must be anxiously waiting for his return, Suswarna began to shed profuse tears. To pass away time, Suswarna engaged himself in plucking bael leaves and dropping them down onto the ground. Having passed the night thus, next morning, Suswarna sold the deer and bought some food for himself and his family. But, the moment he was about to break his fast, a stranger came to him begging for food. Humbly, Suswarna served food to stranger first and then had his own. Later, at the time of his death, Suswarna saw two messengers of Lord Shiva who were sent down to conduct his soul to the abode of Lord Shiva. It was then that Suswarna learnt for the great merit he had earned by the unconscious worship of Lord Shiva during the night of Shivaratri. The divine messengers told Suswarna that there was a Lingam at the bottom of the tree on which he spent the night. The leaves he dropped therefore fell on the Lingam. While his tears, which he had shed out of sorrow for his family, fell on the lingam and washed it. Besides, he had observed a fast all day and all night. Thus, Suswarna had unconsciously worshiped the Lord Shiva. Concluding the story, the King said that he lived in the abode of the Lord and enjoyed divine bliss for long ages. Now, he has reborn as Chitrabhanu.
The Legend of Ganga
. The legend of Gangas descent from the heavens into the earth has been narrated in the Hindu mythological epic of Ramayana. The legend explains the popular custom of giving bath to Shiv Linga on Shivaratri festival. The Legend Once King Sagar - the ruler of Ayodhya and an ancestor of Lord Rama successfully performed the Ashwamedha Yagya for 99 times. Each time, he sent the horse around the earth it returned to the kingdom unchallenged. However, Indra - the King of Gods became jealous of King Sagars success. So when King Sagar performed the sacrifice of the 100th time, Indra kidnapped and hid the Yagya horse in the hermitage of Kapila Muni In search of the horse, sixty thousand princes from Ayodhya reached Kapil Munis hermitage. They mistook the sage to be the abductor and attacked him. An enraged Kapila Muni burnt the 60,000 princes to ashes. On hearing about the plight of his father and uncles, King Bhagiratha - one of the grandchildren of King Sagar requested Kapila Muni to grant a solution to the problem. Kapila Muni advised that the waters of the river Ganga would miraculously bring back the dead princes to life. King Bhagirath left his kingdom and began to mediate for the salvation of the souls of his ancestors. It is said that Bhagirath observed a penance to Brahma for a thousand years, requesting Ganga to come down to earth from heaven and wash over his ancestor?s ashes to release them from a curse and allow them to go to heaven. Pleased with the devotion, Brahma granted Bhagiraths wish but told him to pray to Lord Shiva, as he alone could sustain the weight of her descent.Accordingly, Lord Shiva held out his thick matted hair to catch the river as she descended. The meandering through Shivas lock softened Gangas journey to the earth and the holy waters of river Ganga thus washed away the ashes of Bhagiraths ancestors. A modified version of the legend says, what reached the earth were just sprinkles from Lord Shivas hair. The Ganga, thus, became an attribute of Shiva. This manifestation of Shiva is known as Gangadhara. The legend is re-enacted by devotees of Lord Shiva as they give a bath to the linga during worship. And for this reason, many devotees prefer to take a dip in the holy water of river Ganga on a Shivaratri day.
Lord Shivas Assurance
. The legend of Lord Shivas assurance explains the popularity of Shivaratri festival amongst the devotees. Besides, it also tells us why we observe fast in the name of the Lord and perform ceremonial baths on a Shivaratri day. The Legend Story goes that after creation was complete, Lord Shiva began to live on top of the mount Kailash with his consort Parvati. One day, Goddess Parvati asked Shiva that his devotees perform many rituals to please the Lord, but which one pleases him most. To this, Lord Shiva replied that the 14th night of the new moon, during the month of Phalgun is his favorite day. The day is celebrated as Shivaratri. On this day, devotees observe strict spiritual discipline and worship Shiva in four different forms during each of the four successive three-hour periods of the night. Lord further said that the devotees offer him bel leaves on the day and that those leaves were precious to him than the precious jewels and flowers. Explaining the right way of worshipping to Shiva, the Lord said, devotees should bathe me in the milk during the first period, in curd at the second, in clarified butter in the third and in honey in the fourth and the last period. Lord Shiva further added that next morning devotees must feed the Brahmins first and, only after following the prescribed ritual must he break the fast. Shiva further told Parvati that rituals of Shivaratri could not be compared with any other. Goddess Parvati became deeply impressed with Lord Shivas speech and she narrated it to her friends. Through them the word spread all over the creation. Hence, Shiva devotees began to celebrate Shivaratri by fasting and by performing the ceremonial baths and making an offering of bel leaves.
About Goddess Parvati
. Goddess Parvati is regarded as the power and divine consort of Lord Shiva - the Destroyer. Like her consort Shiva, Goddess Parvati is said to have both mild and terrible aspects Goddess Parvati is known by different names like Lalita, Uma, Gauri, Kali, Durga, Haimavati etc. Two of her fierce but very powerful forms are Durga (Goddess beyond reach) and Kali (Goddess of Destruction). As the mother of the universe, Parvati is known as Amba and Ambika, which means ?mother?. As Lalita, she represents the aspect of beauty. Appearance of Goddess Parvati When shown along with Shiva, Goddess Parvati has only two hands, the right one holding a blue lotus and the left hanging loosely by the side. When represented independently, Parvati Ma is shown with four hands, two hands holding red and blue lotuses and the other two exhibiting the varada and Abhaya mudras. Goddess Parvati has a charming personality. Married women adore Parvati for her happy married life. Picture of Lord Shiva, Parvathi and their sons Ganesha and Kartikeya depicts an ideal example of family unity and love. Parvati as Sati or Dakshayani According to Puranas, in her first incarnation, Parvati Devi was Sati or Dakshayani, the daughter of Daksa and was married to Lord Shiva. Once, Daksha performed a great yagna or sacrifice and insulted Lord Shiva by not inviting him or Sati. Even then, Sati went to attend the yagna. To her great disappointment, Daksha did not acknowledge her presence and did not offer prasad for Lord Shiva. Utterly depressed by the treatment meted out to her, Sati ended her life by igniting herself through the fire of yagna. After the death of Sati, Lord Shiva became very sad and depressed. He renounced the world and went into deep meditation in the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas. Meanwhile, the demons lead by Taraka, rose from the netherworld and drove devas out of the heavens. The gods sought a warrior who would help them regain the celestial realm. Lord Brahma said, only Shiva can father such a warrior, but he is oblivious of the world. At the persistence of the Gods, Sati agreed to take a re-birth as Parvati, the daughter of Himavan and Mena. It was only after performing intense austerities that Goddess Parvathi succeeded in pleasing Shiva and making him accept her again as his consort.The Divine Homemaker With Parvati by his side, Shiva became a family man. Inspired by her beauty, Shiva became the fountainhead of the arts, dance and drama. But he did not abandon his ways as a hermit and continued to meditate. His carefree attitude and his refusal to shoulder household responsibilities sometimes angered Parvati. But then she would come to terms with his unconventional ways and make peace. The consequent marital bliss between Shakti and Shiva ensured harmony between Matter and Spirit and brought stability and peace to the cosmos. Parvati thus became Ambika, Goddess of the household, marriage, motherhood and family. Ten Aspects of Parvati Given here are the ten aspects of Parvati, termed as Dasamahavidyas. These are the representations of transcendent knowledge and power. The first is Kali who is the goddess of time that destroys everything. The second one, Tara is the power of golden embryo from which the universe evolves. She also stands for void or the boundless space. The third one Sodasi literally means ?one who is sixteen years old. She is the personification of fullness and perfection. The fourth, Vidya Bhuvanevari represents the forces of the material world. The fifth one, Bhairavi stands for desires and temptations leading to destruction and death. The sixth Vidya Chinnamasta represents the continued state of self-sustenance of the created world in which is seen continuous self-destruction and self-renewal, in a cyclic order. She is a naked deity holding her own severed head in hand and drinking her own blood. Dhumavati, the seventh one personifies the destruction of the world by fire, when only smoke (dhuma) from its ashes remains. The eighth, Vidya Bagala is a crane - headed goddess. She represents the ugly side of living creatures like jealously, hatred and cruelty. Matangi, the ninth Vidya is the embodiment power of domination. The tenth and the last Vidya Kamala is the pure consciousness of the self, bestowing boons and allaying the fears of the supplicants. She is identified with Lakshmi, the Goddess of Fortune.
. ord Shiva is also known as Nataraj, the Dancing God. This divine art form is performed by Lord Shiva and his divine consort Goddess Parvati. The dance performed by Lord Shiva is known as Tandava. Shivas Tandava is a vigorous dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. Tandava depicts his violent nature as the destroyer of the universe. Characteristics of Tandava Dance According to scholars, Characteristics of the Tandava Dance have been described in the fourth chapter of Bharat Munis Nata Shastra, which is referred to as fifth Veda and an expression of Lord Shivas eternal dance - Tandava. It says that Shivas Tandava is embellished with 108 karanas and the 32 anghaharas - the composite parts of the dance. Bharat Muni further says that Lord Shiva conceived the dance, as he was very much fond of dancing every evening. Shiva further mentioned that 108 karnas included in tandava could be employed in the course of dance, fight, and personal combats and in other special movements like strolling.Types of Tandava Some scholars believe that there are seven different types of Tandava. The tandava performed with joy is called Ananda Tandava and that which is performed in violent mood is called Rudra Tandava. The other types of tandava identified are Tripura Tandava, Sandhya Tandava, Samara Tandava, Kaali Tandava, Uma Tandava and Gauri Tandava. However, there are few people who believe that there are 16 types of Tandava. Significance of Shiva?s Tandava Nritya According to religious scholars, the cosmic dance of Shiva, called ?Anandatandava,? meaning, the Dance of Bliss symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death. The dance is a pictorial allegory of the five principle manifestations of eternal energy - creation, destruction, preservation, salvation, and illusion. According to learned scholar, Coomerswamy, the dance of Shiva also represents his five activities namely, ?Shrishti? - creation, evolution ?Sthiti? - preservation, support ?Samhara? - destruction, evolution ?Tirobhava? - illusion ?Anugraha? - release, emancipation, grace The overall temper of the image is paradoxical, uniting the inner tranquillity, and outside activity of Shiva. Lasya The dance performed by Goddess Parvati is known as Lasya. In Lasya, the movements are gentle, graceful and sometimes erotic. Some scholars call Lasya, the feminine version of Tandava. Lasya is of two kinds - Jarita Lasya and Yauvaka Lasya. According to the Puranas, Shiva dances a wild and vigorous (tandava) dance in the cremation grounds at night but dances a soft and graceful (lasya) dance in the tranquillity of the twilight.
. Shiva Linga is the holy symbol of Lord Shiva that is considered sacred by the devotees of Lord Shiva. The word, Lingum in Sanskrit means, symbol. Shiva Lingum, therefore means symbol of Lord Shiva and is therefore considered most sacred by Shaivaites. Siva Linga has been worshipped in Hinduism since ages. Worship of Shiva Linga is regarded sacred and superior Shiva Mahapurana. This is because the form makes worship simple while maintaining the truth that God does not have any definite form. Structure of Shiva Linga Most prevalent icon of Shiva and virtually found in all Shiva temples, Shiva Linga is a rounded, elliptical, an-iconic image that is usually set on a circular base or peetham. According to some scholars the Peetham represents Parashakti, the manifesting power of God. Shiva Lingas are usually made of stone that may either be carved or naturally existing - svayambhu, such as shaped by a swift-flowing river. Shiva Lingas may also be made of metal, precious gems, crystal, wood, earth or transitory materials such as ice. Some scholars say that transitory Shiva Linga may be made of 12 different materials such as sand, rice, cooked food, river clay, cow dung, butter, rudraksha seeds, ashes, sandalwood, darbha grass, a flower garland or molasses. Various Interpretation of Shiva Linga Besides regarding Shiva Linga as the symbol and form of Lord Shiva, religious scholars have given various interpretations of Shiva Linga. Here is the brief description of some of the popular theories and interpretations related to Shiva Linga and its origin: Worship of the Phallus According to some scholars, worship of Shiva Linga in effect means worship of the reproduction function. For, they say that the other meaning of the Sanskrit word Linga is gender in general and phallus (the male reproductive organ) in particular. They believe that the base of the Lingam corresponds to the Yoni which mean vagina or the female reproductive organ. Correspondence of Linga and Yoni in a Shiva Linga is therefore interpreted as the representation of the process of copulation. Scholars further opine that the Kalash (container of water) that is suspended over the Shiva Linga from which water drips over the Linga also correspond to the idea of intercourse. Connecting the origin of Shiva Linga to the early Indus Valley civilization, scholars opine that tribes of the Indus Valley took to the togetherness of Lingam and Yoni in a Shiva Linga as the point of energy, creation and enlightenment. Interpretation in Tantra According to Tantra, Lingam is a symbol of Shiva?s phallus in spiritual form. They say, the lingam contains the soul-seed within which lies the essence of the entire cosmos. The lingam arises out of the base (Yoni) which represents Parvati according to some or Vishnu, Brahma in female and neuter form according to others. Interpretation in Puranas Puranas, especially the Vamana Purana, Shiva Purana, Linga Purana, Skanda Purana, Matsya Purana and Visva-Sara-Prakasha attribute the origin of Shiva Linga to the curse of sages leading to the separation of and installation of the phallus of Lord Shiva on earth. Some also refer to the endlessness of the lingam to be linked to the egos of Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. Interpretation of Shiva Linga as an Abstract Symbol of God Some scholars of the Hindu scriptures say that Linga is merely an abstract symbol of the God. They point towards several legends in Hinduism where a sundry rock or even a pile of sand has been used by as a Lingam or the symbol of Shiva. Citing a particular instance they say, Arjuna once fashioned a linga of clay when worshipping Shiva. Scholars of Puranas, thus argue that too much should not be made of the usual shape of the Lingam. Scholars say that the interpretation of Shiva Linga as an abstract form of God is also consonant with philosophies that hold that God may be conceptualized and worshipped in any convenient form. The form itself is irrelevant, as the divine power that it represents is all that matters. Scholars thus say that Sivalinga represent the formless Nirguna Brahman or the formless Supreme Being.
. Recite Lord Shiva Aarti on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivratri to invoke divine blessings of Lord Shiva. For better understanding, meaning of the Shiv Arti has been provided in English along with the verses. Jai Shiv Onkara Har Shiv Onkara, Brahma Vishnu Sadashiv Arddhagni Dhara. Om hara hara Mahaadevaa... Meaning: Glory to you, O Shiva! Glory to you, O Omkaara! May Brahma, Vishnu and the assembly of other gods, including the great LordShiva, relieve me of my afflictions! Ekanan Chaturanan Panchanan Rajai, Hansanan Garudasan Vrishvahan Sajai. Om hara hara Mahaadevaa... Meaning: Being the Absolute, True being, Consciousness and Bliss, you play the roles of all the three Gods - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. As Vishnu, you have but one face, as Brahma four and as Shiva five. They gladden the sight of all who behold them. As Brahma you prefer the back of the swan for your seat, as Vishnu you like to ensconce yourself on the back of Garuda (A large mythological eagle - like bird believed to be the vehicle of Lord Vishnu) and as Shiva you make the sacred bull your conveyance; all these stand ready. O Great Lord, pray rid me of my afflictions! Do Bhuj Char Chaturbhuj Das Bhuj Te Sohai, Tinon Roop Nirakhta Tribhuvan Jan Mohai. Om hara hara Mahaadevaa... Meaning: As Brahma, you possess two arms, as Vishnu four and as Shiva (Dashabaahu) ten, all of which look matchlessly lovely. No sooner do the inhabitants of the three spheres behold you than they are all enchanted. O great Lord Omkaara, pray rid me of my afflictions. Akshaymala Vanmala Mundmala Dhari, Chadan Mrigmad Sohai Bhale Shashi Dhari. Om hara hara Mahaadevaa... Meaning: You are, O great Lord Omkaara, wearing a garlandof Rudraaksha, another of forest flowers the third of skulls; your forehead, glistening in the moonlight which it holds, is smeared with sandal-paste and musk. Pray rid me of my afflictions. Shvetambar Pitambar Baghambar Ange, Sankadik Brahmadik Bhootadik Sange. Om hara hara Mahaadevaa... Meaning: O great Lord Omkaara, your body is attired in white and yellow silken clothes and in tiger skin, while in your company are troops of goblins, gods like Brahma and divine seers like Sanaka. Pray rid me of my afflictions. Kar Men Shreshth Kamandalu Chakra Trishooldharta, Jagkarta Jagharta Jag Palankarta. Om hara hara Mahaadevaa... Meaning: O great Lord Omkaara, you hold akamandalu (the mendicants water-jar) in one of your hands and in another a trident; you bring joy to all, destroy all distress and sustain the whole world. May you rid me of all my afflictions! Brahma Vishnu Sadashiv Janat Aviveka, Pranvakshar Ke Madhye Yah Tinon Eka. Om hara hara Mahaadevaa... Meaning: The ignorant (unwise and stupid) know Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as three individual gods, but they are all indistinguishably fused into a single mystic syllable OM. Pray rid me of my afflictions. Trigun Shiv Ki Aarti Jo Koi Nar Gave, Kahat Shivanand Swami Manvanchhit Phal Pave. Om hara hara Mahaadevaa... Meaning: Says Swami Shivananda, ???He who recites this Arti to the Lord of the three gunas-sattva, rajas and tamas - attains fulfillment of his hearts desire???. O great Lord Omkaara, may you rid me of my afflictions.
. Shiva Chalisa is a prayer for Lord Shiva - one of the Gods of Hindu trinity, the other two being Brahma and Vishnu. Shiva Chalisa praises the Lord and asks for his help in removing hardships and obstacles in devotee?s life. It is said that devotees seeking blessings of Lord Shiva must recite Shiva Chalisa with devotion and sincerity. It is suggested that devotees should focus their mind on Lord Shiv or his image and then recite Shiv Chalisa.
. For the devotees of Lord Shiva here is a collection of Lord Shiva Prayers with meaning! Devotees seeking blessings of Lord Shiva must recite Shiv Prarthana with sincerity and faith. Lord Shiva Prayer - I Om Sarva Mangal Manglaye Shivay Sarvaarth Sadhike Sharanye Trayambake Gauri Narayaani Namostu Te Meaning: Oh the divine couple Shiva Parvati ! O ! Thee, the protectors of this universe, Along with Lords Brahma and Vishnu We pray to You for our well-being, prosperity and the enlightenment of our souls. Lord Shiva Prayer - II This mantra is a prayer to Lord Shiva who is addressed as Sankara and Trayambaka. Sankara means giver of blessings: (sana = blessings, Kara = the Giver). Trayambaka is the three eyed one, where the third eye signifies the giver of knowledge, which destroys ignorance and releases us from the cycle of death and rebirth. Om Namastestu Bhagavan Visvesaraya Mahadevaya Trayambakaya Tripurantakaya Trikagni - Kalaya Kalagni - Rudraya Nil - Kanthaya Mrityunjaya Sarvesvaraya Sadadhivaya Sriman Mahadevaya Namah. Meaning: Om. I bow down to Lord Shiva, who is the creator and protector of the universe, who is the greatest among Gods, who has three eyes, who is the annihilator of all the three worlds, one whose throat is blue, who is the conqueror of death, who is the Lord of all, who is propitious who is possessed of all marks of greatness and who is the greatest among Gods. To him my prostration. Lord Shiva Prayer - III Naagendra haaraaya thriloochanaaya bhasmaangadhaaraaya maheshwaraaya Nityaaya shudhdhaaya digambaraaya tasmai nakaaraaya namahshivaaya Meaning: Salutations to Shiva who wears a serpent as garland, who is three-eyed, whose bare body is covered with ashes, who is forever pure and the very embodiment of sacrifice. Shiva Dhun Shivo Bhokta, Shiva Bhojya Shivo Karta, Shivah Karma Shivah Karanatmakah Meaning: Shiva is the experiencer and the highest object of experience. Shiva is the goal of Sadhana. There is nothing apart from Shiva. There is nothing other than Shiva. Whatever there is, is Shiva. There is nothing, which is not Shiva. There is no place, which is not Shiva. There is no time, which is not Shiva. To be aware of this is to be aware of Shiva.
Maha Mrityunjay Mantra
. The Maha Mrityunjay Mantra or Lord Shiva Mantra is considered extremely powerful and significant by the Hindus. Also known as the Moksha Mantra of Lord Shiva, chanting of Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is said to create divine vibrations that heals. Devotees of Lord Shiva further believe that Maha Mrityunjay evokes the Shiva within human beings and removes the fear of death, liberating one from the cycle of death and rebirth. Significance of Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra Devotees strongly believe that proper recitation of the Maha Mrityunjaya rejuvenates, bestows health, wealth, long life, peace, prosperity and contentment. It is said that chanting of Shiva Mantra generates divine vibrations that ward off all the negative and evil forces and creates a powerful protective shield. Besides, it is said to protect the one who chants against accidents and misfortunes of every kind. Recitation of the mantra creates vibration that pulsates through every cell, every molecule of human body and tears away the veil of ignorance. Hindus believe that recitation of the mantra ignites a fire within that consumes all negativity and purifies entire system. It is also said to have a strong healing power and can cure diseases declared incurable even by the doctors. Many believe Maha Mrityunjay Mantra to be a mantra that can conquer death and connect human beings to their own inner divinity. The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra The following Maha Mrityunjay Mantra has been taken from the Sukla Yajurveda Samhita III. 60. The Mantra is addressed to Lord Shiva and is a centuries old technique of connecting one to pure consciousness and bliss. Om Tryambhakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam | Urvarukamiva Bandhanan Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat || Meaning: Om. We worship The Three-Eyed Lord Shiva who is fragrant and who increasingly nourishes the devotees. Worshipping him may we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality just as the ripe cucumber easily separates itself from the binding stalk. Explanation: The mantra is a prayer to Lord Shiva who is addressed as Sankara and Trayambaka. Sankara is sana (blessings) and Kara (the Giver). Trayambaka is the three eyed one (where the third eye signifies the giver of knowledge, which destroys ignorance and releases us from the cycle of death and rebirth). Best Time to Chant Chanting the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra with sincerity, faith and devotion in Bramha Muhurata is very beneficial. But one can also do Maha Mrityunjaya japa anytime in a pure environment with great benefit and discover the happiness that?s already within.
. Shiva Bhajans are simple soulful songs that splurges you in the love for almighty and makes you extremely devotional. Usher in the festive mood this Mahashivratri by chanting some melodious Shiva Bhajans. A good collection of Shivaratri Bhajans are available on this page. Read, learn and pass these harmonic Bhajans to all Shiva devotees and make the religious ceremony extremely ethical. If you also have some different and beautiful Shiva Bhajans then send us to enrich the collection of this holy page. Om namah shivaay jai shiv shankar Om namah shivaay jai shiv shankar Karuna sindhu hey priy bholeshwar Maha tapaswee hey yogeshwar Dayaalu daata hey deveyshwar Amarnath hey sarv gyaneshwar Kailash ling rudradev vishdhar Satya mahesha jai shiv sundar Trishul dhar jai jai deveshwar Bam bam bhola jai sarveshwar Tandavraaya shiva bhayankar Tribhuvanswaami jai akhileshwar Gangaadhaari mahadeva har har Damru bajaayay bhin roopi natwar namo namami jai durgeshwar trinetri shiv sampoorna shaktiwar om namah shiva om shiv har har om namah shiva om shiv har har Contributed by: Sanjana Harjani Jai Shiv Shankar Jai Shiv Shankar Jai Shiv Shankar, Swami Jai Shiv Shankar Kasht haro Swami humaar, Swami kash haro humaar Sharan mein apni le ke Bhagwan, mauka do apni sewa ka He mere Bholenath, yehi vinti karta hun swaminath Kya maya hai kya nahi, main agyaani nahi jaanu Mere Swami main to aapko sarvasv maanu Apna sewak bana lo bhagwan, main na chahun ye sansar Main aur meri ardhangni, sewa karen aapki aur maa parvati ki Is Sansar se humein mukt kar, apne charanon mein jagah den Yehi vinti karta hun swaminaath , yehi prarthna karta hun Jai Shiv Shankar, Swami Jai Shiv Shankar Sharan mein apni le ke Bhagwan, mauka do apni sewa ka Jai Shiv Shankar, Swami Jai Shiv Shankar Contributed by: Puneet Jain Khade Hain Dar pe Darshan Ko Khade hain dar pe darshan ko Charan Shivji ke chune ko. Agar main jal chadati hun to wo machli ka jhuta hai isiliye paer nahi padte tere mandir mein aane ko. Khade hai dar pe darshan ko Charan Shivji ke chune ko. Agar mein phool chadati hun to wo bhanware ka jhutha hai isiliye paer nahi padte tere mandir mein aane ko. Khade hai dar pe darshan ko Charan Shivji ke chune ko. Agar mein dil chadati hun to wo paapon ka jhutha hai Agar mein phool chadati hun to wo bhanware ka jhutha hai isiliye paer nahi padte tere mandir mein aane ko. Khade hai dar pe darshan ko Charan Shivji ke chune ko. Contributed by: Mona Kabhi Ram Banke, Kabhi Shyam Banke Kabhi Ram banke kabhi Shyam banke Chale aana Prabhuji chale aana Meaning: O my Lord, please come to me, sometimes taking the Divine form of Rama and at other times in the Divine form of Shyama, please come to me! Kabhi Ram banke kabhi Shyam banke Chale aana Prabhuji chale aana Tum Rama roop me aana Tum Rama roop me aana Sita saath leke Dhanusha haath leke Chale aana Prabhuji chale aana Meaning: Please come to me in the Divine form of Rama holding bow and arrows in your hands and along with your consort Sita devi. Kabhi Ram banke kabhi Shyam banke Chale aana Prabhuji chale aana Tum Shyam roop me aana Tum Shyam roop me aana Radha saath leke murali haath leke Chale aana Prabhuji chale aana Meaning: Lord, please come to me in the Divine form of Shyama (Krishna) holding the flute in your hands together with your sweetheart Radha. Kabhi Ram banke kabhi Shyam banke Chale aana Prabhuji chale aana Tum Shivaki roop me aana Tum Shivaki roop me aana Gauri saath leke damaru haath leke Chale aana Prabhuji chale aana Meaning: O my Lord, please come in the Divine form of Shiva holding ?damaru? (musical cymbal) in your hands and accompanied your divine consort Gauri. Kabhi Ram banke kabhi Shyam banke Chale aana Prabhuji chale aana Tum Vishnu roop me aana Tum Vishnu roop me aana Lakshmi saath leke Chakra haath leke Chale aana Prabhuji chale aana Meaning: O Lord, please come in the Divine form of Vishnu holding the disc in your hands and together with your spouse, Lakshmi Devi. Kabhi Ram banke kabhi Shyam banke Chale aana Prabhuji chale aana Tum Ganpati roop me aana Tum Ganpati roop me aana Riddhi saath leke Siddhi haath leke Chale aana Prabhuji chale aana Meaning: O Lord, please come on the Divine form of Ganesha, along with our wives, Riddhi by your side and holding the hand of Siddhi. Kabhi Ram banke kabhi Shyam banke Chale aana Prabhuji chale aana Meaning: O Lord please come by, sometimes as Rama and at other times as Shyama, please do come and bless me with Divine vision.
. Recite melodious Shiva poems on the auspicious occasion of Shivaratri. Shiva poetry invoke devotion and dedication towards Lord Shiva and help us to receive blessings of the holy figure. Given below are some beautiful poems of Lord Shiva. Divine Lord bless me with your love Divine Lord bless me with your love, Divine Lord bless me so that I may lie at your feet, Thou divine feet emits the glow of eternal joy Divine Lord be my guide. Divine Lord forgive my ignorance, Divine Lord extend your blessings so that I may bathe in your glorious light. Divine Lord let me melt into the beauty, Divine Lord thou are father and mother to me, Like a naughty child please forgive my sins and my failings. Lead me to your wisdom, Let me bathe in your purity, Offer my devotion to you in this lifetime and others to come. O Lord let me lie at your feet with devotion, Bless me as your devotee evermore. oh my Lord thou can heal my aching heart, oh Lord let me lie at your feet for eternity. Contributed by: Varsha Sewlal Lord Shiva On the white summit of eternity A single Soul of bare infinities, Guarded he keeps by a fire-screen of peace His mystic loneliness of nude ecstasy. But, touched by an immense delight to be, He looks across unending depths and sees Musing amid the inconscient silences The Mighty Mother?s dumb felicity. Half now awake she rises to his glance; Then, moved to circling by her heart-beats? will, The rhythmic words describe that passion-dance. Life springs in her and Mind is born; her face She lifts to Him who is Herself, until The Spirit leaps into the Spirit?s embrace. Lord Your Maya Oh! Lord your Maya does not give me up even When I have given it up. In spite of my resistance it clings to me and follows me. Your Maya becomes Yogini to the Yogin. It becomes a nun to the monk, it becomes a herald to the saint. It adapts itself to each according to his nature. When I climbed up the hill, your Maya too came up; when I entered the forest, your Maya too entered behind me. So the world does not take its hand off my back even now! O, Lord of infinite mercy, your Maya frightens me. O Lord Mallikarjuna, bestow your grace on me. Our Lord At the world?s dawn The black cow of cosmic night lies With the ruddy cow of morning The Father rapes his virgin daughter Agni, the hunter, shoots his arrow The Father, a frenzied foaming bull, runs Spilling his seed upon the ground The daughter runs south. Ripened by Agni, the progeny?s patter begins. "Fire is a hunter." It sustains and destroys. Vastospati, Guardian of sacred order, lord of vastu, Guardian of the dwelling, site, house, sacrifice Manifests. The fallen seed, the birth of humankind, the poem Begin Howling Engender form. The rhythmic structure, the wild creation The unnamed god evoke the scene, consciousness wakes. Time begins. Patter patter. Rhythm pervades the cosmos. Shiva There is a hawk that is picking the birds out of our sky, She killed the pigeons of peace and security, She has taken honesty and confidence from nations and men, She is hunting the lonely heron of liberty. She loads the arts with nonsense, she is very cunning Science with dreams and the state with powers to catch them at last. Nothing will escape her at last, flying nor running. This is the hawk that picks out the star?s eyes. This is the only hunter that will ever catch the wild swan; The prey she will take last is the wild white swan of the beauty of things. Then she will be alone, pure destruction, achieved and supreme, Empty darkness under the death-tent wings. She will build a nest of the swan?s bones and hatch a new brood, Hang new heavens with new birds, all be renewed.
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