Saturday, 20 August 2011

Maha Shivratri
On the 14th day of the dark half of Magh the great night of Shiva is celebrated. This religious festival celebrates worship of 'Shiva the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer. This night marks the night when He danced the Tandav.

On this day the devotees of Shiva observe fast (vrat) during this day and stay up the whole night at the place of worship.Offering of sandal wood,termeric.bel leaves,flowers and raw milk is made . Those observing the Shivaratri fast, break their fast only the next morning. They sing holy songs (Bhajans) in praise of the Lord and holy texts are chanted through out the night (Shivaratri-literaly means the night of Lord Shiva). In the temples on that day shivalingam is worshipped. The traditional form of worship starts with the bathing of the lingam with milk. The five things traditionally known as the 'panchagavya' are used to bathe the lingam, these are - 'milk, sour milk, butter, cow's urine and cow dung'. Shivratri is one of the most important religious festivals of the Hindus as Lord Shiva is considered to be the most powerful God of the Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

There is a saying that on on the day of Maha Shiv Ratri, during midnight Lord Shankar was transformed incarnation in Rudra Roop from Lord Brahma. When the time approached for the end of the world, then at midnight on that day Lord Shiva while performing tandem dance with the flames of his third eye and destroyed the universe .

As per Legend. Once a hunter set out for a hunt. He came near a pond, and for the purpose of hunting he climbed a "bel" tree (sacred to Shiva). Sitting on a branch he waited for game. But since the leaves obstructed his vision, he began to pluck a few leaves, which by chance fell on a Shiva Linga ("pindi"), which happened to be under that tree. Then a herd of deer came to drink water. The hunter took aim at a hind (female deer). But as she noticed the movement of the hunter, she cried out, "Please, wait a moment, before you shoot let me go home and meet my young ones for the last time. Afterwards you may take my life at your pleasure." The hunter gave the hind permission to go home, and re-mained sitting on the tree waiting for her to return. Waiting the whole night he was forced to observe fast.

 On the Shiva Linga he had inadvertently offered the "bel" leaves. With his mouth he uttered the name of Shiva, thus he fulfilled the conditions needed for the observance of the Maha Shiva Ratra vow. So without knowing how, his heart was changed and he was filled with sentiments of mercy.

Before dawn the mother deer came back with the entire herd. "Now you may take my life at your pleasure," she said.
Seeing the hind's honesty the hunter's heart was further softened, and he completely gave up his thought of killing the hind. Shankar was so pleased that immediately making all of them sits in a plane he took them to heaven. Both the hind and the hunter can be seen at night in the sky among the stars in the constellation of Orion ("Mrugshirsh nakshatra").

Lord Shiva is hailed by a number of names -Mahesh, Neelambuj, Neelkanth, Rudraksh, Kailash Pati, Shanker the list goes on. The fivefold activities of Siva symbolised by the five faces of the god (Pancanana). He sees the past, the present and the future by means of his three eyes (Trilocana). To save the earth, he drank the poison and his throat became dark-blue (Nilakantha). A moon's crescent round or above his central eye (Candrasekhara), clad like an ascetic with a tiger-skin, he holds a trident (Pinaka) in his hand; he rides the bull Nandi. Some of his images represent him as a four-armed person-age, two of the hands holding a battle-axe (khadga) and a deer, the two other hands in poses signifying assurance of safety and liberality; in some other representations, he carries a bow, a thunderbolt, an axe, a skull-capped staff, a drum."

The Shiva Linga is the most common object of worship all over India. But twelve such stones are considered more important and are known as Jyotirlinga. They are situated in the following places:Omkareshwar in Madhya PradeshRameshwar in Tamil NaduBhimashankar in Daminyal near Pune in MaharashtraMahakaleshwar in Ujjain in Madhya PradeshSomanath in SaurashtraNageshwar in DwarkaMallika1 in Uttar PradeshKedarnath in the HimalayasDhushmeshwar in Ellora near AurangabadTrimbakeshwar near NashikVishvanath in Benares and Vaidyanath in Parli in Marathvada

Mantras.....Om Namaha Shivaya. Om Namaha Shambavaya cha,Mayo Bhavaya cha Namaha Shankaraya cha,Mayas Karaya cha Namaha Shivaya cha,Shiva Taraya cha.

No comments:

Post a Comment