Contributed by: Pundit Srinivas Khedam
Om Namo Bhagavthe Rudraya
Maha Shivarathri- The Grand Night of Lord Shiva and Lingodbhava(Origin of Shiva Linga)
Lord Shiva is one of the Trinities in addition to Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. Lord Shiva is the divinity responsible for destroying all that is created. Destruction of creation shouldn.t be misunderstood in a negative way, because creation and destruction are the two essentials of The Supreme Personality of Godhead.s Leela (divine activities). Lord Braham is the creator and Lord Vishnu is the proprietor. Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva are the chief administrators of the creation with very important responsibilities of their own. Their administration is highly sophisticated that nothing goes wrong at any time, unlike ours, and either one or all the three interfere to address any problem in their fantastic creation.
There are many special occasion for Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, but there are no occasions for Lord Brahma. This is because a great sage called Bhrugu curses Lord Brahma for not responding to his salutation when he visited Lord Brahma. Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are worshipped on several occasions. Maha Shivarathri is one such occasion on which Lord Shiva is worshipped by devotees in a special way.
In a year there are five Shivarathris. 1. Shivarathri performed daily. 2. Shivarathri performed on Shudda and Bahula Chadurdashi(twice a month) 3. Shivarathri performed on Bahula Chathurdashi. Shivararthir performed on Bahula Chathurdashi in Magha maasa(yearly) and Shivarathri performed by meditating upon Lord Shiva all the time.
According to Kurma, Vayu and Shiva Puranas it is on Magha Bahula Chadurdashi(14th day of waning moon) that Lord Shiva took the form of Linga(cosmic egg) to reveal his full and most powerful form as one of the Trinity.
Maha Shivarathri is the most auspicious day for devotes of Lord Shiva. On this day the devotees take an early morning bath, perform Ekadasha Rudrabhishekam(special bath for 11 times chanting Namakam and Chamakam) to Lord Shiva with milk, yoghurt, refined butter, honey, sugar, fruit juices, and sacred ashes. Then they offer prayers with special leaves, flowers and fruits that are dearer to Lord Shiva. After a special prayer service in the morning, devotees fast the whole day chanting the Maha Mrithyunjaya Manthram, Shiva Panchakshari Sthothram or at least the sacred name of Lord Shiva. In India, many devotees spend the whole day chanting sthothras and singing songs and bhajans in the Shiva temples. The fasting continues throughout the day and night. Devotees break their fast next day morning after performing a special prayer to Lord Shiva. This way of Lord Shiva.s worship at least .once in life time. relieves one from the cycle of birth and death and he/she attains Kailasam, the abode of Lord Shiva.
Significance of Fasting and Lighting a Lamp on Maha Shivarathri Night
According to puranas once there lived a person named Gunanidhi. He lead all his life stealing, gambling, drinking alcohol, and with prostitutes. One evening he took shelter in Lord Shiva.s temple trying to escape from those who were chasing him. In fear he spent the whole night without any sleep. In this effort at one stage he saw the lamp in the sanctum sanctorum going off. He immediately tore part of the cloth he was wearing, made it like a wick, and lit a lamp to illuminate the place he was hiding. He fasted the whole night as he didn.t find anything to eat. Early morning he opened the doors of the temple and came out to escape, but was killed by the people who were chasing him. After he died he was taken to Kailasa, Lord Shiva.s abode, instead of hell. This is because unknowingly he fasted the whole night and lit the lamp in Lord Shiva.s temple. So, Lord Shiva is so kind that he liberates people from birth and death even though when people do ne or more of these activities, i.e. fast, light a lamp, see his abhishekam, listen or chant his name knowingly or unknowingly.
So, if you cannot go to the temple on Maha Shivarathri day at least chant this Maha Manthram at least 11 times. It is recommended to chant or listen to the following manthra at least 108 times.
Om Tryambhakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam |
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat ||
Mahashivaratri Dates for 2012
- USA, Canada, United Kingdom: February 19th 2012
- Middle East, India, Srilanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zeland, Fiji: February 20th 2012
Mahashivaratri Pooja Archana
mypanchang.com will be performing full night lord shiva puja. Those who wants to take benefit can donate atleast $11/- to following charitable organization and email us your family member's names and nakshatra to us (shastriji at mypanchang dot com) with subject line MAHASHIVARATRI POOJA and we'll do sankalpa on your behalf. The last date to send us name is March 1st 2011. You don't need to send us the receipt. It's honor system. We'll take your word for it that you have donated money to those charities. Please send donation money directly to them and you keep the receipt (No need to send us receipt).
More about mahashivaratri
- American Cancer Society
- Akshaya USA
- Asha for Education
- Shankara Eye Foundation
- St.Jude Children's Research Hospital
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