Home Others Lets celebrate Mahashivratri with devotion and gratitude-Puri

Lets celebrate Mahashivratri with devotion and gratitude-Puri

Lets celebrate Mahashivratri with devotion and gratitude-Puri
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Lets celebrate Mahashivratri with devotion and gratitude-Puri

Jaswant Singh Puri/ February, 18,2023

Mahashivratri is an annual festival of enthusiasm. It is celebrated in honour of God Shiva on the 14th day of the dark half in the month of Phalguna. The festival celebrates the Grace of Shiva. In the year 2023, Mahashivratri festival falls on 18th February. The festival is solemn and marks a remembrance to win over darkness and ignorance in life and the world. It is a pious festival noticed for its introspective focus, fasting, meditation on Shiva, self- study and social harmony.

The festival is mentioned in several Puranas particularly the Skanda Purana, Linga Purana and Padma Purana. There is a legend that this is the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation, prevention and destruction. According to another legend, this is the night when Shiva and Parvati got married.

Mahashivratri is celebrated in Tamil Nadu with great zeal and zest in the Annamalaiyar Temple in Tiruvannamalai district. The main Jyotirlinga Shiva temples of India such as in Varanasi and Somanatha are visited by numerous devotees. The Mandi Fair in Mandi Town is famous for Mahashivratri celebrations.

Lets celebrate Mahashivratri with devotion and gratitude-Puri

It is believed that on this special day, Shiva gulped the halahala produced during the Samudra Manthana and beheld it in his neck which was bruised and turned blue. Since then, he was named as Neel Kanth.

Mahashivratri carries the highest level of spiritual significance. On this night, the northern hemisphere of the planet is positioned in such a way that there is a natural upsurge of energy in a human being. The ascetics see Mahashivratri as the night of absolute stillness. It is the night when there is an opportunity for us to experience the unbounded nature of the source of creation which manifests the seed in every human being. It is believed that Lord Shiva is much receptive to the prayers and offerings of devotees on this auspicious night. It is considered an ideal time to seek Shiva’s Blessings.

Mahashivratri is a special occasion when devotees keep fast to impress Lord Shiva. The festival is considered auspicious for married women. Married women pray for the well-being of their husbands while unmarried women also pray to Lord Shiva for an ideal husband. Some people make this night the most useful by worshipping Mahadev all through the night by chanting and listening to Mantras like Mahamrityunjay Mantra, Shiv Tandav Strotam and devotional hymns. The Great Night of Shiva is also considered to be a time of spiritual awakening. Many people use this pious occasion to seek inner peace and enlightenment as it is believed that Lord Shiva is very generous and kind- hearted on this night and grants the wishes of those who pray with devotion. Mahashivratri dedicated to Lord Shiva is not just a religious festival but also a cultural and social event of great significance. The festival is a celebration of the power of good over evil and the triumph of light over darkness. It is a time for reflection, introspection, renewal and a reminder of the timeless values of compassion and devotion.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is of the view that “Shiva wasn’t a person. Never ever limit Shiva to a body, space on time. That’s why He is called ‘Mahakaal’, the time of times, the cause of all causes. His body is permeating the entire Universe.”

Shiva is the infinite consciousness which is beyond the mind. The crescent moon represents infinity to the manifested world. Snake symbolises the state of Samadhi. It is the Supreme State of alertness and consciousness. Trident or Trishul shows three states of consciousness: waking, dreaming and sleeping. As the Third Eye opens, it burns out the foes of the mind. Damru of Shiva cannotes expanding and contracting of the universe. It also exhibits the One Supreme Wave permeating the whole universe. River Ganga comes out of the head of Shiva. Head is the treasure house of knowledge. So River Ganga represents the knowledge that purifies the mind. Neelkantha carries the significance to modify the vices into virtues. Shiva holds the poison or negative thoughts with patience and modifies these into traits for the goodness of the universe. Nandi depicts dharma or righteousness. Shiva riding on Nandi shows that as we tread the path of righteousness, the supreme consciousness always supports us.

Lets celebrate Mahashivratri with devotion and gratitude-Puri

On the occasion of Mahashivratri, devotees assemble in huge numbers at Shiva temples such as the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlnga Temple in Ujjain, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi and many more to celebrate the festival with exuberance and delight. Devotees perform Shivling worship in which they offer milk, honey, fruits, and bel leaves to Lord Shiva to seek inner peace and enlightenment.

Mahashivratri festival is a celebration of the power of good over evil. The festival carries deep spiritual significance. The night of Mahashivratri is the special night when the energy of Shiv Tattva is easily accessible. Meditation is the supreme way to feel and realize this infinite source of energy. Every aspect of the festivities is deep, vast and glorious but immersed in tranquility. Lord Shiva is the God of gods and thus called Mahadev. He possesses the knowledge of all the three aspects of time, hence called ‘Trikaldarshi’. He is immune to the cycle of birth and death and thus known as Ajanma. Let us connect our intellect with the Supreme Lord Shiva and boost our spiritual power.

Lets celebrate Mahashivratri with devotion and gratitude-Puri
Jaswant Singh Puri

Note: This article is dedicated to Smt. Alka Puri, M.A. (Hindi, B.Ed.). She was the wife of Dr. Ajit Singh Puri and mother of Jaswant Singh Puri.

(The views expressed are personal)