MAHA SHIV RATRI
| Friday 24th February 2017
Maha Shiv Ratri happens once a year on the 14th day of Falgun
month (around February-March). It appears in Krishna Paksha - i.e. the dark
side of the month of Falgun. We also have ShivaRatri - which happens every month of the year.
As the name denotes it is a festival and fast named in honour of Lord Shiva,one of five principal Devs & Devtas observed by devoted Hindus world over. (The others being Sri
Ganesh, Sri Durga Devi, Sri Hari Vishnu & Sri Surya Narayan).
Disciplined Lord Shiva devotees observe a strict fast on this day. Those who
can complete this day without taking even a drop of water, ie Nirajal - find
immense benefits in life. It is quite desirable & highly beneficial in Lord
Shiva's bhakti. Also believed on this day is for you to keep vigil all
The Shiva Lingam is worshipped throughout the night by bathing it every
three hours with milk, curd, honey, rose water, etc., whilst chanting - "Om
Offerings of Bael leaves are made to the Lingam as Bael leaves are
considered very sacred and it is said that even Goddess Lakshmi resides in
It is the same Bael that Devi Parvathi consumed for 1000 years to reconnect
and seek attention of Lord Shiva. (Bael leaves are sacred element in
performing havan for Devi Durga during Nao Ratri).
Hymns in praise of Lord Shiva, such as the "Shiva Mahimna Stotra" of
Pushpadanta or Ravana's "Shiva Tandava Stotra" are sung with great fervour
and devotion. People repeat the 'Panchakshara' Mantra, "Om Namah Shivaya".
It is often said in Shiv Maha Puran that anyone who utters the names of
Shiva during Shivratri, with perfect devotion and concentration, is freed
from all sins. He reaches Lord Shiva's kingdom after death and lives there
happily - thus finding moksha. He is liberated from the cycle of births and
deaths. Don't we all want that?
The night of Shiv Ratri is particularly known for three main reasons:
1.Sada Shiv appeared in a Linga form at exactly midnight on Maha Shiv
Ratri. That is why it is desirable to keep a all-night vigil and do Shiv
2. Lord Shiva married Devi Parvathi on this day in the Himalayas after her
years of devotion and waiting for the Almighty.
3. Lord Shiva on this day swallowed the deadly jahar (poison) on this day to
save the cosmos or universe from death - the poison had the capacity to
destroy all the living beings. The poison was derived after churning of
Kshir Saagar (sea) by the demons and the demi-gods or devtas. The poison/
jahar was so strong that a drop of it -had it landed on Lord Shiva's stomach
- which represents the universe - would have been destroyed.
Lord Shiva held it back in his neck/throat - thus he derived a name,
Neelkanth, ie Neel, meaning blue kantha, meaning throat area.
Another reason why Lord Shiva did not swallow the poison further than his throat was because he felt his Ist Devta, Lord Ram resides in his
hirdhay (heart), and he would not want to harm Lord Ram.
Thus we observe Shiva Ratri and make offerings to him as a way of
Thanksgivings for protecting us and all living species from annihilation.
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Brahma, Vishnu & Maheswara (Shiva)
It is believed that once Brahma and Vishnu, the two pillars of the holy
Trinity were having an argument as to who was supreme. Brahma declared
himself to be the Creator of all and thus more revered. Vishnu claimed that
since he was the Creator and the Destroyer, he commanded more respect. The
debate or war of words between the two would have been resolved until Lord
Shiva stepped in.
Lord Shiva appeared in a form of Lingam - ablaze with flames. Both Lord
Brahma & Lord Vishnu were so overwhelmed by its constantly increasing size,
that they forgot their quarrel and decided to determine its size. Vishnu
took the form of a boar and went down to the seas while Brahma in the form
of a swan ascended to the skies. Neither could ascertain the size or the
origin of the Shiva Linga.
Just then, Shiva appeared out of the lingam and proclaimed that he was the
progenitor of both of them. He was the Creator, Preserver and the Destroyer.
He demanded that thereafter he be worshipped in his phallic form, Shiva
(There is one belief that Lord Brahma had lied that he had seen the
origin of the Ling in the skies when in fact he had not - on this day then
Lord Shiva had cursed Lord Brahma that as a result of his false statement -
he will not be ever worshipped in a full form as other Gods & Goddesses).
Thus as a result of Lord Shiva's intervention between Lord Vishnu and Lord
Brahma on this day, it was marked as Shiv Ratri. On this day also - both
Lord Brahma and Vishnu worshipped Lord Shiva and started a tradition of
worshipping the Linga.
On the day of Shivratri, the lingam is bathed in the five sacred offerings
of a cow, called the panchagavya - milk, sour milk or dhahi, gow mutra, ghee
and cow dung.
After that the five Hindu foods of immortality - milk, ghee, curd, honey
and gudr (or brown sugar) - are placed before Shiva Lingam. Dhatura and
jati, though poisonous fruits, are believed to be sacred to Shiva and thus
offered on his Linga or Murti (statue).
Eleven is considered to be the sacred number of the Lord. Devotees keep a
varat/fast on the Shivratri and observe strict rules, for achieving
ashirvaadh or vardan (boon).
Special celebrations are held all over the world but specially in the 12
main Divya Shiv Ling shrines in India - like Vishwanath mandir in Varanasi &
Rameshwaram in South India.
In places like Kashmir, the festival is held for 15 days; the thirteenth
day is observed as Herath, a day of fast followed by a family feast.
Shiva - the word meaning auspicious - is one of the Hindu Trinity,
comprising of Lord Brahma, the creator, Lord Vishnu, the preserver and Lord
Shiva or Mahesh, the Destroyer and Re-Producer of life. Shiva is known by
many names like "Shankar", "Mahesh", "Bholenath", "Neelakanth", "Shambhu
Kailasheshwar", "Umanath", "Nataraj" or simply, Shivaji.
Lord Shiva's close devotees believe he is easily pleased with small amount
of devotion and shradha. Even little offerings of his favourites or recitals
of his hymns on Shiv Ratri or on other days - especially Mondays, please the
Lord so much that he is able to look after his devotees and keep them
enticed in his preaching through Sri Shiva Maha Puran. He is worshipped as
a God of large-heartedness. His kathas and leelas (legends) also enrich the
Hindu culture and art, especially dances.
MOST FAMOUS SHIV RATRI KATHA (legend)
In the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata, Bhishma, whilst resting on the bed
of arrows and discoursing on Dharma, refers to the observance of Maha
Shivaratri by King Chitrabhanu.
King Chitrabhanu in his past life was a hunter in Lord Shiva's favourite
place on earth, Varanasi and his name was Suswara. His only livelihood was
to kill and sell birds and animals. One day while roaming through forests in
search of animals to kill he was overtaken by the darkness of night. Unable
to return home, he climbed a tree for shelter. It happened to be a Bael
tree. He had shot a deer that day but had no time to take it home. So he
bundled it up and tied it to a branch on the tree. As hunger and thirst
tormented him, he was kept awake throughout the night. He shed profuse tears
when he thought of his poor wife and children who were starving and
anxiously waiting for his return. To pass away the time that night he
engaged himself in plucking the Bael leaves and dropping them down onto the
The next day he returned home and sold the deer and then bought some food
for himself and his family. The moment he was about to break his fast a
stranger came to him, begging for food. He served the food first to stranger
and then had his own.
At the time of his death, he was confronted by two messengers of Lord Shiva.
They were sent down to conduct his soul to the kingdom of Lord Shiva. He
learnt then for the first time of the great merit he had earned by the
unconscious worship of Lord Shiva during the night of Shivaratri.
The messengers told him that there was a Lingam at the bottom of the tree.
The leaves I dropped fell on the Lingam. His tears, which had shed out of
pure sorrow for his family, fell onto the Lingam and washed it and he had
fasted all day and all night. Thus, he unconsciously worshiped the Lord.
As the conclusion of the tale the King said that he lived in the kingdom of
Lord Shiva and enjoyed divine bliss for long ages and now he has reborn as
PROFILE OF LORD SHIVA:
Favourite day: Mondays
Favourite colour: White
Favourite offerings: Bel leaves, dhatura fruits & leaves, white flowers, cow's milk, Ganga jal (or
water), dhahi (yoghurt), milk, honey, brown sugar & ghee, sugarcane,
peanuts, fruits (coconuts, bananas, mangoes, etc)
a) Om Namah Shivaya
b) Om Treyam Bakam Yajah Mahe Sugandith Pusti Vardanam, Wurwa Rukimiwa Vandhana, Mirtue Moche Maa Mirtaat
Best form of worship: Shiva Lingam, if unavailaible then Murti (statue) or
picture of Shiva Parvathi
Sacred number: 11
Avtaars: Sri Hanumanji & Sri Kal Bhairo
Favourite days of fast:
a) Maha Shiv Ratri
b) Treodasi day every month
c) Sarwan month (around Jul-Aug) every year or
d) Solar Somvaar
Other main offerings and benefits derived in making such offerings:[For Abhishek You can Bring]
1. Honey For wealth/ Dhan Prapti for better understanding and communication between couples
2. Water For Santaan Prapti and cure for major internal sicknesses
3. Milk For Sukh (happiness) Shanti (mental relieve) & Putra Prapti
4. Sugar For better Education.
5. Yoghurt For material gain and Luxurious life.
6. Ghee For mukti
7. Dhatura For better understanding and communication amongst people
8. Bel Patra Get rid of bad deeds [ Paap Naas]
9. Kush se Dhar For Rog Shanti & relieve from tension
10. Sugar cane For long life.
11. Fruits Whole Fruits
Link to Shiv Chalisa and Aarthi
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA TO ALL
Other shudh tiths to watch for in coming weeks:
Holi Celebration - 13th March 2017
You can download 2017 calendar by clicking here
TULSI LEAVES HEALING POWERS-Medicinal Benefits
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Pdt Davendra Sharma
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or + 61 414 560 424 (from outside Australia)
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