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.
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 'Shiva's 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. 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 ‘Gauri’ - 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.
Mahashivaratri Mantras Maha Mrityunjay Mantra One of the ancient Sanskrit mantras, Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is a verse of Yajurveda. It is the great death-conquering mantra, which is popularly referred to as Tryambakam Mantra, as it is identified with the three-eyed Hindu deity - Lord Shiva. The Mantra has many names and forms. It is sometimes called the Rudra Mantra, with reference to the furious face of Lord Shiva. On the other hand, when it is called the Tryambakam Mantra, then it is referred to the alluding three eyes of Lord Shiva. When it comes to life, it is Mrityunjaya Mantra is called the Mrita-Sanjivini Mantra.
Mrityunjaya Mantra holds the highest place among the Sanskrit mantras used for meditation. The recital of Mrityunjaya Mantra is beneficial for the body and soul in many ways. According to Yajurveda, if the mantra is chanted with immense concentration and devotion, then it purifies the karmas of the soul. Mental, emotional and physical health can be improvised by the regular chanting of Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. In the following lines, we have provided the Mrityunjaya Mantra.
Om Tryambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam Urvarukamiva Bandhanan Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat
"OM. We worship and adore you, O three-eyed one, O Shiva. You are sweet gladness, the fragrance of life, who nourishes us, restores our health, and causes us to thrive. As, in due time, the stem of the cucumber weakens, and the gourd is freed from the vine, so free us from attachment and death, and do not withhold immortality." - by Arthur Berriedale Keith
Word By Word Translation
Tri-ambaka-m - The three-eyed-one Yaja-mahe - We praise Sugandhi-m - The fragrant Pusti-vardhana-m - The prosperity-increaser Urvaruka-m - Disease, attachment, obstacles in life, and resulting depression” iva “-like Bandhanat - From attachment Stem (of the gourd); but more generally, unhealthy attachment Mrtyor - From death Mukshiya - May you liberate Ma - Not Amritat - Realization of immortality
Mahashivaratri Significance Mahashivaratri is one of the important Hindu festivals celebrated with religious fervor across the length and breadth of India. Followers of Lord Shiva consider the festival very special, as it is the time to show their love and devotion to their favorite deity. It is significant in every devotee's life, as it also tests ones ability to abstain from food (because fast is observed on the day) and remain vigil in the night without sleeping (because one has to remain awake all through the night, on Mahashivratri). In addition to this, Maha Shivaratri bears significance in Hindu mythology. In the following lines, learn all about the significance of Mahashivaratri.
Significance Of Maha Shivratri
Importance In Hinduism
According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva declared that the rituals performed by his devotees on the 14th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalgun please him the most. Therefore, year by year, the day is observed as Mahashivratri, wherein devotees observe fast, sing songs and bhajans and offer prayers to the Almighty to seek his blessings. Pujas conducted in Lord Shiva temples during the day have significance too. This is because the rituals are conducted strictly in accordance with the method that is prescribed in Shiva Purana, a Hindu epic. According to the Purana, poojas are conducted once in every three hours, on Maha Shivaratri.
Importance In Human Lives
It is believed that the devotion of Lord Shiva on Mahashivaratri would freed the devotee from the past sins. Moreover, the devotee would reach the adobe of Lord Shiva and live there happily, because he/she is liberated from the cycle of birth and death, once he/she attains moksha or salvation. Therefore, all the devotees of Lord Shiva would flock the temples to offer their prayers. To serve the purpose, jujube fruits, stalks of Bilwa leaves, flowers and garlands are offered to the Shiva Linga by the devotees. If the devotee celebrates the festival at home, he/she would perform the Mahashivratri Puja by taking a holy bath (in warm water) early in the morning, wearing new clothes and then smearing bhasm (holy ash) on their forehead.
Importance For Women
Maha Shivaratri is especially important for women. Ladies, both married and unmarried, would perform Shiva Puja and observe fast with great devotion and sincerity. This is predominantly done to appease Lord Shiva along with his consort Goddess Parvati, who is often called Ma Gauri. It is believed that Ma Gauri bestows marital bliss on unmarried women and blesses the married women with healthy and blissful married life. Since Lord Shiva is regarded as the ideal husband by the Hindu women, the unmarried women would not miss to observe the stringent fast on Shivaratri.