One story says, during Samudra Manthan, a pot emerged from the ocean which consists of poison. To protect the entire world from the evil effects, Shiva drank the entire poison and held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. Due to this, he is known as Neelakantha.
Digital Desk: Maha Shivratri is a Hindu festival which is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. Devotees observe this day by fasting, chanting prayers and meditating. Unlike other Hindu festivals, which are celebrated during the day, Maha Shivratri is celebrated during the night. Celebrations also include bathing the Shiva Linga in honey and milk in the temples.
According to Drik Panchang, the South Indian calendar marks Maha Shivratri on Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in the month of Magha, the North Indian calendar celebrates Maha Shivaratri in the month of Phalguna. However, both celebrate it on the same day.
But what is the story behind this divine celebration?
According to legend, Maha Shivratri marks the occasion when Shiva first performed the Tandava Nritya – also known as the dance of primordial creation, preservation, and destruction. It was through this dance of devotion that Lord Shiva saved the world from destruction.
According to another popular legend, Shiva granted Goddess Paravati, an avatar of Shakti, and wished to marry him as he was impressed by her devotion. On a moonless night, the goddess observed fast for his good health after their marriage. Today also, this ritual is followed by an Indian woman who prays for the long life of their husband.
One story says, during Samudra Manthan, a pot emerged from the ocean which consists of poison. To protect the entire world from the evil effects, Shiva drank the entire poison and held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. Due to this, he is known as Neelakantha. Shivratri is celebrated as an event due to which Shiva saved the world.
What to do on this auspicious day?
1. Observe Fasting: Fasting detoxifies the body and curtails the restlessness of the mind. It recommended to fast with fruits and food that are easily digestible.
2. Meditate: It is advisable for people to keep awake and meditate on shivratri . The position of the constellations on the night of Mahashivratri is considered very auspicious for meditation
3. Chant Om Namah Shivaya: Chanting OM NAMAH SHIVAI elevates your energy. It harmonizes five elements of the universe.
4. Attend Mahashivratri Puja or Rudra Puja: it will bring positivity and purity in the environment and transforms negative emotions.
5. Worship the shivalinga: Shivalinga is symbolic representation of formless shiva.
Worshipping the Shivalinga includes offering ‘Bel Patra’ (leaves of the bel tree) to it. Offering ‘Bel Patra’ represents offering three aspects of your being - rajas (the aspect of you that is responsible for activity), tamas (the aspect of you that brings inertia) and sattva.
Surrendering to lord Shiva on this divine day brings peace and freedom in the lives of devotee.