Maha Shivaratri Facts & Celebrations: Lord Shiva's Marriage, Video Prayer Songs
Facts about Lord Shiva Maha Shivaratri Celebrations
- Maha Shivaratri is celebrated all over India but it is the most popular in central, eastern and northern India.
- The name of the Hindu festival Maha Shivaratri means "the night of Shiva."
- Maha Shivaratri is celebrated on the 13th or 14th day of the dark half in the month of Phalgun in the Hindu calendar.
- Maha Shivaratri festival takes place to celebrate the marriage of Goddess Parvati to Lord Shiva. The night also recalls the night when the Tandav (the dance of destruction) was performed by Lord Shiva.
Maha Shivaratri Celebrations
Below is a video on Maha Shivaratri celebration & Worship
- On Maha Shivaratri, the Shiva Lingam is worshipped by washing it with milk, curd, rosewater and honey all through the night. The chant of the mantra, Om Namah Shivaya also continues the entire night.
- Offerings of bael & leaves to the lingam are considered to be sacred on Maha Shivaratri as it is believed that the Goddess Lakshmi resides in them.
- Hymns praising Lord Shiva are sung with great devotion and enthusiasm.
- It is a popular belief that whoever utters the name of Lord Shiva at Maha Shivaratri with devotion will be freed from his sins.
- The ceremonies of Maha Shivratri usually occur at night.
- In Andhra Pradesh, devotees of Lord Shiva swarm the Sri Kalahasteshwara Temple at Kalahasti.
- Lord Shiva Devotees also gather at the Bharamarambha Malikarjunaswamy Temple at Srisailam
The Maha Shivaratri Story & Video Song
Facts About Lord Shiva
- The Hindu Trinity comprises of the Creator - Lord Brahma, the Preserver, Lord Vishnu and the Destroyer and Re-producer of life Lord Shiva.
- Lord Shiva is also known by names like Bholenath, Shankar, Mahesh, Umanath, Nataraj and other names.
- For some devotees Shiva is the Absolute and for others he is the Lord of Yoga.
- For the Hindus, he is the most sought-after deity, when it comes to the granting of wishes.
- To make mankind aware of the presence of Eternal Time, Lord Shiva manifested himself as Lingam on the fourth day of the dark night of Magha (month of February-March).
- Below is a Lord Shiva Song Om Namah Shivaya (Video)
The Story of King Chitrabhanu
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. The story goes as follows.
Once upon a time King Chitrabhanu of the Ikshvaku dynasty, who ruled over the whole of Jambudvipa, was observing a fast with his wife, it being the day of Maha Shivaratri. The sage Ashtavakra came on a visit to the court of the king.
The sage asked, "O king! why are you observing a fast today?"
King Chitrabhanu explained why. He had the gift of remembering the incidents of his previous birth.
The king said to the sage: "In my past birth I was a hunter in Varanasi. My name was Suswara. My livelihood was to kill and sell birds and animals. One day I was roaming the forests in search of animals. I was overtaken by the darkness of night. Unable to return home, I climbed a tree for shelter. It happened to be a bael tree. I had shot a deer that day but I had no time to take it home. I bundled it up and tied it to a branch on the tree. As I was tormented by hunger and thirst, I kept awake throughout the night. I shed profuse tears when I thought of my poor wife and children who were starving and anxiously awaiting my return. To pass away the time that night I engaged myself in plucking the bael leaves and dropping them down onto the ground.
"The day dawned. I returned home and sold the deer. I bought some food for myself and for my family. I was about to break my fast when a stranger came to me, begging for food. I served him first and then took my food.
"At the time of death, I saw two messengers of Lord Shiva. They were sent down to conduct my soul to the abode of Lord Shiva. I learnt then for the first time of the great merit I had earned by the unconscious worship of Lord Shiva during the night of Shivaratri. They told me that there was a Lingam at the bottom of the tree. The leaves I dropped fell on the Lingam. My tears which I had shed out of pure sorrow for my family fell onto the Lingam and washed it. And I had fasted all day and all night. Thus did I unconsciously worship the Lord.
"I lived in the abode of the Lord and enjoyed divine bliss for long ages. I am now reborn as Chitrabhanu."