Reasons to Celebrate Maha Shivarathri
Maha Shivarathri – 24-Feb-2017
Maha Shivratri is the most auspicious night to worship Lord Shiva. This usually falls on the 14th night of the new moon day (Amavasya), during the dark half of the month of Phalguna (Feb / March). Hindus all over the world, celebrate this auspicious occasion by offering special prayer to the mighty lord of destruction. The word ‘Shivratri’ is derived from Sanskrit words ‘Shiva’ – denoting Lord Shiva and ‘ratri’ – denoting ‘night’. Shivrathri is the sacred night when Lord Shiva is said to have performed the divine Tandava Nritya– the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction. This festival is observed for a period of one full day and one full night.
The below are the three main reasons to celebrate Shivratri
- The complete and formless God Shiva is believed to have taken the form of “Lingodbhav Moorti” exactly at midnight on Maha Shivratri. That is the reason why Shiva Bhakths (devotees) keep vigil during the night of Shivratri and perform the ritual of Abhisheka on the Shivlinga (coronation of the phallic idol) at midnight.
- Lord Shiva was married to Devi Parvati on this auspicious occasion of Shivratri. Lord Shiva without Devi Parvati is regarded as ‘Nirgun Brahman’. With his illusive power, (Maya, Parvati) He becomes the “Sagun Brahman” for the purpose of the pious devotion of his devotees.
- The mighty Lord Eashwara is said to have become ‘Neelkanda’ (The one with the blue throat) on Shivratri. The blue color found on his throat was caused by swallowing the deadly poison ‘Halahala’ that came up during the churning of the milky ocean. The poison is considered so deadly that even a drop in it into his stomach, which represents the universe, would have annihilated the entire world. In order to prevent this, Lord Shiva held it in his neck, thereby stopping it from getting inside. Thus his neck turned blue as an ‘after effect’ of this deadly poison. Shivratri is therefore celebrated as a day of thanksgiving to the Lord for protecting life on this world from annihilation.
The 14th shloka of Shivmahimna Stotra says: “O three eyed Lord, when the poison came up through the churning of the ocean by the gods and demons, they were all aghast with fear as if the untimely end of all creation was imminent. In your kindness, you drank all the poison that still makes your throat blue. O Lord, even this blue mark increases your glory. Which is apparently a blemish turned an ornament in one intent on ridding the world of fear.”