Celebrate Shivratri 2016 on 7th March, Monday
Shivaratri is celebrated on the 6th night of the dark Phalgun (Feb or March) every year. On the auspicious day, devotees observe fast and keep vigil all night. Mahashivaratri marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the ′Tandava′. It is also believed that on this day Lord Shiva was married to Parvati Ma. On this day Shiva devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and bel leaves on Shiva Linga. Shivaratri is also spelled as Shivratri, Shivarathri and Sivaratri.
Maha Shivaratri is a popular Hindu festival. It is celebrated every year in reverence of the Lord Shiva. Maha Shivaratri festival is also widely known as ‘Shivaratri’. It means the ‘Great Night of Shiva’. This auspicious day is believed to be the day of convergence of divine powers of Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti.
It is believed that on this day the planetary position in universe evokes the spiritual energies very easily. Religious penances are carried out to gain boons through the practice of medication and yoga. People worships lord Shiva whole day and chants “Om Namah Shiva”. Some devotees also perform Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra to seek divine blessings of Lord Shiva.
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.
Legends of MahashivratriThere are various interesting legends related to the festival of Maha Shivaratri. According to one of the most popular legends, Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Some believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction. Another popular Shivratri legend stated in Linga Purana states that it was on Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga. Hence the day is considered to be extremely auspicious by Shiva devotees and they celebrate it as Mahashivaratri – the grand night of Shiva.
Traditions and Customs of ShivaratriVarious traditions and customs related to Shivaratri Festival are dutifully followed by the worshippers of Lord Shiva. Devotees observe strict fast in honor of Shiva, though many go on a diet of fruits and milk some do not consume even a drop of water. Devotees strongly believe that sincere worship of Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Shivaratri, absolves a person of sins and liberates him from the cycle of birth and death. Shivaratri is considered especially auspicious for women. While married women pray for the well being of their husbands unmarried women pray for a husband like Lord Shiva, who is regarded as the ideal husband.
To mark the Shivratri festival, devotees wake up early and take a ritual bath, preferably in river Ganga. After wearing fresh new clothes devotees visit the nearest Shiva temple to give ritual bath to the Shiva Lingum with milk, honey, water etc.
On Shivaratri, worship of Lord Shiva continues all through the day and night. Every three hours priests perform ritual pooja of Shivalingam by bathing it with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water amidst the chanting of â€œOm Namah Shivaya’ and ringing of temple bells. Nightlong vigil or jaagran is also observed in Shiva temples where large number of devotees spend the night singing hymns and devotional songs in praise of Lord Shiva. It is only on the following morning that devotee break their fast by partaking prasad offered to the deity.
Shivaratri Katha in Hindi
‘महाशिवरात्रि’ के विषय में भिन्न – भिन्न मत हैं, कुछ विद्वानों का मत है कि आज के ही दिन शिवजी और माता पार्वती विवाह-सूत्र में बंधे थे जबकि अन्य कुछ विद्वान् ऐसा मानते हैं कि आज के ही दिन शिवजी ने ‘कालकूट’ नाम का विष पिया था जो सागरमंथन के समय समुद्र से निकला था | ज्ञात है कि यह समुद्रमंथन देवताओं और असुरों ने अमृत-प्राप्ति के लिए किया था |एक शिकारी की कथा भी इस त्यौहार के साथ जुड़ी हुई है कि कैसे उसके अनजाने में की गई पूजा से प्रसन्न होकर भगवान् शिव ने उस पर अपनी असीम कृपा की थी | यह कथा पौराणिक “शिव पुराण” में भी संकलित है …
प्राचीन काल में, किसी जंगल में एक गुरुद्रुह नाम का एक शिकारी रहता था जो जंगली जानवरों का शिकार करता तथा अपने परिवार का भरण-पोषण किया करता था |एक बार शिव-रात्रि के दिन जब वह शिकार के लिए निकला , पर संयोगवश पूरे दिन खोजने के बाद भी उसे कोई शिकार न मिला, उसके बच्चों, पत्नी एवं माता-पिता को भूखा रहना पड़ेगा इस बात से वह चिंतित हो गया , सूर्यास्त होने पर वह एक जलाशय के समीप गया और वहां एक घाट के किनारे एक पेड़ पर थोड़ा सा जल पीने के लिए लेकर, चढ़ गया क्योंकि उसे पूरी उम्मीद थी कि कोई न कोई जानवर अपनी प्यास बुझाने के लिए यहाँ ज़रूर आयेगा |वह पेड़ ‘बेल-पत्र’ का था और उसी पेड़ के नीचे शिवलिंग भी था जो सूखे बेलपत्रों से ढके होने के कारण दिखाई नहीं दे रहा था |
रात का पहला प्रहर बीतने से पहले एक हिरणी वहां पर पानी पीने के लिए आई |उसे देखते ही शिकारी ने अपने धनुष पर बाण साधा |ऐसा करने में, उसके हाथ के धक्के से कुछ पत्ते एवं जल की कुछ बूंदे नीचे बने शिवलिंग पर गिरीं और अनजाने में ही शिकारी की पहले प्रहर की पूजा हो गयी |हिरणी ने जब पत्तों की खड़खड़ाहट सुनी, तो घबरा कर ऊपर की ओर देखा और भयभीत हो कर, शिकारी से , कांपते हुए स्वर में बोली- ‘मुझे मत मारो |’ शिकारी ने कहा कि वह और उसका परिवार भूखा है इसलिए वह उसे नहीं छोड़ सकता |हिरणी ने वादा किया कि वह अपने बच्चों को अपने स्वामी को सौंप कर लौट आयेगी| तब वह उसका शिकार कर ले |शिकारी को उसकी बात का विश्वास नहीं हो रहा था |उसने फिर से शिकारी को यह कहते हुए अपनी बात का भरोसा करवाया कि जैसे सत्य पर ही धरती टिकी है; समुद्र मर्यादा में रहता है और झरनों से जल-धाराएँ गिरा करती हैं वैसे ही वह भी सत्य बोल रही है | क्रूर होने के बावजूद भी, शिकारी को उस पर दया आ गयी और उसने ‘जल्दी लौटना’ कहकर , उस हिरनी को जाने दिया |
थोड़ी ही देर बाद एक और हिरनी वहां पानी पीने आई, शिकारी सावधान हो गया, तीर सांधने लगा और ऐसा करते हुए, उसके हाथ के धक्के से फिर पहले की ही तरह थोडा जल और कुछ बेलपत्र नीचे शिवलिंग पर जा गिरे और अनायास ही शिकारी की दूसरे प्रहर की पूजा भी हो गयी |इस हिरनी ने भी भयभीत हो कर, शिकारी से जीवनदान की याचना की लेकिन उसके अस्वीकार कर देने पर ,हिरनी ने उसे लौट आने का वचन, यह कहते हुए दिया कि उसे ज्ञात है कि जो वचन दे कर पलट जाता है ,उसका अपने जीवन में संचित पुण्य नष्ट हो जाया करता है | उस शिकारी ने पहले की तरह, इस हिरनी के वचन का भी भरोसा कर उसे जाने दिया |
अब तो वह इसी चिंता से व्याकुल हो रहा था कि उन में से शायद ही कोई हिरनी लौट के आये और अब उसके परिवार का क्या होगा |इतने में ही उसने जल की ओर आते हुए एक हिरण को देखा, उसे देखकर शिकारी बड़ा प्रसन्न हुआ ,अब फिर धनुष पर बाण चढाने से उसकी तीसरे प्रहर की पूजा भी स्वतः ही संपन्न हो गयी लेकिन पत्तों के गिरने की आवाज़ से वह हिरन सावधान हो गया |उसने शिकारी को देखा और पूछा –“ तुम क्या करना चाहते हो ?” वह बोला-“अपने कुटुंब को भोजन देने के लिए तुम्हारा वध करूंगा |” वह मृग प्रसन्न हो कर कहने लगा – “मैं धन्य हूँ कि मेरा यह शरीर किसी के काम आएगा, परोपकार से मेरा जीवन सफल हो जायेगा पर कृपया कर अभी मुझे जाने दो ताकि मैं अपने बच्चों को उनकी माता के हाथ में सौंप कर और उन सबको धीरज बंधा कर यहाँ लौट आऊं |” शिकारी का ह्रदय, उसके पापपुंज नष्ट हो जाने से अब तक शुद्ध हो गया था इसलिए वह विनयपूर्वक बोला –‘ जो-जो यहाँ आये ,सभी बातें बनाकर चले गये और अभी तक नहीं लौटे ,यदि तुम भी झूठ बोलकर चले जाओगे ,तो मेरे परिजनों का क्या होगा ?” अब हिरन ने यह कहते हुए उसे अपने सत्य बोलने का भरोसा दिलवाया कि यदि वह लौटकर न आये; तो उसे वह पाप लगे जो उसे लगा करता है जो सामर्थ्य रहते हुए भी दूसरे का उपकार नहीं करता | शिकारी ने उसे भी यह कहकर जाने दिया कि ‘शीघ्र लौट आना |’
रात्रि का अंतिम प्रहर शुरू होते ही उस शिकारी के हर्ष की सीमा न थी क्योंकि उसने उन सब हिरन-हिरनियों को अपने बच्चों सहित एकसाथ आते देख लिया था |उन्हें देखते ही उसने अपने धनुष पर बाण रखा और पहले की ही तरह उसकी चौथे प्रहर की भी शिव-पूजा संपन्न हो गयी | अब उस शिकारी के शिव कृपा से सभी पाप भस्म हो गये इसलिए वह सोचने लगा-‘ओह, ये पशु धन्य हैं जो ज्ञानहीन हो कर भी अपने शरीर से परोपकार करना चाहते हैं लेकिन धिक्कार है मेरे जीवन को कि मैं अनेक प्रकार के कुकृत्यों से अपने परिवार का पालन करता रहा |’ अब उसने अपना बाण रोक लिया तथा मृगों से कहा की वे सब धन्य है तथा उन्हें वापिस जाने दिया|उसके ऐसा करने पर भगवान् शंकर ने प्रसन्न हो कर तत्काल उसे अपने दिव्य स्वरूप का दर्शन करवाया तथा उसे सुख-समृद्धि का वरदान देकर “गुह’’ नाम प्रदान किया |मित्रों, यही वह गुह था जिसके साथ भगवान् श्री राम ने मित्रता की थी |
शिव जी जटाओं में गंगाजी को धारण करने वाले, सिर पर चंद्रमा को सजाने वाले,मस्तक पर त्रिपुंड तथा तीसरे नेत्र वाले ,कंठ में कालपाश [नागराज] तथा रुद्रा- क्षमाला से सुशोभित , हाथ में डमरू और त्रिशूल है जिनके और भक्तगण बड़ी श्रद्दा से जिन्हें शिवशंकर, शंकर, भोलेनाथ, महादेव, भगवान् आशुतोष, उमापति, गौरीशंकर, सोमेश्वर, महाकाल, ओंकारेश्वर, वैद्यनाथ, नीलकंठ, त्रिपुरारि, सदाशिव तथा अन्य सहस्त्रों नामों से संबोधित कर उनकी पूजा-अर्चना किया करते हैं —– ऐसे भगवान् शिव एवं शिवा हम सबके चिंतन को सदा-सदैव सकारात्मक बनायें एवं सबकी मनोकामनाएं पूरी करें |
Devotees of Lord Shiva observe the Shivaratri Festival by following the prescribed rituals with sincerity and devotion. All through the day, devotees abstain from eating food and break their fast only the next morning, after the nightlong worship. Ritual baths of Shivalinga in the numerous Shiva temples by Shiva worshipper, mainly women, is another significant feature of Shivratri customs and traditions. Devotees strongly believe that ritual worship of Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Shivaratri absolves them of past sins and they are blessed with Moksha.
Rituals Observed on a Shivaratri MorningAs a tradition devotees wake up early in the morning of the Mahashivratri day and take a ritual sunrise bath, preferably in the holy waters of river Ganga. They also offer prayers to the Sun God, Vishnu and Shiva as a part of a purification rite observed on all-important Hindu festivals. After wearing fresh new clothes devotees visit the nearest Shiva Temple to give the customary bath to the Shivalinga.
On a Shivratri day, Shiva temples are thronged by devotees, mainly women, who come to perform the traditional Shivalinga pooja and seek blessings from the god. At times there is so much rush in the temples that devotees have to wait for their turn to observe pooja. At their turn for worship, devotees circumambulate the Shivalinga, three or seven times, and then pour water over it. Some also pour milk. Sounds of bell and shouts of ‘Shankarji ki Jai’ or (Hail Shiva) reverberate in the temple premises.
Ritual Bath of ShivalingaFollowing the rituals prescribed in the Shiva Purana, every three hours, Shivalingam is given a special bath with milk, yoghurt, honey, sandalwood paste and rose water. Puja, meditation and chanting of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ accompany the ritual bath. Following the bath, vermilion paste is applied on the linga. Traditionally, leaves of a forest tree Aegle marmelos (bilwa, maredu, wood apple) are used for Shiva puja. Thereafter, Bilwa leaves, which have to be a stalk with three leaves, is kept on top of the Shivalinga. Ber or jujube fruit is a special offering to the god on this day. Beetle leaves are also offered by some. Some also offer bilwa leaves in the belief that the Goddess Lakshmi resides in them. Others believe it is offered for its cooling effects on the hot-tempered deity. Many devotees also decorate the linga with flowers and garlands and offer incense sticks and fruit.
Significance of Puja Items
- According to the Shiva Purana, there is a special significance of the six essential puja items used in the Shiva worship.
- Bathing of Shivalinga with water, milk and honey and wood apple or bel leaves added to it, represents purification of the soul.
- The vermilion paste applied on the linga after the ritual bath represents virtue.
- Offering of fruits symbolizes longevity and gratification of desires.
- Burning of incense sticks yields wealth.
- The lighting of the lamp symbolizes attainment of knowledge.
- Offering of betel leaves marks satisfaction with worldly pleasures.
All-Night Shiva WorshipWorship of Lord Shiva continues all through the night on Shivaratri Festival. Devotees stay awake all night and spend the night in Shiva temples in worship of Lord Shiva. Singing of hymns and verses in praise and devotion of Lord Shiva besides the intense chanting of Om Namah Shivay, the mantra that is said free people from all their sins, continue through the night on Shivaratri.
Special worship of Shiva by priests continues through the nightlong prayer vigil. During this ritual worship, Lord Shiva is offered special food made from the fruits of the season, root vegetables and coconuts. Those observing the Shivaratri Fast break their fast the next morning by consuming the prasad offered to Shiva.
Shivaratri Pooja has been given tremendous significance in Hindu mythology. It is said that ritual worship of Lord Shiva on a Shivaratri day pleases Lord Shiva the most. Devotees further believe that by pleasing Lord Shankara on the auspicious Shivaratri day, a person is absolved of past sins and is blessed with Moksha or salvation.
Merits of Shivaratri PujaAccording to Shiva Purana, sincere worship of Lord Shiva yields merits including spiritual growth for the devotees. It also provides extensive details on the right way to perform Shivratri Puja.
Shiva Purana further says that performing abhisheka of ShivaLinga with six different dravyas including milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water while chanting Sri Rudram, Chamakam and Dasa Shanthi pleases Lord Shiva the most. According to the mythology, each of these dravya used in the abhisheka blesses a unique quality:
- Milk is for the blessing of purity and piousness.
- Yogurt is for prosperity and progeny.
- Honey is for sweet speech.
- Ghee is for victory.
- Sugar is for happiness.
- Water is for purity.
Besides, worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri is also considered to be extremely beneficial for women. While, married women pray to Shiva for the well being of their husbands and sons, unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband.
Getting Ready for Shivratri PujaTo perform the worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri, devotees wake up early and take a ritual bath, preferably in the holy waters of river Ganga. This is followed by worship to Sun God, Vishnu and Shiva in accordance with the purification rite observed on all-important Hindu festivals. Devotees then wear fresh new clothes and pay a visit to the nearest Shiva temple. As a tradition, devotees observe a fast on a Shivaratri day. Some do not consume even a drop of water.
Performing Maha Shivaratri PoojaFollowing the method prescribed in Shiva Purana, priests perform ritual puja of Shiva Linga every three hours all through the day and night of Shivaratri Festival. During this pooja, chants of Om Namah Shivaya and sounds of bells reverberate in the temple. Following the bath with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water that helps in the purification of the soul a vermilion paste is applied on the Linga as it represents virtue. These six items form an indispensable part of Shivaratri, be it a simple ceremony at home or grand temple worship
After this, Bilwa leaves, which have to be a stalk with three leaves, is kept on top of the Shivalinga to cool the hot-tempered deity.Ber or jujube fruit is also offered to Lord Shiva, as it is symbolic of longevity and gratification of desires. Some devotees also offer the auspicious betel leaves to Lord Shiva marking satisfaction with worldly pleasures. Garlanding of Linga with flowers and garlands is also a part of the ritual Shivaratri Puja. Devotees also burn incense sticks as is said to yield wealth. Many also light lamps to symbolize attainment of knowledge. It is said that by offering water, hugging the Linga, lighting the diya and incense andringing the temple bells, devotees call into focus all their senses, making them acutely aware of themselves and the universe to which they belong.
This ritual worship of Lord Shiva continues through the day and night of Shivaratri. Devotees stay awake and spent the night in Shiva temples by chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and singing hymns and verses in praise of Lord Shankar. Devotees observing vrat on Shivaratri break it only the next morning by partaking prasad offered to Lord Shiva.
Shivaratri Celebrations in India are marked with devotion and religious fervor. Joy is writ large on the faces of millions of Lord Shiva devotees as they start preparing for the biggest Lord Shiva festival in advance. Celebrations of Shivaratri began with the break of the dawn on the Shivratri day and continue all though the night. Devotees observe fast and spend the day in devotion and worship of Lord Shiva. Many worshippers also participate in the jaagran or the night vigil organized in various Shiva temples across the country. Devotees believe that sincere observance of Shivaratri puja and all night worship of Lord Shiva will absolve them of all their sins and liberate them from the cycle of birth and death.
Shivaratri Celebrations in TemplesAfter the ritual bath, preferably in the sacred waters of river Ganga, devotees pay a visit to the nearest Lord Shiva temple carrying the traditional puja items like milk, water, bel leaves, fruits, incense stick, oil lamp etc. Due to massive popularity of the festival several stalls selling puja items come up outside the temple and do a thriving business.
In the bigger and more popular Shiva temples there is massive rush of devotees. Long queues can be noticed as devotees, mostly women, wait for their turn to perform puja. Since, bathing of Shiva Linga with milk is part of the Shivaratri Puja tradition; little rivers are formed due to the excessively overflowing milk and fruit in the Shiva temples on this day.
Ritual worship of Shiva Linga is done by temple priests every three hours all through the day and night of Shivaratri Festival. Shouts of ‘Shivaji ki Jai’, chanting of the mantra, ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and ringing of temple bells make the atmosphere religious and devotional.
Nightlong vigil on Shivratri or the Jaagran is celebrated by singing of devotional hymns and songs in worship of Lord Shiva. And, it is only in the following morning that the devotees break their fast by consuming prasad offered to the Lord.
Shivaratri Celebrations by WomenShivratri Festival is particularly awaited by Hindu women. On Shivaratri, married and unmarried women perform puja with great faith, as Goddess Parvati who is also called ′Gaura′, is regarded as the giver of ′suhag′ – good husbands, marital bliss and a long and prosperous married life. One can therefore see find women enthusiastically observing the fast and performing the rituals Shiva Pujas on the day.
Tradition of Drinking ThandaiSince Lord Shiva is regarded as an ascetic god, Maha Shivratri is very popular with ascetics. Thandai, a drink made with bhang (cannabis), almonds, and milk, is essentially drunk by the devout on the day as cannabis is said to have been very dear to Shiva.
Recite Lord Shiva Aarti on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivratri to invoke divine blessings of Lord Shiva. For better understanding, meaning of the Shiv Arti has been provided in English along with the verses.
Jai Shiv Onkara Har Shiv Onkara,
Brahma Vishnu Sadashiv Arddhagni Dhara.
Om hara hara Mahaadevaa…Meaning: Glory to you, O Shiva! Glory to you, O Omkaara! May Brahma, Vishnu and the assembly of other gods, including the great LordShiva, relieve me of my afflictions!
Ekanan Chaturanan Panchanan Rajai,
Hansanan Garudasan Vrishvahan Sajai.
Om hara hara Mahaadevaa…
Meaning: Being the Absolute, True being, Consciousness and Bliss, you play the roles of all the three Gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. As Vishnu, you have but one face, as Brahma four and as Shiva five. They gladden the sight of all who behold them. As Brahma you prefer the back of the swan for your seat, as Vishnu you like to ensconce yourself on the back of Garuda (A large mythological eagle – like bird believed to be the vehicle of Lord Vishnu) and as Shiva you make the sacred bull your conveyance; all these stand ready. O Great Lord, pray rid me of my afflictions!
Do Bhuj Char Chaturbhuj Das Bhuj Te Sohai,
Tinon Roop Nirakhta Tribhuvan Jan Mohai.
Om hara hara Mahaadevaa…Meaning: As Brahma, you possess two arms, as Vishnu four and as Shiva (Dashabaahu) ten, all of which look matchlessly lovely. No sooner do the inhabitants of the three spheres behold you than they are all enchanted. O great Lord Omkaara, pray rid me of my afflictions.
Akshaymala Vanmala Mundmala Dhari,
Chadan Mrigmad Sohai Bhale Shashi Dhari.
Om hara hara Mahaadevaa…
Meaning: You are, O great Lord Omkaara, wearing a garlandof Rudraaksha, another of forest flowers the third of skulls; your forehead, glistening in the moonlight which it holds, is smeared with sandal-paste and musk. Pray rid me of my afflictions.
Shvetambar Pitambar Baghambar Ange,
Sankadik Brahmadik Bhootadik Sange.
Om hara hara Mahaadevaa…
Meaning: O great Lord Omkaara, your body is attired in white and yellow silken clothes and in tiger skin, while in your company are troops of goblins, gods like Brahma and divine seers like Sanaka. Pray rid me of my afflictions.
Kar Men Shreshth Kamandalu Chakra Trishooldharta,
Jagkarta Jagharta Jag Palankarta.
Om hara hara Mahaadevaa…Meaning: O great Lord Omkaara, you hold akamandalu (the mendicants water-jar) in one of your hands and in another a trident; you bring joy to all, destroy all distress and sustain the whole world. May you rid me of all my afflictions!
Brahma Vishnu Sadashiv Janat Aviveka,
Pranvakshar Ke Madhye Yah Tinon Eka.
Om hara hara Mahaadevaa…Meaning: The ignorant (unwise and stupid) know Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as three individual gods, but they are all indistinguishably fused into a single mystic syllable ‘OM’. Pray rid me of my afflictions.
Trigun Shiv Ki Aarti Jo Koi Nar Gave,
Kahat Shivanand Swami Manvanchhit Phal Pave.
Om hara hara Mahaadevaa…Meaning: Says Swami Shivananda, â€œHe who recites this Arti to the Lord of the three gunas-sattva, rajas and tamas – attains fulfillment of his heart’s desireâ€. O great Lord Omkaara, may you rid me of my afflictions.
Maha Mrityunjay Mantra
The Maha Mrityunjay Mantra or Lord Shiva Mantra is considered extremely powerful and significant by the Hindus. Also known as the Moksha Mantra of Lord Shiva, chanting of Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is said to create divine vibrations that heals. Devotees of Lord Shiva further believe that Maha Mrityunjay evokes the Shiva within human beings and removes the fear of death, liberating one from the cycle of death and rebirth.
The Maha Mrityunjaya MantraThe following Maha Mrityunjay Mantra has been taken from the Sukla Yajurveda Samhita III. 60. The Mantra is addressed to Lord Shiva and is a centuries old technique of connecting one to pure consciousness and bliss.
Om Tryambhakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam |
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat ||
Om. We worship The Three-Eyed Lord Shiva who is fragrant and who increasingly nourishes the devotees. Worshipping him may we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality just as the ripe cucumber easily separates itself from the binding stalk.
The mantra is a prayer to Lord Shiva who is addressed as Sankara and Trayambaka. Sankara is sana (blessings) and Kara (the Giver). Trayambaka is the three eyed one (where the third eye signifies the giver of knowledge, which destroys ignorance and releases us from the cycle of death and rebirth).
Significance of Maha Mrityunjaya MantraDevotees strongly believe that proper recitation of the Maha Mrityunjaya rejuvenates, bestows health, wealth, long life, peace, prosperity and contentment. It is said that chanting of Shiva Mantra generates divine vibrations that ward off all the negative and evil forces and creates a powerful protective shield. Besides, it is said to protect the one who chants against accidents and misfortunes of every kind. Recitation of the mantra creates vibration that pulsates through every cell, every molecule of human body and tears away the veil of ignorance. Hindus believe that recitation of the mantra ignites a fire within that consumes all negativity and purifies entire system. It is also said to have a strong healing power and can cure diseases declared incurable even by the doctors. Many believe Maha Mrityunjay Mantra to be a mantra that can conquer death and connect human beings to their own inner divinity.
Best Time to ChantChanting the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra with sincerity, faith and devotion in Bramha Muhurata is very beneficial. But one can also do Maha Mrityunjaya japa anytime in a pure environment with great benefit and discover the happiness that′s already within.
For the devotees of Lord Shiva here is a collection of Lord Shiva Prayers with meaning! Devotees seeking blessings of Lord Shiva must recite Shiv Prarthana with sincerity and faith.
Lord Shiva Prayer – IOm Sarva Mangal Manglaye Shivay Sarvaarth Sadhike
Sharanye Trayambake Gauri Narayaani Namostu Te
Meaning:Oh the divine couple Shiva Parvati !
O ! Thee, the protectors of this universe,
Along with Lords Brahma and Vishnu
We pray to You for our well-being, prosperity and the enlightenment of our souls.
Lord Shiva Prayer – IIThis mantra is a prayer to Lord Shiva who is addressed as Sankara and Trayambaka. Sankara means giver of blessings: (sana = blessings, Kara = the Giver). Trayambaka is the three eyed one, where the third eye signifies the giver of knowledge, which destroys ignorance and releases us from the cycle of death and rebirth.
Om Namastestu Bhagavan
Trikagni – Kalaya
Kalagni – Rudraya Nil – Kanthaya Mrityunjaya
Sriman Mahadevaya Namah.
Meaning:Om. I bow down to Lord Shiva, who is the creator and protector of the universe, who is the greatest among Gods, who has three eyes, who is the annihilator of all the three worlds, one whose throat is blue, who is the conqueror of death, who is the Lord of all, who is propitious who is possessed of all marks of greatness and who is the greatest among Gods. To him my prostration.
Lord Shiva Prayer – IIINaagendra haaraaya thriloochanaaya bhasmaangadhaaraaya maheshwaraaya
Nityaaya shudhdhaaya digambaraaya tasmai nakaaraaya namahshivaaya
Meaning:Salutations to Shiva who wears a serpent as garland, who is three-eyed, whose bare body is covered with ashes, who is forever pure and the very embodiment of sacrifice.
Shiva DhunShivo Bhokta, Shiva Bhojya
Shivo Karta, Shivah Karma
Meaning:Shiva is the experiencer and the highest object of experience. Shiva is the goal of Sadhana. There is nothing apart from Shiva. There is nothing other than Shiva. Whatever there is, is Shiva. There is nothing, which is not Shiva. There is no place, which is not Shiva. There is no time, which is not Shiva. To be aware of this is to be aware of Shiva.
Shivaratri Fast is considered to be the most important fast for the devotees of Lord Shiva. Shiva Purana goes on to say that if a devotee observes Shivaratri Vrata with sincerity, pure devotion and love he is blessed with the divine grace of Lord Shiva. Every year devotees observe Maha Shivaratri fast with devotion and sincerity. Though many go on a diet of fruits and milk, some do not consume even a drop of water all through the day and night of Shivaratri Festival.
Merits of Mahashivratri VratAccording to Hindu mythology, observance of mahashivratri Vrat with discipline helps a devotee to control the two great natural forces that afflict a man, rajas guna (the quality of passionate activity) and tamas guna (the quality of inertia). When a devotee spends an entire day in the Feet of Lord and worships with sincerity, his motion is controlled and evils like lust, anger and jealousy, born of Rajas are ignored and subdued. Besides, when a devotee observes vigil throughout the night (jaagran) he manages to conquer the evils of Tamas Guna too. It has also been mentioned that when a devotee observes a round of worship every three hours, the Shivaratri Vrata becomes perfect.
Devotees of Lord Shiva believe consider Shivratri fast to be extremely auspicious and rate it equal or more than performing an Ashwamedha Yagna. Some believe that a devotee who observes a Shivaratri Fast with sincerity and utters the name of Lord Shiva with perfect devotion is absolved from all sins. Such a devotee reaches the abode of Lord Shiva and lives there happily. He is also liberated from the cycle of birth and death.
Customs and Traditions of Shivaratri FastAs a tradition, devotees who are on a strict fast on Shivaratri take bath with the water that is boiled with black sesame seeds to wash away bodily impurities. After putting on fresh new clothes, a devotee visit the nearest Lord Shiva temple to perform the ritual Shiva Linga bath with milk, honey etc. While bathing the Lingam a devotee prays, “O Lord ! I will bathe Thee with water, milk, etc. Do Thou kindly bathe me with the milk of wisdom. Do Thou kindly wash me of all my sins, so that the fire of worldliness which is scorching me may be put out once for all, so that I may be one with Thee-the One alone without a second.”
Following the sacred bath, devotee applies haldi-kumkum on the lingum and place a garland of white and pink lotus flowers on it. Bel leaves are also placed at the top of the Lingum. Aarthi and bhajans in praise of Lord Shiva are also sung to invoke his blessings. Devotee also light incense stick and ring temple bell to invoke the blessing of the large-hearted Lord Shiva.
It may be noted that unlike most other festivals, where after performing the Puja of the deity a feast follows, a Shivratri fast continues all through the day and night. Devotees observe an all night vigil while chanting the mantra, “Om Namah Shivaya” and singing devotional hymns and songs. Even during the night, Shiva Lings is given the holy bath every three hours. An offering of fruits is also made to the deity. There is also the tradition to listen to the recital of various legends and stories related to Shivaratri and Lord Shiva and to understand its deeper meanings. It is only in the following morning that a devotee breaks the fast by consuming the prasad offered to Lord Shankar.
The Legend of Ganga
The legend of Ganga’s descent from the heavens into the earth has been narrated in the Hindu mythological epic of Ramayana. The legend explains the popular custom of giving bath to Shiv Linga on Shivaratri festival.
The LegendOnce King Sagar – the ruler of Ayodhya and an ancestor of Lord Rama successfully performed the Ashwamedha Yagya for 99 times. Each time, he sent the horse around the earth it returned to the kingdom unchallenged. However, Indra – the King of God’s became jealous of King Sagar’s success. So when King Sagar performed the sacrifice of the 100th time, Indra kidnapped and hid the Yagya horse in the hermitage of Kapila Muni
In search of the horse, sixty thousand princes from Ayodhya reached Kapil Muni’s hermitage. They mistook the sage to be the abductor and attacked him. An enraged Kapila Muni burnt the 60,000 princes to ashes. On hearing about the plight of his father and uncles, King Bhagiratha – one of the grandchildren of King Sagar requested Kapila Muni to grant a solution to the problem. Kapila Muni advised that the waters of the river Ganga would miraculously bring back the dead princes to life.
King Bhagirath left his kingdom and began to mediate for the salvation of the souls of his ancestors. It is said that Bhagirath observed a penance to Brahma for a thousand years, requesting Ganga to come down to earth from heaven and wash over his ancestor′s ashes to release them from a curse and allow them to go to heaven. Pleased with the devotion, Brahma granted Bhagirath’s wish but told him to pray to Lord Shiva, as he alone could sustain the weight of her descent.
Accordingly, Lord Shiva held out his thick matted hair to catch the river as she descended. The meandering through Shiva’s lock softened Ganga’s journey to the earth and the holy waters of river Ganga thus washed away the ashes of Bhagirath’s ancestors. A modified version of the legend says, what reached the earth were just sprinkles from Lord Shiva’s hair. The Ganga, thus, became an attribute of Shiva. This manifestation of Shiva is known as Gangadhara.
The legend is re-enacted by devotees of Lord Shiva as they give a bath to the linga during worship. And for this reason, many devotees prefer to take a dip in the holy water of river Ganga on a Shivaratri day.
Shivratri, is the darkest day of the month. Celebrating Shivratri on a monthly basis, and the particular day, Mahashivratri, almost seems like celebration of darkness. Any logical mind would resist darkness and naturally opt for light. But the word “Shiva” literally means “that which is not.”
Lahore: Over 120 Hindu pilgrims from India arrived here in this eastern Pakistani city on Saturday to participate in the Mahashivratri festivities.
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But on the night of Mahashivratri, one can do this sadhana and reap many benefits. Those who cannot be at the Isha Yoga Center during Mahashivratri can …
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Mahashivratri 2016. Date: 7 Mar 2016. Location: Isha Yoga Center. Velliangiri Foothills, Semmedu Post Coimbatore, India. Session Info: Time: 6pm to 6am.