Maha Shivaratri Celebrations | February 18, 2023
Best wishes for Maha Shivaratri from PurePrayer!Maha Shivaratri is celebrated on the day of Maagha Bahula Chaturdashi. This year, Maha Shivaratri is occurring on February 18, 2023.
The day of Maha Shivaratri represents many facets of Lord Shiva and his acts. Lord Shiva wed Parvati on this day. This is celebrated as ‘Girija Kalyan’. He set a test to Brahma and Vishnu by becoming an endless column of light on this day. He did the cosmic dance of ‘Ananda Tandav’ before drinking the Halahal (poison produced by Vasuki, the snake) during the Great Churn (Samudra Manthan) to save the world on this day.
Rudrabhishekam is performed in four time periods during Maha Shivaratri and is known as “Yaam” while chanting Sri Rudram. Hence, this procedure is also known as ‘Yaam Puja’. Kailash Yantra is drawn with rice-flour and offered obeisance. Maha Mrityunjya Homa and Girija Kalyan are also part of celebrating Maha Shivaratri. It is very auspicious to offer the tripinnate ‘Bilva Leaves’ to Lord Shiva on this day.
All devotees and followers of Lord Shiva observe Upavaas (fasting) and Jaagaran (staying awake) on this day. This is said to please Lord Shiva. They also go on ‘Yatras’ to perform a Teertha Snaan (holy dip) in rivers and lakes followed by a visit to Shiva temples to offer obeisance. Many perform the study of ‘Sri Rudradhyay’, seeking his benevolence and grace. You can recite the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, or simply the line “Aum NamaH Shivaay” through-out the day seeking the lord’s Krupa Kataaksh (grace).
Kshetras to Observe the Celebrations of Maha Shivaratri
- Gokarna Kshetra
- Kashi (Varanasi)
- Nashik (Trimbakeshwar)
- Ujjain and many more
Mahashivratri 2023 – Date, celebrations, history and significance of Upavaas
All through India devotees observe the Maha Shivaratri festival. Shiva-Bhaktas gather in Shiva temples with their offerings. They pray, chant, meditate and fast all day and night. The fast or Vrat is at the heart of the celebration and the Shiva followers observe the solemnity of their vows and intentions. Maha Shivaratri Vrat is different from those followed during other Hindu festivals, where devotees eat food after performing the puja of the deity.
- Setting the stage for deep meditation:
Fasting detoxifies the body and purifies the mind. Your body feels lighter and your mind feels more relaxed. At the same time, the mind becomes more alert and is more prepared for prayer and meditation, which is the central aspect of Maha Shivaratri celebration.
- Increasing the power of your prayers
When both your mind and body are detoxified, there is greater strength in your intentions and prayers. It is said that Lord Shiva’s grace is bestowed upon you when you observe the Maha Shivratri Vrat with sincerity and devotion; your wishes are fulfilled.
- Focusing on meditation:
Mediation is a hundred times more effective on the day of Maha Shivaratri than others. All solely focus on meditating on this auspicious day. Fasting enables you to control the body’s natural processes, so you are not distracted from being one with Supreme Consciousness.
- Absolving you of sins:
Fasting is said to free the mind from negative emotions like greed, lust, anger, and anxiety. It is believed that when you fast, and chant Shiva’s name, you are absolved of all your sins.
There is also a legend behind why people fast during Mahashivratri.
How Maha Shivaratri came into Practice?
Devas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons) were always at war with each other. However, in a rare show of solidarity, on the advice of Lord Vishnu, they performed the Samudra Manthan (The Great Churn) in the Ksheerasagar (Ocean of Milk) together for amrit, the nectar of immortality. As they used Vasuki, the serpent king as a rope, the poison came out from Vasuki’s mouth. This was known as Halahal. Everyone prayed to Lord Shiva requesting his help. The Lord drank the poison and saved them.
He did the cosmic dance of ‘Ananda Tandav’ before drinking the Halahal (poison produced by Vasuki, the snake) during the Great Churn (Samudra Manthan) to save the world on this day.
His consort Parvati, was worried that the poison would enter the Lord’s body and cause him pain. She held Shiva’s throat to stop the poison from spreading, for one day and one night, which is why his neck turned blue and earning the name Neelakantha. Since Parvati fasted the entire day and night at this time, it has become an age-old tradition to fast and stay awake all night during Mahashivratri.
Lord Shiva and Goddess Girija can be appeased with simple but dedicated offer of worship and Sevas. Girija Kalyana is one of the most meritorious Sevas to please Lord Shiva. Men and women seeking a prospective match for wedding, couples suffering from troubled relationship and childless couples can offer Girija Kalyana Seva to Lord Shiva and Goddess Girija.
Benefits of Girija Kalyan
- Grace of Shiva-Parvati
- Suitable alliance
- Harmony at home
- Resolves matrimonial matters
- Marital harmony
- Progeny for Issueless couples
Maha Mrityunjaya Homa
Maha Mrityunjaya homa is of great significance and finds mention in Shiva Puranam and Rigveda as a means to even bring a person back from jaws of death. This homa has the ability to ward off evil or negative elements. It gives the strength and ability to face adversities of life, particularly when performed on the day of Janma Nakshatra (birth star).
Benefits of Maha Mrityunjaya Homa
- Remission from bad health
- Protection from negative or evil forces
- Personality improvement
Lord Rudra is known as Abhishekapriya as he loves Abhisheka or anointment with holy water. In this seva, sacred Kalashas are filled with water and the presence of Varuna and holy rivers namely Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri are invoked into the water. With that water alone the Lord will be anointed by chanting the hymns, especially the Rudra Chamaka.
Maha Rudrabhishekam Package includes offering meals to 54 Brahmins.
Benefits of Maha Rudrabhishekam
- Benevolence of Saturn in antagonistic/unfavorable position
- Reduces sufferings
- Avoidance of tough situations
Yekadasha Rudra Homa
Yekadasha Rudra Homa is a Fire Ceremony in which eleven forms of Rudra are invoked and worshipped. Homa consists of two sections the Namakam and the Chamakam. Namakam is a prayer to Lord Rudra to forego his ire and shower his benevolence. While, Chamakam is a list of Ishtakamyas (desires) that need to be fulfilled by Lord Rudra for a happy, healthy life.
The main objective of Ekadasa Rudra homa is protection against the negative thoughts and grant of desires. Eleven forms of Rudra are invoked and appeased through ‘HavyaVahana’ (Agni) who delivers the Homadravya to Lord Shiva.
Benefits of Yekadasha Rudra Homa
- Addresses delays in marriages
- Yields the desired Kamyas of health, wealth and prosperity
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