Maha Shivaratri will be celebrated on the 18th of February 2023. Why do we celebrate this festival? Maha Shivaratri is known as the “Great Night of Lord Shiva”. It is considered one of the most important Hindu festivals. The meaning of Shiva is auspiciousness and prosperity—bestowing principle. Shiva controls the cycle of birth and death. He is responsible for the creation of languages, art, dance, music, yoga, ayurveda and herbal medicines.
There are several stories connected to the festival. Parvati performed great austerities and penances in order to wed Shiva. She was rewarded for her Tapasya (penance), and Shiva fell in love with her. Her wedding took place a day before the new moon. This time is known as the coming together of Shiva and Shakti and spiritually it symbolizes the union of knowledge and energy.
Another story connected to Maha Shivaratri is the tale of King Chitrabhanu, who is said to have attained enlightenment on this day. He was a devout follower of Lord Shiva and had been fasting for several days in anticipation of the festival. On the night of Shivratri he had a vision of Lord Shiva and was granted enlightenment. This story is an inspiration for devotees of Shiva. A fast is observed on this day.
This festival is also believed to be the day, when Shiva performed the Tandava, which symbolizes the destruction of the universe and the creation of a new one. The tandava represents the cycle of birth and death and rebirth in the universe.
What can we do on Maha Shivaratri?
We can perform a Shiva Puja. Puja is considered the fastest way to praise and please Shiva. The puja performed on Maha Shivaratri removes negativity and one receives blessings from the divine couple. Milk, honey (for both please use plantbased alternatives to avoid animal cruelty), bhilva (stone apple) and datura (Jimsonweed) leaves are offered to Shiva, while reciting hymns and mantras dedicated to him. A fast performed on this day incurs Shiva’s blessings. Unmarried girls will find a partner, and the mind, body and soul are purified. The fast is considered to be an act of self-discipline and devotion.
One can wear a Rudraksha mala on this day. The Rudraksha is known to be a gift of Shiva to us. The Rudraksha is the dried seed of the stone fruit, which is used as a prayer bead. Rudrakshas are also known as the tears of Shiva. The name of Rudra is one of the 1008 names of the deity, Shiva. Aksha means tears in Sanskrit. After thousand years of meditation, tears began to fall from the eyes of Shiva in compassion for humanity and the tears became the Rudraksha tree. Rudraksha is mentioned in 14 ancient scriptures. Lord Shiva himself is depicted wearing various Rudraksha.
Reciting the name of Shiva pleases him. He is also known as Mahadev. Regular chanting of “Aum Namah Shivaya” will lead to blessings.
Visiting the temple of Shiva.
Traditionally green clothes are worn as Shiva loves this color.
Now we come to the fun part, what prasad can we make? Here is a five-minute recipe.
Dry fruit ladoo
Half cup almonds, half cup pistachios, half cup pitted dates, half cup chopped raisins and four to five apricots. Blend it all together with a dash of warm water to make smooth paste. Then take a pan and add in two tablespoons sunflower oil. Cook the mixture till it turns thick, add some cardamom powder and fennel powder, make small ladoos by greasing your palms with oil.
Serve after puja.
Aim Hrim Klim