Monday, 24 February 2014

Mahashivratri

Mahashivratri as the name suggests is in the honor of Lord Shiva. According to the Hindu calander, this festival falls on the 14th night of full moon in the month of Phalgun (Feb-March). Fast is observed on this day to appease Lord Shiva.

There are many legends related to this festival. One of them says that it is day when Lord Shiva married Parvati. The other says on this day Lord Shiva manifested in the form of Linga for the first time. The third says he performed Tandava the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction on this auspicious night of Shivaratri.

On this day people observe fast. Some have only fruits, milk and water. Some have only water. This signifies gain of will power and release of all sins. Since Shiva is considered as a ideal husband, unmarried women pray for a husband like him on this day. Married women pray for a long life for their husbands on this day. Some devotees observe Jagran performing songs and dance for Him. In the morning they break their fast by eating the prasad.

There is one more legend related to the Jaagran performed by the devotees. According to the story, when the battle between devas and asuras took place, a pot of poison came out of the ocean and on the request of gods, Lord Shiva drank the poison. The poison was so potent that it changed the color of His neck to blue. For this reason, Lord Shiva is also called Neelkanth, where ‘Neela’ means blue and ‘Kantha’ means neck or throat. As part of the therapy, Lord Shiva was advised to awake during the night. Thus, to keep Shiva awake, the gods performed various dances and played music. Pleased with their devotion, He blessed them all, the next morning. This signifies the Jaagran.

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