Significance of Maha Sivaratri

Published: Thursday, February 15, 2007, 17:22 [IST]
 
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Maha Sivaratri, celebrated all over India, falls on the 13th (or 14th) day of the dark half of the Phalgun (February-March) month. The name "Maha Sivaratri" means "the night of Lord Siva" and celebrations happen all over the country on the night of this auspicious occasion. There are many beliefs behind the celebration of this religious festival. Some devotees believe that Lord Siva married Goddess Parvati on this propitious day. However the major part of the devotees follow another story of the belief.

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Once the Devas and Asuras joined together for "Saagaramathanam" - churning of Ocean. They enjoyed PariJatha, KalpaVrikshu (Tree which bestows any boons), Kamadhenu (Cow which bestows any boons) and Amritha (Nectar). However when the mighty poison "Kalakoota" emerged, all of them were in panic and nobody could combat it. At that time Lord Shiva emerged to help the world and swallowed the poison. Goddess Parvati was all for her husband and held his throat to enter into Lord Siva. Lord Siva neither swallowed nor spat out the poison as he held it in his neck and became Neelakanta (Blue neck).

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Maha Sivaratri is supposed to be the favorite day of Lord Shiva. Devotees take Sivaratri vrata to control the negative emotions of passion and ignorance in them. All devotees fast the whole day, many of them without taking even taking a single drop of water. They will perform a grand havan for the peace and welfare of all. The whole day will be spent in chanting "Om Namah Shivaya" and in meditation upon the Lord. Shiva temples all over the country will conduct special poojas and during the four quarters of Sivaratri, the Shiva Lingam is worshipped with intense devotion. Sannyas Diksha is given on this day to earnest seekers on the path.

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There is great universal message behind the celebration of Maha Sivaratri. As long as there is the arrival of beneficiary things, human beings compete for them. On the other hand when something unpleasant happens, we don't even want to face them and run away from them. Maha Sivaratri shows how one can become beneficiary to the whole society by accepting bitterness around us. At the same time we should not embitter ourselves with the influence of the outside evils. Get ready to worship Lord Siva on this Maha Sivaratri.

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