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Maha Shivaratri Puja Vidhi and Shivaratri Vrat Katha - Know About Shivaratri Festival

MAHA SHIVARATRI: THE NIGHT OF SHIVA


Hindus celebrate each and every Gods and Goddesses in a grand way. One such festival is Maha Shivaratri. Also known as 'The Night of Shiva', this festival falls on the moonless 14th night during the month of Phalgun. It corresponds to the month of February March in the Roman calendar.
Shivaratri Puja Vidhi and Maha Shivaratri Vrat Katha

Legends of Mahashivaratri

Mythologists have different perspectives and tales behind Maha Shivaratri. Some say that Maha Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Some believe that on this auspicious night, Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandava'—the dance of primal creation, preservation and destruction. According to other legends, it is on this day, Lord Shiva manifested in the form of a Linga.

How devotees Celebrate Mahashivaratri Festival?

Devotees of Lord Shiva dutifully and religiously observe certain customs and traditions behind Maha Shivaratri. It is considered auspicious particularly for women. Married women pray for the well being of their husbands, while unmarried women pray for a husband like Lord Shiva, who they regard as an ideal husband.

Mahashivaratri Fast
As per the tradition, devotees observing 'Mahashivaratri Fast' is observed whole day and night. They take bath with boiled water and black sesame seeds to wash away impurities. Some may go on fast with only fruits. Some may observe complete fast without food and water.

Mahashivaratri Puja
Devotees throng at different Shiva Temples spread all over the world. Some devotees observe an all-night vigil changing the mantra 'Om Namah Shivaya'. At 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. On the morning of this day, devotees perform the ritual bath called 'Shiva Linga'. They bath with milk, honey, and water.

After this sacred bath, she smears with Haldi-kumkum on the lignum. Then, they decorate the linga with a garland of white and pink lotus flowers on it. Bel leaves are also placed at the top. Thereafter, special Mahashivaratri devotional songs are sung to invoke his blessings with the ringing of the temple bell.

Mahashivaratri Thandai
Since Lord Shiva is regarded as an ascetic god, Maha Shivratri is very popular with ascetics. Devotees prepare 'Thandai'—a drink made with bhang (cannabis), almonds, and milk. The tradition of preparing thandai is very popular among the youth. They sit together in groups and ground the almonds all night long.

Mahashivaratri Feast
On this Hindus relish and prepare sweets like cashew nut barfi, saboodana kheer, potato pumpkin pancakes, Shivratri raita, aloo khichdi, and Tikki.

Mahashivaratri Puja Vidhi: Method of Worship

⦁ For the fast of Maha Shivratri, the follower is recommended to have a single meal before the main fasting.
⦁ This common fasting practice ensures that any undigested food is not left in our system on the fasting day.
⦁ On the day of Shivratri, the practitioner needs to wake up early in the morning and add black sesame seeds to warm water before taking a bath with it.
⦁ Devotees believe that taking a bath with this water on the auspicious day of Maha Shivratri purifies the soul and body. It is preferred to take a bath in the Ganga river.
⦁ After bathing, the devotee should take a pledge of fasting the entire day and break it on the next day. To receive the blessing of Lord shiva.
⦁ Devotees need to be careful and they must avoid any interference in this pledge after taking a resolution.
⦁ After this, the worship of the Lord Surya, lord Vishnu and lord shiva is followed as per the Hindu traditions.
⦁ After worshiping the three deities, the pooja vidhi begins for the day.
⦁ At the time of fasting, the devotee must abstain from any kind of food articles.
⦁ Drinking water is also not allowed if devotees are following a strict form of fast.
⦁ However, fruits and milk can be consumed during the day.
⦁ Devotees need to take a bath before the evening worship of Lord Shiva or visit the Shiva temple.
⦁ If it is not possible to visit the temple, worship can be practiced on a Shiva Linga at home.
⦁ This worship of Lord Shiv has to be done in the night and can be performed once or four times.
⦁ which means that one can divide the duration of the whole night into four prahar to perform this worship four times in a single night.
⦁ Those who have to worship shiva only one time should do it at midnight.
⦁ As per the traditional worship method of Maha Shivratri, shiva linga Abhishek has to be conducted with six different materials.
⦁ These materials are:
Milk - For the blessing of purity and piousness
Curd - For prosperity and progeny
Honey - For sweet speech.
Ghee - For victory
Sugar - For happiness
Water - For purity
⦁ For those who are performing the Abhishek for four prahar, the material are as follows;
* Abhishek of water for the first prahar
* Abhishek of curd for the second prahar
* Abhishek of ghee for the third prahar
* Abhishek of honey for the fourth prahar
⦁ Once the Abhishek rituals are completed, the shiva linga is to adorned with a garland that is made from Bilva leaves.
⦁ It is said that the Bilva leaves helps in keeping lord shiva calm.
⦁ After that, the paste of sandalwood or kumkum is applied to the shiv linga and, lamps - dhup is lit before the linga.
⦁ Along that, Madar(Arka) flowers and vibhuti is also used to adorn lord shiva.
⦁ After that, the paste of sandalwood or kumkum is applied to the shiv lings and, lamps.
⦁ Along with that, Madar(Arka) flowers and vibhuti is also used to adorn Lord Shiva.
⦁ While performing this worship the devotee must constantly keep chanting the "Om Namah Shivaya" mantra.
⦁ In order to reap the maximum benefit of Shivratri fast, devotees should break their fast after taking a bath before the Chaturdashi Tithi ends.

Maha Shivaratri Puja Vrat Katha: Story of Maha Shivaratri

The story behind Maha Shivratri, Sage Durvasa curses Lord Indra. Sage Durvasa once gave a garland the Lord Indra, Indra placed the garland on his elephant, but the elephant through the garland away as the odor was unpleasant. Durvasa cursed Indra as three Sanskrit for fortune that dwells within the garland will leave him. The Curse of Durvasa began to take effect. The devas are godly beings who lost their strength, energy, and well. The asuras or demons invaded the realm of the Devas led by Bali. They defeated the Devas and conquered the universe.

The devas approached Lord Vishnu for help. Vishnu advised them to turn the Milky ocean for nectar, the elixir of immortality with that Help of the demons. Vishnu assured devas that the demons will not get the nectar. The gods and demons turn the Milky ocean for Amrit, also known as nectar. Mount Mandara was the rod used to turn the ocean.

 Vasuki Lord Vishnu serpent became the rock. many wonderful things emerged from the ocean during the journey. They included the apsaras celestial limps kamdhenu, the wish-fulfilling cow, and culpa vriksha, the wish-granting tree. Finally, at tide waspy spat out a deadly poison Halahala. The devas ran to Shiva and asked him to save them from the poison.

Shiva drank the deadly poison to save the world. Goddess Parvati stops the poison by grabbing his Neck. Shiva was advised not to sleep that night. The other gods sang songs and dance, so that he would remain awake, pleased with their devotion, Shiva bless them. This event is celebrated as Maha Shiva three.

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