Why is Shivratri Celebrated – Celebration of the vast darkness!
Why is Shivratri Celebrated – Learn the legends associated with this auspicious night.
Why is Shivratri Celebrated
First of all, we would like to wish everyone a divine and blessed Maha Shivratri! This year, the festival falls on 13th February 2018 i.e. today. Every year, Shivratri is celebrated on the new moon night in Phalguna month (February/March). The festival will start on 13th night and continue till 14th day-time. Why is Shivratri Celebrated? Have you ever wondered? We have been thinking about it too. And we absolutely love mythologies! Do you? Then, let us discuss some legends associated with the celebration of Maha Shivratri.
Churning of the ocean water or Samudra Manthan was done jointly by the Devas and the Asuras to attain amrit – nectar of immortality. Several forms arose from the ocean during this churning process – Halahala was one of them. According to one of the beliefs, this Halahala or lethal poison, came out of Vasuki’s mouth. (Shiva’s serpent, Vasuki, was used a the churning rope.) Frightened with the lethal poison, the Asuras and the Devas sought the help of Shiva, the God of Destruction. Shiva saved the world by consuming the poison. He held it in His throat; thus, His neck turned blue. He got the name Neelkantha due to this. And this day was celebrated every year to worship Him.
#Legend2 Wedding of Shiva & Parvati
According to another legend, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married on this particular day. And every year, devotees celebrate by taking out a procession – Bhole Nath ki baraat. Some other beliefs claim that every Kashmiri girl is wedded to Bhairava.
#Legend3 Tandav Dance
A popular legend says that Shiva performed the Tandav dance on this day. This day commemorates the day he performed Rudra Tandava, almost destroying the Universe as a result.
#Legend4 Shiva’s Birth
Once upon a time, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu were battling over who is superior. The fight was so intense that the other Gods and Devas were scared. So, they went to Lord Shiva and pleaded him to help. Shiva took the form of a massive fire column and stood between them. Then, Vishnu and Brahma decided to find the end to the fire. Brahma took the form of a Swan and flew upward while Vishnu took the form of Varaha and went inside Earth. However, since light has no end, they both kept going for thousands of miles.
At some point, Brahma came across a Ketaki flower. He asked where she came from. She replied that she was offered at the top of the fire. So, Brahma took her as a witness that he found the end. This made Bhairav furious and He cursed Brahma for lying that no one would ever pray to Him. He said that no one can ever find the the end to light unless He Himself wished them to find it. The Ketaki flower too was banned from being used as offering in temples. On this night, He revealed his true form for the first time.
#Legend5 Descent of Ganga
According to this legend, King Bhagiratha meditated for a thousand years to Lord Brahma. His wish was for Goddess Ganga to come down to Earth from Heaven, and purify the ashes of his ancestors. Lord Brahma told him that She will come down but her force on Earth will be too heavy to sustain. So, He asked Bhagirath to pray to Lord Shiva for help. Accordingly, Ganga descended on the thick locks of Shiva before flowing down to Earth. The day She descended on Earth is celebrated every year as Maha Shivratri.
Shiva Mantra to attain Peace of Mind & Meditate
Om namo hiranya bahade
Pashupataye Namo NamahaIshana Sarvavidyanam
Brahma Shivo me Astu Sada Shiv OmTatpurushaya vidmahi
Tanno Shiva PrachodayaatOho devaya vidmahi
Tanno Shiva PrachodayaatNamaste Astu Bhagavan
Shriman Mahadevaya Namaha
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Shivaratri falls on new moon night in the dark half of the Phalguna month. Does it seem like the celebration of darkness? It IS. Darkness doesn’t have to mean evil forces like modern views define.
And light can seem unending but is it really? Every source of light has a beginning and an end. However, darkness persists – there is no beginning, there is no end. It is the only form that’s eternal. (And the name Shiva translates to darkness.) Darkness forms the majority of this immeasurabe Universe. Only a small part forms the galaxies. And in this vast emptiness, we all are mere specks. This day helps us realize the blissful peace associated with darkness. And that there is no result of worrying – inspiring us to live positively.
Maha Shivratri is celebrated by married women – by fasting for the whole day and subsequently bathing the Shiva linga with milk, honey, and other auspicious offerings. On the other hand, unmarried ladies worship to get a husband like Lord Shiva – the ideal husband. Apart from this, He is worshipped fervently as the Destroyer of Sins and Ill-traits.
Did you find the legends fascinating? Have any more legends that you can tell us? Do share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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