Lord Mahadev, the creator, and destroyer of the universe is the prime deity of Hindus. Mahashivratri is one of the most sacred festivals of Hindus. It is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. But What does Mahashivratri mean? Why do we celebrate Mahashivratri? And what is the difference between Shivratri and Mahashivratri? So, let’s know more about Mahashivratri.
Meaning of Mahashivratri:
The word “Maha” means “Great” and “Shivratri” means “Night of Shiva”. Thus, the meaning of Mahashivratri is – The great night of Lord Shiva.
|I am conscious; I am bliss|
I am Shiva! I am Shiva!
Why do we celebrate Mahashivratri?
As per Hindu mythological stories, there are many reasons for the celebration of Mahashivratri. Some of them are as follows:
- It is believed that after the death of Sati, Lord Mahadeva went into deep meditation. Sati reincarnated as Mata Parvati. Thus, Mahashivratri is celebrated as a reunion of Shiva and Shakti.
- Also, it is believed that Mahashivratri is the night when Lord Shiva performs his heavenly dance.
- However, according to some tales, Mahashivratri is the day when Lord Shiva saved the world.
Difference Between Shivratri and Mahashivratri
- Shivratri is observed on every 14th day of the month, i.e. one day before “Amavasya” or the no moon day.
- Around 12 to 13 Shivratris are observed throughout the year.
- Of all the Shivratris, the Shivratri appearing in the month of February – March is celebrated as Mahashivratri.
Mahashivratri Stories or Stories of Mahashivratri or why it is celebrated ?
Tale of Lubdhaka – The woodcutter:
Who was Lubdhaka?
Lubdhaka was a woodcutter. He used to cut trees from the forest and sell them in exchange for grains, clothes, and other necessities. The story of Lubdhaka goes as follows:
One day, Lubdhaka went to a new forest to cut wood. After doing his job, he decided to explore the forest a little more. Hence, he went farther in the forest.
On his way back, Lubdhaka realized that he had lost his way. As the darkness fell, he found himself all alone, surrounded by growls of wild animals.
He looked around for a place to protect himself and found a bel tree. Lubdhaka claimed the tree and rested on a branch. He was afraid that he would fall from the branch while asleep. So, he decided to pluck the leaves from bel tree and drop them on the ground, chanting Lord Shiva’s name.
Lubdhaka successfully kept himself awake till sunrise. He was amazed to see a Shivalinga under the bel tree when he climbed down. Thus, unconsciously he worshipped Lord Shiva throughout the night. He enjoyed the divine bliss for ages and was reborn as Chitrabhanu.
The story of Samudra Manthan
You must be familiar with the story of Samudra Manthan. It appears in both Vishnu Purana and Bhagavad Purana.
In Hindu mythology, deities controlling the forces of nature are known as ‘Devtas’. These deities include Agni- the Lord of fire, Vayu- the Lord of rain, Varun- the Lord of rain, and Indra- the Lord of thunder.
On the other hand, all the evil forces are referred to as ‘Asuras’ or the ‘demons’. The devtas and the asuras are both believed to be the children of the same father, yet different mothers. Diti and Aditi are known to be the mothers of Devas and Asuras, respectively.
The Devas and Asuras represent both sides of human nature. Asuras represent hate, anger, jealousy, arrogance, pride. The other one represents faith, compassion, empathy, honesty, spirituality, etc.
Just like our minds, the devas and asuras were in constant battle with each other.
The story of Samudra Manthan begins from the time when a sage named ‘Durvasa’ cursed the Devas to lose all their strength. The Devas wanted to regain their strengths in order to defeat the asuras, and only Lord Vishnu could help them. Lord Vishnu suggested to them that only one thing could help them to regain all their strength- the nectar residing at the bottom of Ksheer Sagar, also referred to as the Milky Way galaxy. The Devas agreed to him, but it was impossible for them to do it alone. The ocean of milk needed to be churned in order to get the nectar.
The Devas and Asuras began to churn the ocean. Mountain Mandara was used as a churning rod. Vasuki, the king of snakes, was used as a rope to be bound around the mountain.The Devas and Asuras, both pulled the ends of the snake to churn the ocean. This went on for around 1000 years. Mount Mandara began to sink because of the force exerted. Hence, Lord Vishnu took the form of an island supporting Mount Mandara on his back.
Finally, after years, a terrible poison came out from the Ksheer Sagar, Lord shiva swallowed it, and his throat turned blue. Since then, he’s been known as the ‘Neelkanth’. The poison that came out from the ocean was distributed among the Devas, and they finally regained their glory.
The story of a battle between Brahma and Vishnu
Once, Vishnu was sitting calmly on his serpent couch along with Devi Laxmi and his other attendants. Lord Brahma was one of his attendants. As soon as he came there, he asked Shiva to get up and welcome him. Brahma said, “Oh dear! Why are you lying on the couch instead of honoring me? I am the creator of this universe. I am your father. Furthermore, I am your Lord. I am the protector of all.”
Vishnu was agitated, but he kept a calm exterior and replied, “The universe is situated within me, and I control the whole universe. You were born of a lotus sprung from my navel region. Thus, I am your Lord, and you should honor me.”
Brahma and Vishnu both got into an argument regarding who is superior to who. They both started fighting like cats, and it eventually led to a battle between them.
Soon after, Lord Shiva arrived there. He was watching the whole fight and was concerned about them. He appeared in the form of fire which neither has a starting point, not an endpoint. Shiva announced that whoever would find the endpoints of the fire would be announced as superior.
Hence, Brahma and Vishnu started to find the endpoints of fire. Both tried hard to find the endpoints of Agni, but they failed in doing so.
Lord Vishnu accepted his defeat and told Shiva that he couldn’t find it. But Brahma cheated and told Shiva that he found the endpoint, and hence, he is the most powerful being in the universe.
Shiva observed the whole conversation and cursed Brahma because of his arrogant God complex. He declared that Brahma cheated and, therefore, he wouldn’t be worshiped by humans. By seeing the honesty and humbleness of Vishnu, Shiva announced him as superior.
Thus, we can see that Lord Brahma isn’t worshiped by humans as much as Vishnu.
According to Hindu panchang, the festival of Mahashivratri is celebrated on Chaturdashi of Krishna Paksha, Phalgun month.
Following are the details of mahashivratri celebration in 2022:
- Date : 1/Mar/2022
- Day : Tuesday
- Nishita Kal puja time : 12:08 A.M. to 12:58 A.M. on 2nd March 2022
Mahashivratri Vrat Vidhi:
As per Hindu mythology and tradition, Mahashivratri vrat is done to seek the blessings of Lord Mahadev. Do you know the proper procedure for this fast? Here, we discuss Mahashivratri fasting rituals:
- Firstly, the devotees should take a bath to purify themselves. Devotees should wear clean clothes after taking bath in Bramhamahurata.
- Secondly, devotees should stay away from eating or drinking anything the whole day. Fruits, milk, sabudana khichdi etc. Instead of regular salt, devotees should use rock salt.
- Lastly, Shivalinga should be worshipped at home or in a temple. Devotees can perform abhishekam, with rose water or raw milk. A night Jagran can be performed while singing various devotional songs. It is considered auspicious to read shiva Purana on this day.
Significance of Mahashivratri:
- It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva on Mahashivratri brings prosperity and blessings.
- Unmarried women worship Lord Shiva for the desired groom.
- It is an auspicious day for spiritual seekers and meditation lovers.
- Mahashivratri Puja is done to get rid of all sins.
- Married women worship Lord Shiva for happy married life.
Astrological significance of Mahashivratri:
Mahadev has a close connection with the moon. He wears the moon on his crown. Therefore, he is also called Chandradhar.
As per astrology, the effect of the moon is less on Mahashivratri. The moon is considered the controller of the mind. Therefore, worshipping Mahadev on this day leads to mental strength, willpower, and peace of mind significance.
The spiritual significance of Mahashivratri:
Mahashivratri awakens our inner consciousness and soul. Also, Lord Mahadev is considered the soul of everything. Mahadev signifies the mind, peace, energy, and essence of the soul. Thus, worshipping Mahadev on Mahashivratri awakens our soul and helps us to know our inner self.
Isha Foundation Shiva:
Isha Foundation is a perfect place for people seeking liberation. The 112ft. The Statue of Adiyogi is a major attraction. Let’s know some facts about Adiyogi:
- The magnificent statue of Mahadev present at Isha foundation is also called “Adiyogi”.
- The height of the idol is 112 feet which symbolize 112 chakras in the human body.
- The statue is made up of steel.
- The idol is based on a yogic theme called “moksha”.
- Honorable Prime Minister inaugurated this idol along with Sadhguru.
- Guinness World records recognize it as the world’s largest bust structure.
- Adiyogi statue is situated in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
- Adiyogi signifies the source of liberation.
- It is installed near Yogrshwar Linga, which signifies 5 major chakras in the human system.
- Adiyogi means “The First Yogi”.
- Adiyogi Divyadarshanam is a 14-minute 3D laser show. It narrates the story of Adiyogi in the voice of Sadhguru.
Mahashivratri celebration at Isha Foundation:
Every year several events are organized by Isha Foundation, and Mahashivratri is one of the most awaited among all events. The celebration of Mahashivratri begins with Guru Puja, followed by powerful meditations and colorful cultural programs. Several yogic practices performed on this night led to physiological and inner transformation benefits. Major attractions of this event are as follows:
- Nightlong musical performances
- Traditional and Martial arts performances
- Aadiyogi divyadarshanam
- Guided meditation
- Colorful cultural programs
- Laser light show etc.
Here, we list some Mahashivratri wishes to share with your loved ones:
- May Lord Mahadev bless you with health, wealth, and prosperity. Har Har Mahadev!
- Happy Mahashivratri to you and your family. May Bholenath and Mata Parvati grant you happiness and prosperity.
- On this sacred day of Mahashivratri, May Mahadev shower luck, peace, and happiness on you. Shubh Mahashivratri!
- May you never face sorrows. May Bholenath bless you on every step of life. Happy Mahashivratri to you and your family.
- “Om Namah Shivay” is the cure for every problem in the world. May this Mahashivratri, you get rid of all your problems. Har Har Mahadev!
In a nutshell:
To summarize, Mahashivratri, one of the most significant Hindu festivals, symbolizes “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life. The devotees of Lord Shiva observe fast and chant prayers on the day of Mahashivratri. Mahashivratri is the perfect night to attain liberation.
If you liked the answer, please write “har har mahadev”.
Simran Mishra, born and brought up in Bhopal and is a postgraduate in finance. She’s passionate about writing, painting, and reading. Her email ID is [email protected]