For the many worshippers of Lord Shiva, Mahashivaratri is the most significant holiday. Hindu mythology has given this occasion a lot of importance. According to the scripture, a devotee who worships Lord Shiva with sincerity on the auspicious day of Shivratri is freed from sin and achieves moksha. It is also believed that Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva were married on this day, making it known as Mahashivratri. Men and women keep fasts and worship the gods Surya and Vishnu. Women wear fresh mogra and silk sarees for Shivratri and visit the nearest temple to offer milk, fresh water, and seasonal flowers to the Shiv Linga.
Stories Behind the Celebration of Mahashivratri
At the time of Samudra Manthan, a pot full of poison emerged from the ocean. The poison had the capability of destroying the entire world, and this terrified both gods and demons. Lord Shiva drank the poison and held it in his throat to save the world from its ill effects. Mahashivratri commemorates and rejoices in the event in which Shiva saved the world.
The whole night’s worship of Shiva has a different story. Once upon a time, there was a tribal man who was poor and also a devotee of Lord Shiva. One day he went to the forest to collect firewood and lost the way out. During the night, he climbed a tree and stood awake the entire night. To stay awake, he plucked leaves from the tree and, along with enchanting the name of Shiva, dropped them one by one on the ground.
In the morning, he saw that he had dropped thousands of leaves that night, and there was a Shiv Linga on which he had dropped them. Unknowingly, he worshipped Lord Shiva on that auspicious day of Mahashivratri, and for this, he was rewarded with divine bliss.
Meaning of Mahashivratri
Ratri is Sanskrit for “something that brings peace and comforts you.” Everything comes to an end at night. Everything is calm and serene. When the atmosphere is peaceful, the body instinctively shifts into a rest or sleep state. Ratri also refers to something that provides comfort from the adhyatmik, adhibhoutik, and adidaivik issues, which are problems relating to the body, the intellect, and the soul. You don’t worry about food, water, or clothing while you sleep at night. You simply want to go to sleep so that your troubles from the day can be put to rest.
Thus, to even achieve that profound sleep, three different types of serenity are required. You can’t sleep or rest if there is fighting or other disruption nearby. Second, you require mental and physical tranquility. Third, you must maintain inner peace. Deep sleep is incomplete if any one of the three is absent. Ratri (night) provides rest from all three aspects (physical, mental, and spiritual). Meanwhile, Shivratri is the nocturnal manifestation of that transcendent divine consciousness, which provides comfort at all levels of consciousness. This evening represents the union of Shiva and Shakti, bringing the surroundings to life. Therefore, it is advantageous to keep awake during Mahashivratri.
Mahashivratri is marked by a profound sense of goodness and tranquility. Any meditation performed now is a hundred times more powerful. Additionally, there is an astrological connection: the intellect is elevated when the sun and moon are in a specific alignment. According to ancient seers, such days are favorable for spiritual activities. According to Indian astrology, there are specific days and times of the year that are beneficial for meditation and spiritual development. One such occasion is Mahashivratri.
The Shiva tattva is honored at Mahashivratri. Shiva’s energy is meditated upon and enjoyed by spiritual searchers and followers of the Lord. Shiva is a symbol of our soul, and tattva is a truth or a universal tenet. This time of year, is when we take a break and reflect on the truth or principle of our soul. It implies that we are on the lookout for the deeper truths of life that are already present within us.
The union of the material and spiritual takes place during Mahashivratri. The Shiva tattva (principle/energy), according to legend, is often ten inches above the physical earth. The timing is right for our inner awareness to awaken inside of our physical selves. A spiritual seeker, therefore, attaches great significance to Mahashivratri. It is possible to have a more profound and fulfilling meditation experience when this delicate, all-pervasive energy merges with the soil.
A period of profound relaxation for the body, mind, and ego is appropriate for sadhana. A devotee is awakened to the ultimate understanding of the Shiva Tattva by that profound sleep. Through meditation, we can have access to something that lies outside the purview of the mind and intellect. During meditation, there comes a point at which we may feel space—a place of love and emptiness. We reach Shiva, the fourth degree of awareness, through this experience.
Everything done together on this auspicious day strengthens one’s connection with the divine.