Thursday, February 16, 2012

MAHA SHIVRATRI

It is said that Lord Shiva himself admitted that he will propitiate fully for the devotees that revere him on
Shivratri day and he loves that day than any other sacred days.Parvathy Devi revealed this fact to others
and people started to celebrate Shivratri widely there upon.
There is a story for the beginning of Shivratri.When the Devas and Asuras performed the 'Palazhy Madhanam'
by churning the milky ocean using 'Manthara mountain' as the churn and serpent Vasuki  as the coir, the tired
Vasuki vomited a dstructive poison known as 'Halahalam' which if a drop fell on the earth it would burn earth to  ashes.To save the Earth and  Universe as per the request and prayers of Devas and Asuras alike, Lord Shiva
swallowed it.It got stuck on his neck making his neck bluish and so he is  also  known as 'Neela Kantan'.Because of the tremendous power
of the poison Lord Shiva took rest on Devi Parvathy's lap.Devas and Asuras chanted prayers and did not sleep
that night.The anxious Devas and Asuras, Sages and others did not take food or water that day and night
because of their love towards the lord and their eagerness about his health.They forgot about their needs but was engaged in prayers for the betterment of Lord Shiva.That day on the 'Chathurdasi' day of 'Magha Month' we celebrate Maha Shiv-Ratri.
On the Shivratri day the devotees has to get up early, take bath etc wear 'Rudraksham beads garland' if possible apply sacred ash on forehead and start praying Lord Shiva.Panchakshari mantra(Ohm Nama Sivaya)
and other Shiva Mantras  can be recited.You can hear 'Shiv Purana' recitation.Keeping the body and mind pure is most important.Do not consume food or drinks.If possible visit Shiv temple in the evening and offer
'Vilwa leaves  garland' to lord.Spending the night at the temple is more good.Do not sleep during night whether you stay at home or in temple.Next morning by drinking the holy
water from the temple the 'Vrat' can be stopped.For those who performs the 'Shiv Ratri Vrat' will be blessed
by the Lord to have prosperity,happiness and good health.The learned people say that for grabbing the energy
for the next one year performing 'Shiv Ratri Vrat' is the best.
God will bless the people who perform Shiv Ratri Vrat unknowingly also.There is a story on behalf of it.
Legend Of Shivratri Festival:-
'Chitra Bhanu' was the King of island 'Jambudweep' and once a sage by name 'Ashtavakra' arrived at the palace to meet the King.He was astonished to know that King along with the queen was fasting on that day.The sage wanted to know the reason and King Chitrabhanu told him about the Sacred 'Shiv Ratri' which was
not very popular at that time.
King Chitrabhanu because of the God's blessing was remembering about his life of past birth.He revealed it
to Ashtavakra.
In the past birth King Chitrabhanu was a tribesman who lived in 'Kasi' whose name was  'Suswaran'  and
he lived by hunting in the forest and selling the meat at the town.He had wife and children depending on him.
His practice was to do hunting during day time only and occasionally   he never got any animal and so he

could not save any money and was poor.
One day Suswaran entered the forest and wandered here and there on look out for an animal but till dusk
he could not find any.At that time he saw a deer in vicinity and killed it.He cut it and collected its flesh in a
bundle and it became dark and he could not find the way to go out of the forest.He could hear the noise of wild animals and knew

that they would see him in the darkness also and may attack.So he decided to spend the night in the forest
on a tree top.He climbed on a tree nearby, hanged the bundle of flesh on a branch and sat quietly.During
the day and that night also he did not have any food or drink.He was feeling hungry and thirsty and he
remembered about his small children at home and about his loving wife who were also expecting his arrival.

He knew that they would be   waiting without food or drinks since there was nothing in the house to eat..He had promised to reach home earlier after selling the day's catch and
buying rice and other materials for supper.These kind of thoughts made him weep and tears rolled down
his cheeks.In that tension he unknowingly plucked the leaves of that tree one by one and was putting down
wards but his mind was  concentrated on his loved children and wife.He could not sleep till dawn and in the
morning climbed down and reached home safely after selling the meat and buying food materials for them.
Days,months and years passed by and at the time of his death messengers of Lord Shiva approached him
and told him that he was being taken to 'Shiv Lok' the abode of Lord Shiva.He was told that unknowingly
he had performed 'Vrat'  and revered Lord Shiva on Shiva Ratri day.It was on a Shiv Ratri day that Suswaran did not had any food or drink during day and night.At night he plucked leaves and was putting
downwards.He was sitting on a 'Vilwa tree' and was putting downwards vilwa leaves which is most sacred for Lord Shiva's worship.There was a Shiv-Ling idol beneath the tree  which he did not notice and the leaves were falling on it.He was blessed
by Lord Shiva for his 'Vrat' and worship even though performed  unknowingly  and all his sins were removed by him.His soul could spent a long period of time in
happiness and bliss at the abode of Lord Shiva.Later he was given rebirth as 'King Chitrabhanu' with the
power of remembrance of previous birth and so he and his wife was taking 'Vrat' on Shiv Ratri day with
prayers to Lord Shiva.
Sage Ashtavakra was amazed about this story and he also told about this to several others.Eventually
Shiv-Ratri festival got popularized.
This day Maha Shiv-Ratri is the most sacred and best day to worship Lord Shiva.This year's Shiv-Ratri
festival is on Monday, 20 February 2012.

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