Winter’s over and the return of Mahashivratri every year marks the beginning of Spring where in places like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and, other parts of Southern India, this festival is celebrated with great zeal. With Mahashivratri returning, the celebrations are marked with fervor and fidelity; the joy of which can be seen in every devotee’s faces as when they start planning for it well in advance. In places like Srikalahasti, Srisailam, Chennai, and Coimbatore, Mahashivratri can be seen in a different angle with temples decorated, enthusiastic pilgrims chanting holy verses and offering a mixture (that is a blend of milk, water, and honey) to Shiva Linga. This festival indeed drags millions of devotees to Shiva’s abodes.
Lord Shiva is considered as one of the most potent deities in the Hindu culture and is recognized as an Adi Guru or First Guru from whom the mega Yogic tradition had originated. People say that it was the night when Lord Shiva became still from dedicated medication and hence this night is also called as the night of stillness. There is a Shivaratri in every lunisolar month of the Hindu calendar that falls on the 13th night or 14th morning but the one that comes once a year before spring is considered to be Mahashivratri which literally translates to the “The Great Night of Shiva”. It is a sacred festival where millions of devotees of Lord Shiva get indulged in the night-long prayers to celebrate the grace of the Lord.
It is a belief of one that any person who performs the prayer with care and devotion on this auspicious day is absolved of sins and attains moksha. Mahashivratri has an incredible significance not only in the Hindu mythology; a festival that signifies the defeat of darkness and ignorance, but also in the natural upsurge of energy in the human system due to the changes in the planetary positions. From fasting to meditating to chanting prayers, this day is dedicated to the Lord’s values on morals and merits such as self-restraint, honesty, and forgiveness.
Mahashivratri, by itself, holds several myths. According to some folklore, Shivratri is celebrated as the day when Shiva saved the world by drinking the pot of poison that emerged from the ocean Samudra Manthan, whereas some celebrate the day as when Shiva punished Brahma and Vishnu by taking the form of a massive fire that spread across the length of the universe when they got into a major tiff about their supremacy, but for ascetics, it is this day when Shiva became one with Mount Kailash.
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