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Why mahashivratri is celebrated
Posted By Sarin on Mar 09, 2013     RSS Feeds     Latest Hinduism news

Maha shivratri, meaning great night of lord Shiva, falls on the day before Amavasya(No moon day) in the month of Phalguna or Maagh  according to Hindu calendar. It is an auspicious and one of the most important festivals for Hindus especially for shaivism sect. Devotees throngs to nearby holy temples or shrines of lord Shiva to celebrate this festival with devotion and religious enthusiasm. This year, mahashivratri will be celebrated on 10th  march, Sunday though the day may differ according to calendar followed by various ethno-linguistic groups of India.
Why it is celebrated?  
There are many stories on the festival of mahashivratri, each one glorifying lord shiva as the supreme deity. Shiva in an adjective word which in Sanskrit means kind, gracious, friendly, or auspicious. Another name of lord shiva,’Rudra’ means auspicious and this word is used repetitively by indra to describe himself several times in rig Vedic verses. Shiva is also known as Paramesvara (Param=great and isvara= lord) and Mahesvara (maha=great and isvara= lord). Lord Shiva is also known as Mahadev, meaning Supreme deity because He possesses all the three underlying principles - Absolute Spiritual Practice (sadhana), Absolute Purity (pavitrya) and Absolute Knowledge (gnyana). Even lord Krishna described lord Shiva as the great ascetic, one who is totally absorbed in contemplation, forever in deep meditation in his abode of Kailasha Mountain of the great Himalaya.
Lord shiva in deep meditation

Lord shiva is also known as nataraja, cosmic dancer of the universe. Hindus believe lord Shiva to be the cosmic creator and destroyer of this universe. It is believed that on the day of shivratri, lord Shiva performed tandav nritya(Cosmic dance) to create this universe.  

Nataraja-The cosmic dancer
This dance of lord shiva is known as tandav which is a vigourous dance that leads to cycle of cosmic creation, preservation and destruction of this universe. A year ago, i wrote two articles on lord shiva dance. Please go through the below link to read that post.
Why Dance worship in hinduism
Why lord shiva is known as king of dance
Tandava dance shows the ferocious violent form of the ever-pervading god. There are seven types of tandava. Tandava dance done in joyful mood is called Ananda Tandava whereas the Tandava dance perfomed in violent mood is called Rudra Tandava. Other types of tandava ances are Sandhya Tandava, Tripura Tandava, Samara Tandava,  Uma Tandava, Kaali Tandava  andGauri Tandava. 'Anandatandava,' meaning, ‘the Dance of Bliss’, is the cosmic dance of lord shiva which symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction. This cosmic dance also teaches the cycle of birth and death and conveys the message that everything that exists will be destroyed some day. Shiva is unaffected by this cosmic cycles and so, is called ' Ajanma' (One who doesn't take birth).  

Shiv Tandav Stotra By Anuradha Paudwal

Further, it is believed that it was the day of maha shivratri when lord Shiva drank the deadly Hala Hala poison that came up during the churning of the milky ocean. This poison turned lord Shiva throat blue in color thus, honoring the name ‘Neelkantha’, the blue-throated one. This event is explained in details in my post titled  
Symbolism of story behind kumbh mela-world largest gathering on earth

Why you should worship lord shiva?
Lord shiva is also known as 'Trikaldarshi'(Tri-Three, Kal-time, darshi-Know or see). Hence Trikaldarshi means “one who knows all three aspects of time - the past, present and future”. In bhagavad gita, lord Krishna says, “I am Mahakaal ' (the great death). Death can never approach me.”  
Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of `Shiv-Lingum' which symbolizes the power behind the creation. `Shiv-Lingum' in totality represents the cosmos in the form of a Cosmic Egg - Brahmanda. Note that the egg is in the form of ellipsis with no beginning nor any end

Cosmic egg

Lord shiva is also called as 'Har' - (jo har ek mein hain) one who is in everybody (jo har jage hota hain) - one who is omnipresent. His abode Kailasha doesn’t necessarily mean a mountain in the Himalayan range. Kailash means a place with happiness. So, it can be said that lord Shiva is seated in your heart if your heart is filled with joy or happiness. Similarly, lord Vishnu abode Vaikunth means a place where there is shortage of nothing. Hence vaikuntha means the conscious mind where there is shortage of nothing.  
If you are an ignorant atheist, then you should worship lord shiva because lord shiva is said to be the destroyer of spiritual ignorance. Lord Shiva is so generous and noble hearted that he fulfills the desires of all his followers and so, he is rightly called as 'Ashutosh', one who is easily pleased. Shiva is said to be the most merciful god, even to those individuals who are in the mode of darkness and ignorance. He is compassionate to even lowest of the lowest (Demons) whom he elevates gradually into spiritual consciousness by giving them refuge and granting various powerful boons for their hard penance.  
This is what the Upanishads has to say about Lord Shiva's transcendental position
In the creation of the Supreme Lord there are different kinds of living beings, who exercise their minute amount of free will in different modes. Lord Vishnu takes charge of the persons in the mode of goodness, who are advanced Vaishanavas or Krishna -bhaav . Lord Brahma takes charge of those who are very much attached to material activities and are in the mode of passion. Lord Shiva is so kind that he takes charge of persons who are in the lower modes.

People deceived into falsehood and ignorance consumes liquor and intoxicants claiming themselves to be the devotees of lord Shiva.

It's said in the Upanishad:  
"Shivam shantam, advaitam, chaturtam, mannyante sa aatma sa vigyeya."  
Shiva is, shanta(quite), advait - (non-dual), there is no other of it.
chaturtam means the fourth state of mind-Meditation. Meditation is the state where you are not awake nor dreaming nor sleeping. This state is also known as "Shiva avastha". While meditating one should also chant- "Shivoham Shivoham". Aham means “Me”, so Shivoham Shivoham" means shiva is within me and I am within shiva. Meditating on maha shivratri is said to be 100 times more powerful than meditating on any other normal day.  

Meditate on lord shiva
Why to start spiritual journey on mahashivratri?
Shivratri means great night of lord shiva. Night stands for darkness which is a sign of ignorance. In this ignorant state of mind, living beings sleep and dream about the things that matters them the most. Whatever we see when we are awake are itself a dream, the only difference is it’s not our dream, it’s the dream of Lord Brahma. If you are finding this concept difficult to apprehend, then watch English movie inception which is derived from the Hinduism concept of Lord Brahma dream. In this dreamy realm of existence, we are trapped, sleeping forever in search of materialistic desires. The only way to wake up your soul out of this dreamy realm of existence is devotion, meditation and yoga. It is believed that meditating on lord Shiva liberates our soul and our life is then beyond illusions of Lord Brahma/Lord vishnu. Maha shivratri is supposed to be the best day to start your spiritual journey since this was the day universe was created and preserved in its current form. Venture into the deep state of meditation where you stay unaffected by the mental or physical experiences. Meditate to gain consciousness thereby freeing you of all responsibilities, burden, roles, duty, aspirations, desires etc.  
According to sacred scriptures, worshipping lord Shiva on the day of Maha shivratri pleases lord the most and this was confirmed by lord Shiva himself, who said to his consort Parvati(when asked by her) that the rituals and bhakti(Devotion) offered by devotees on day of shivratri pleases him the most.  
It is believed that the absolute multi dimensional formless god appeared at midnight in the form of "Lingodbhav Moorti" on Maha Shivratri. This is why devotees do "Rudra Abhishekham post midnight on maha shivratri.
Most Popular mantra to chant on mahashivratri  
  Tryambakam yajamahe
Sugandhim pushti-vardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhanan
Mrityor mukshiya mamritat'
'OM. We worship and adore you, O three-eyed one, O Shiva. You are sweet gladness, the fragrance of life, which nourishes us, restores our health, and causes us to thrive. As, in due time, the stem of the cucumber weakens, and the gourd if freed from the vine, so free us from attachment and death, and do not withhold immortality.'

om namah shivay dhun
Chanting OHM resonate our inner pulse at the rate of 7.83 Hertz, the frequency at which DNA replicate.  
If you become god conscious then you can taste ambrosia (amrit) released by your pituitary gland in the back of your mouth and throat. Amrit represents the elevated state of consciousness. Real amrit is not found in the external world but it is formed within your body. All you need to do is open up your third eye which happens in the elevated state of consciousness.
  The OMMMMMMMMM vocalizing sound of OM mantra accelerates the production of Nitric oxide, the chemical essential for control of blood and blood vessels in the human body. Compared to this, the western version of OM i.e AMEN does nothing
Science says that water molecules react to sounds and music. If there is violence in the music then water reacts violently and if there is love and devotion in the music then it represents divinity. Chanting of om sound formed sri yantra on water as shown below

Sri yantra

Sri yantra is a holy divine geometric instrument normally placed in temples and other places of worship for meditation and invoking god

Is worshipping shiv ling non vedic
You may hear that worshipping shiv linga is a non-vedic ritual. Below is the mantra from yajurveda which approves the worshipping of shiv-linga
bhavÀyâ namaha
bhavalingÀyâ namaha
sarvÀyâ namaha
sarvalingÀyâ namaha
sivÀyâ namaha
sivalingÀyâ namaha
jvalÀyâ namaha
jvalalingÀyâ namaha
Àtm Àyâ namaha
Àtmaling Àyâ namaha
paramÀyâ namaha
paramalingÀyâ namaha

Moreover, In the Vedic stories like Ramayana and Mahabharata, there are many instances where the shiv linga is installed for worship. For EX: In Ramayana, lord rama himself made a shiv-linga of sand on the sea shores of rameshwaram and worshipped it before embarking on a war with ravana. In Mahabharata, Lord Krishna and Pandavas worshipped the Shiva lingam at Gopeshwar and on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, a day before the war started. In this vedic stories, it is described how the deities when faced with trouble rushes to Lord Shiva for help as in the case of samundra manthan when the lord drank poison to save all human beings of earth

Lord shiva drinking poison

False claims by western missionaries
I was initially shocked to see various articles denigrating lord Shiva as alcoholic, one who consumes bhang (Alcoholic drug made of Marijuana) and an assassin who executed his own son and many such offensive remarks. But then I saw the author is a Christian, probably sponsored from Vatican City in their contention of turning India into a Christian state. Such articles amused followers of zakir naik who copy pasted its contents adding some mirch masala across multiple blogs and public websites.
Once, an atheist called lord Shiva as a man made god and wrote a comment that if lord Shiva meditates in Himalaya then why many mountaineers who have ventured in entire Himalayan range are not able to see him. Such foolish trapped in materialistic desires will never understand god consciousness. Some atheist think if god existed than every tom, dick and harry would have seen god. Read this post to understand why atheist cannot see god .
In ‘Oh my god’ movie, there is an argument made by paresh rawal on the ritual of pouring milk on shiv linga. Pouring milk on shiv-linga is deep spiritual science which I shall explain scientifically in a separate post. If you can’t wait for my post then go through the following video which explains some of the scientific reasons

  I can’t understand why any akkal ka dushman(Mindless) director who don’t know ABC of spirituality talks about god and followed rituals. I usually hear the argument that ‘Oh my God’ exposes stupid rituals followed in Hinduism. Absolute bullshit!!!!!. In my upcoming articles, I will be explaining how stupid the director of this movie was in his arguments though I do agree with some of his arguments like those of fake gurus and fake gods. Audience should keep in mind that the primary motive of producers/directors in releasing their movies are monetary profit and entertainment, betterment of society and false practices followed in society is always secondary to them and so, such movies should never be taken as a source of learning. Following such a movie is a disgrace to our scriptures written by enlightened ancient saints and seers. Should we listen to some enlightened gurus who had abandon all materialistic desires or should we listen to some foolish writer who writes stories for materialistic desires?

False claims by authors of Aryan invasion theory
According to Aryan invasion theory sponsored by Vatican City, Shiva is a Dravidian unrelated to Vedic culture. Invaders were so much determined in dividing India that they forged the entire history of India under the refuge of bribed Indians like romila thapar who sold their dignity to create false history of india. Below are some of the verses from the original Vedas singing the glories of lord shiva. Overall, there are 75 references to lord Shiva with three hymns entirely devoted to him.

The RV 6.49.10 calls Rudra as " The Father of the Universe". (bhuvanasya pitarah)

भुवनस्य  पितरं  गीर्भिराभी  रुद्रं  दिवा  वर्धया  रुद्रमक्तौ  |
बर्हन्तं  रष्वमजरं  सुषुम्नं  रधग  घुवेम  कविनेषितासः  ||
'Rudra by day, Rudra at night we honour with these our songs, the Universe's Father.
Him great and lofty, blissful, undecaying let us call specially as the Sage impels us '

The RV 2.33.9 calls Rudra as "The Lord or Sovereign of the Universe" ( īśānâdasya bhuvanasya)
सथिरेभिरङगैः  पुरुरूप  उग्रो  बभ्रुः  शुक्रेभिः  पिपिशेहिरण्यैः  |
ईशानादस्य  भुवनस्य  भूरेर्न  वा    योषद  रुद्रादसुर्यम  ||
'With firm limbs, multiform, the strong, the tawny adorns himself with bright gold decorations:
The strength of Godhead never departs from Rudra, him who is Sovereign of this world, the mighty.'

tryambakam yajAmahe sugandhim pusti vardhanam
urvArukamiva bandhanAn mrtyormukshIya mAmrtAt (Rigveda 7:59:12)
"We worship the fragrant Three-Eyed One, the Promoter of prosperity. May we be freed from the bondage of death as a cucumber from its stalk; But not from immortality".
This verse is also known as MAHA MRUTHYUMJAYA MANTRA which says lord shiva as the only one who can grants Moksha(liberation from cycle of birth and death)

Listen to Maha Mrityunjaya mantra

Similarly, some of the other verses are
In verse 2.33.11, shiva is said to be the frightening and terrible god.
RV 1.114 requests mercy from the mighty Shiva, the god with braided hair.
Rig Veda 7.46 describes lord shiva as armed with a bow and fast-flying arrows similar to the way described in Mahabharata where he acknowledge the prayers of arjuna by granting him pashupastra weapon
Vaishanava Purana states Shambhu (Shiva) as the greatest Vaishanava.     
Tulsidas goswami who wrote ramcharitramanas was a follower of Rama but he openly declared Lord Shiva & Ram as a true model for every devotees.
I have listed only few references of lord Shiva in Vedas. There are more than 75 references and many more in yajurveda and Upanishads.
Lord Shiva is the most unique of all deities, the only deity who grants Moksha to his devotees very easily. He is the only deity to be compassionate and benevolent to all his devotees. Worship the great lord Shiva tomorrow to get liberated of your sins thereby starting the spiritual journey of your life with the ultimate goal of Moksha (Salvation).  
In next article, we will see the stories behind celebration of maha shivratri.
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