20 February 2009

Mahasivaratri

Each month there is a day known as Sivaratri and once a year there is Mahasivaratri (maha=great); The Great Festival of Shiva. The dates of these occasions correspond to the phases of the moon and it is believed that the mind (which is adversely affected by the power of the moon) is less susceptible to low, animalistic forces and thus more tractable to the power of meditation and prayer. It is for this reason that Mahasivaratri is believed to be the one 24-hour period in the year which is of the greatest benefit. It has been stated in the scriptures that if a man fasts, stays awake and meditates for the whole of Mahasivaratri, it will give him his best chance to achieve mastery of the mind and attain liberation.




Mahashivaratri always falls on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of Phalguna (February-March), and is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. (Mahashivaratri this year, 2009 falls on Monday 23rd February). On this day devotees sing Shiva bhajans, recite verses from scriptures, offer prayers in the morning and evening, and some observe fasting throughout the day. People visit Shiva Temples and in the case of Arunachala, premier Shiva site of South India, circumbulation of Arunachala Hill is observed by many.

The name Shiva signifies a quality that means 'Auspicious' or 'The Auspicious One'. To a few, Shiva is Paramatman, Brahman, the Absolute, but many more prefer to see Shiva as a personal God given to compassion for his worshippers, and the dispenser of both spiritual and material blessings.

For a more complete explanation of Mahasivaratri please visit an earlier narrative at this link here.

4 comments:

Magdalena said...

Which night is it that you stay awake - (this year) the night between Sunday and Monday or Monday and Tuesday?

Thank you for a great article!

Meenakshi Ammal said...

In all time zones that cover North and South America and the Pacific, Maha Shivaratri is to be observed on Sunday, February 22, 2009.

In all time zones that cover Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, Maha Shivaratri is to be observed on Monday, February 23, 2009.

Full celebrations generally begin around 6 pm on the given date, and continue on until 6 am (or local sunrise) on the following day.

Magdalena said...

Aah, very helpful. Many warm thanks for your quick reply!

Krishna said...

Lord Vishnu is often portrayed resting on the huge serpent of Sesha.

Lord Vishnu Photo, Sri Vishnu Picture, God Vishnu