12 February 2010

Mahashivaratri Temple Timings

Mahashivaratri 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 will be celebrated at Arunachala Shiva Sthalams on the night of March 13 through March 14, 2010; NOT in FEBRUARY. On this night Shiva Temples in Tiruvannamalai will follow the lead of the famous Arunachaleswarar Temple and stay open all night. To those who wish to make plans to attend the Big Temple through the night of Mahashivaratri, below are listed the sequence of pujas which will occur either in or around the Siva Sannidhi of Arunachaleswarar Temple:

Mahashivaratri Kala Pujas: March 13th – March 14th, 2010

1st Kala Puja [9.00 p.m. – 11.00 p.m.]

2nd Kala Puja [12.00 a.m.– 2.00 a.m.] Lingodhava Puja

3rd Kala Puja [3.00 a.m. – 4.00 a.m.] Thazhampoo (Flower) Puja

4th Kala Puja [5.00 a.m. – completes before sunrise]

Above major Pujas to be followed by pujas to Chandikeswara and Bhairava

While almost all other festivals are celebrated during the day, Mahashivaratri is celebrated at night, which stands for all that is evil: injustice, ignorance, darkness, sin, violence, treachery, falsehood, and misfortune. Mythology says that Shiva appeared to save the world from Tamoguna (darkness and ignorance).

Shiva symbolizes the atman (self), and worship of Shiva denotes meditation and contemplation by an individual on his or her own self. Thus the only way to achieve peace and happiness is by worshipping Shiva at night, that is, by meditating on one's own self during the night when the individual is free from the distractions of the physical world. In the case of Arunachala, premier Shiva site of South India, circumbulation of Arunachala Hill will be observed by many.

The name Shiva signifies a quality that means 'Auspicious' or 'The Auspicious One'. To a few, Shiva is Paramatma, 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. Related to the Absolute concept is Shiva as Yoganath, the Lord of Yoga, wherein he becomes teacher, path and goal. As such he is the Adi Guru or Highest Guru of sannyasins who have renounced the world to attain the Absolute.

Even though the Temple Mahashivaratri functions will not be celebrated at this Shiva Sthalam until March, many pilgrims (especially from Andhra Pradesh) are already arriving to perform girivalam during this most auspicious time.

To view photographs of celebrations at Arunachaleswarar Temple in 2009 click this link.

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