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Maha Shivratri : Occasion to bow before the Supreme Dev

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By: Er. Prabhat Kishore
Karpurgauram Karunavataram Sansarsaram Bhujagendraharam.
Sadavasantam Hridyaravinde Bhavam Bhavanisahitam Namami.
(The one who is pure like Kapur, whose personality is the embodiment of compassion. Those who are the essence of the entire creation and the one with the serpent king as his garland, reside in the heart, including Lord, Shiva and Kamal in the mud and I bow you.)
Indian culture is based on spiritual values, in which Bhagwan Shiva, the god of gods, pervades in every particle. He is omniscient and is equally revered and venerated by both the gods and the demons. Shiva is the foster and Shiva is the destroyer, Shiva is the beginning and Shiva is the end, Shiva is the power and Shiva is the eternal. Shiva is the embodiment of power and Shiva is also the eternal proof of the light of life on earth. Heis corporeal and formless as well. He is the first Guru of this world. Shiva is in each and every particle of this universe.
Na Punyam Na Papam Na Saukhyam Na Dukham Na Mantro Na Teertham Na Vedas Na Yagyaam.
Aham Bhojanam Naiva Bhojyam Na Bhokta Chidananda Roopah Shivoaham Shivoaham.
(I am neither virtues, nor sin, nor happiness nor sorrow, nor Mantra, nor pilgrimage, nor Veda nor Yagya. I am neither food, nor I eat nor I am to ate, I am conscious form, I am bliss, I am Shiva.)
The nature and personality of Lord Shiva teaches positivity, simplicity, love, balance, and yoga in human life. All the Navaratnas possessed by Lord Shiva have their own relevance. Trishul represents three powers – knowledge, desire and perfection, Damru represents Creation and Brahmanad, Rudraksh represents purity and satvikta, Nandi represents righteousness, Ganga represents the stream of spirituality, Chandra symbolises from origin to the end, the snake king Vasuki represents to keep the ego under control, the Third eye is a symbol of intelligence, and the Vyaghra Chhal (Tiger-skin) is a symbol of fearlessness and perseverance.
Mahashivratri, which is celebrated on Falgun Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi Tithi, has been mentioned in various Purans such as Skanda Puran, LingaPuran, Padma Puran. There are several legends, traditions, beliefs and customs which makes this occasion special among the festivals celebrated in the world. Devotees celebrate the day with zeal and enthusiasm with locally featured traditions. This day is said to be the beginning of creation. Mahashivratri is said to be fortunate day because the Moon (represents life) and the Sun (representing Shiva) it is close to each-other on this day. According to the mythological belief of Sanatan Dharma, on this day Mahadev, the saviour of the world, tied the nuptial knot with Mata Parvati, the mother of the world. This is the night of the union of Shiva and Shakti. Lord Shiva is worshiped in the form of Linga, which reflects both Shiva and Shakti. The Shivling has two parts – the Linga which represents the male part i.e. Shiva and the Yoni which represents the female part i.e. Shakti or Parvati. In a combined form, both worldly and spiritual are the emblematic of unity and completeness.
According to Shiva Puran, once there was a heated argument between Brahma, the creator of world and Vishnu, the sustainer of the world, regarding their superiority over each other. Realizing the devastating consequences of ego of the two, Bhagwan Shiva emerged as a ray of light in the form of Jyotirlinga i.e. Agni Shivling, having the effect of crores of suns on the night of Phalguna Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi Tithi. (Phalgun Krishna Chaturdashyamadidevo Mahanishi. Shaivalinga Tyodbhavah Koti Surya Samprabhah.) This had neither origin nor end (symbolising that ego has no end). He challenged both gods to locate the origin and end of the light. Brahma ji transformed into a swan and went upwards to find the upper end while Vishnu ji took the form of a boar and went inside the earth. But both the gods failed in their campaign and it was self-evident that no-one but Shiva is the supreme among the gods. This incident of Mahashivratri also teaches to stay away from ego, anger, falsehood and pride.
On the occasion of Mahashivratri, Adidev had appeared in the form of Jyotirlinga at 64 holy places of the world, but due to human being aware of only 12 of these places, we know and worship only the twelve Jyotirlingas (Somnath, Mallikarjuna, Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar, Kedarnath, Bhimashankar, Vishwanath, Trimbakeshwar, Vaidyanath, Nageshwar, Rameshwar, Gushmeshwar). On Mahashivratri, a series of lamps are decorated in the temples so that the flame of fire can be generated like a lamp. On this auspicious occasion, fasting, night awakening, yoga and Havan-pujan are performed by devotees in the night, which is the destruction of planetary defects and enemies, along with the path of salvation. Shivam Cha Mokshe Cha Mahadeve Sukhe.
On Mahashivratri itself, Lord Shiva had consumed Halahal poison, the destroyer of the universe which came out during the Samudra Manthan, to protect the universe. Due to this his throat turned blue and he was called Neelkanth. As the poison was held in his throat, it caused severe burning all over Shiva’s body. Devotees offer milk, water, honey, ghee, sugar etc. on Shivling to reduce the burning so that by the grace of Shiva, happiness, peace and progress can come in the world.
Like the Panch Bhuta (five great elements) of the earth, namely- Kshiti (Land), Jal (water), Pavak (Fire), Gagan (Sky) and Vayu (Wind), the five faces of Lord Shiva are respectively described as Ishaan, Tatpurush, Aghor, Vamadeva and Sadyojata. On this night, the position of the northern hemisphere and the planets and constellations of the earth is such that the Kundalini energy awakens in the human body. Lord Shiva is revered by 108 names like Pashupati, Rudra, Nataraj, Jagdish, Bhairav, Vishwanath etc.
Shiva after being engaged in meditation in Yogamudra for centuries, had become stable and united in Kailash Parvat on Mahashivratri. Shiva is the most supreme and divine ruler of the universe who acts as a creator, promotor as well as destroyer. Mahashivratri is the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation, and destruction. It marks the remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life and in the world.
(The Author is a technocrat and educationist)

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