WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MAHASHIVRATRI ?SHIVA-08
MEANING OF MAHASHIVRATRI;-
1-Maha Shivaratri a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honour of the god Shiva. There is a Shivaratri in every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar, on the month's 13th night/14th day, but once a year in late winter (February/March, or Magha) and before the arrival of Summer, marks Maha Shivaratri which means "the Great Night of Shiva".
2-It is a major festival in Hinduism, this festival is solemn and marks a remembrance of "overcoming darkness and ignorance" in life and the world. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, doing Yoga, and meditating on ethics and virtues such as self-restraint, honesty, noninjury to others, forgiveness, and the discovery of Shiva.
3- The ardent devotees keep awake all night. Others visit one of the Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams. This is an ancient Hindu festival whose origin date is unknown.In Kashmir Shaivism, the festival is called Har-ratri by Shiva faithfuls of the Kashmir region.
4-MAHASHIVRATRI is the auspicious day of the marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati.We know that, of the Trinity, Lord Brahma is in charge of creation, Lord Vishnu takes care of this creation and Lord Shiva is the Destroyer.
5-Human nature, being what it is, is always afraid of destruction, and as such Maha-Shivratri is celebrated with full grandeur giving respect to the growth oriented action (marriage) of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MAHASHIVRATRI;-
07 FACTS; - 1. SHIVA —THE SUPREME CONSCIOUSNESS;-
02 POINTS;- 1-Lord Shiva, one of the most powerful Gods in Hindu mythology, is known to illuminate all the three stages—deep slumber, waking and dreaming.Offering water or milk along with the bilva leaves on the shivlangam uplifts the spirit of the devotee to a whole new level—turiya—which lies beyond the three-fold level of slumber-waking-dreaming. 2-The dawn of this stage in the individual heralds a spiritual awakening of the person and helps him/her in accomplishing the karma, thereby making him a complete, pure individual 2. THE SIIGNIFICANCE OF NIGHT ;-
03 POINTS;- 1-Shivratri is a festival celebrated at night—it’s related not to the sun, but to the moon, which is symbolic of the mind. 2-Just like the moon, after moving for 16 days, is left with only 1/6th of the power, similarly, people’s minds too get preoccupied by worldly whims and fancies; they need to be replenished in order to stay true to their karma. 3-Hence, on Shivratri, while praying to Lord Almighty with determination, bhakti and discipline, one is revitalized and gets back control over life all over again 3. THE SIIGNIFICANCE OF FASTING;-
03 POINTS;- 1-Shiva is regarded as the most knowledgeable Divine Creator—and fasting is intimately linked with this.
2-Fasting, in Hindu mythology, is a means to come closer to divinity—the term jagaran (keeping awake the whole night, or in this case, awakening to a spiritual knowledge) refers to awaken someone from deep slumber that is powered by greed, lust and worldly woes. 3-It is to replenish (recharge)and cleanse ourselves off all the adversities of life that Shivaratri is celebrated by Hindus. 4. TANDAVA;--
03 POINTS;- 1-We all know about tandava, the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, but most of us are unaware of the fact that it is done to attract all of us—the mortal beings—to take refuge in his divinity. 2-The amalgamation (separate organizations unite to form a larger organization )of mortals and divinity refers to a complete purge (purify) of the soul which heralds (to make something publicly known, esp . by praising it) a newer outlook, a cleansed soul and a newer determination to face all worldly challenges anew. 3-It is believed that on this auspicious night, purush and prakriti come together and become one. 5. KEEPING AWAKE;-
03 POINTS;- 1-We all know that people offering prayers to Lord Shiva on this auspicious day ought to remain awake till the wee hours of the morning. This practice, too, isn’t without reason. 2-In Hinduism, keeping awake channelizes a kind of awareness and determination that one needs in order to excel in all the worldly activities (a person can never lose track ever), and give a purpose to his/her karma. 3-After all, it is only after you do justice to karma that you’ll go ahead in your path to enlightenment. 6.THE SIIGNIFICANCE OF THE BILVA LEAVES;-
02 POINTS;- 1-According to the tradition, Lord Shiva must be prayed to with the leaves from bilva trees. These leaves are quite special as each stalk has not one or two, but three leaves. These three leaves are representations of the three nadis: ida, pingala and sushuma, the nexus of which is known as ajna chakra. 2-The climb up the tree signifies the ascent of the kundalini shakti to the anja chakra from the muladhara. Any person who concentrates on this point is believed to gain control of his/her senses and go ahead in the path of achieving salvation.
7-LORD SHIVA WHO IS TOTALLY DETACHED IS NOW ATTACHED BECAUSE OF THIS MARRIAGE;-
1-This attachment is the only hope for the creation of Brahma (at least the life that exist on this earth), as per the Hindu belief. Remember, that in the previous Mahakalp, when MA Sati sacrificed her life, Shiva destroyed everything.
2-There was no living being left, and only after the marriage of Shiva with Parvati, life once again started thriving. During the intermediate period, i.e. after the death of MA Sati and till the marriage with Parvati, Shiva stayed in SAMADHI.
DESCRIPTION OF MAHASHIVRATRI;-
12 FACTS;- 1-Mahashivratri, the one that occurs in February-March is of the most spiritual significance. On this night, the northern hemisphere of the planet is positioned in such a way that there is a natural upsurge of energy in a human being.
2-This is a day when nature is pushing one towards one’s spiritual peak. It is to make use of this, that in this tradition, we establish a certain festival which is night-long. One of the fundamentals of this night-long festival is to ensure that – to allow this natural upsurge of energies to find their way – you remain with your spine vertical – you stay awake. 3-Mahashivratri is very significant for people who are on the spiritual path. It is also very significant for people who are in family situations, and also for the ambitious in the world. People who live in family situations observe Mahashivratri as Shiva’s wedding anniversary. Those with worldly ambitions see that day as the day Shiva conquered all his enemies. 4-For the ascetics, it is the day he became one with Mount Kailash. He became like a mountain – absolutely still. In the yogic tradition, Shiva is not worshipped as a God, but considered as the Adi Guru, the first Guru from whom the knowledge originated.
5-After many millennia in meditation, one day he became absolutely still. That day is Mahashivratri. All movement in him stopped and he became utterly still, so ascetics see Mahashivratri as the night of stillness. 6-Shivratri, is the darkest day of the month. Celebrating Shivratri on a monthly basis, and the particular day, Mahashivratri, almost seems like celebration of darkness. Any logical mind would resist darkness and naturally opt for light. But the word “Shiva” literally means “that which is not.” “That which is,” is existence and creation. 7-“That which is not” is Shiva. “That which is not” means, if you open your eyes and look around, if your vision is for small things, you will see lots of creation. If your vision is really looking for big things, you will see the biggest presence in the existence is a vast emptiness. 10-8-A few spots which we call galaxies are generally much noticed, but the vast emptiness that holds them does not come into everybody’s notice. This vastness, this unbounded emptiness, is what is referred to as Shiva. 9-Light is a brief happening in your mind. Light is not eternal, it is always a limited possibility because it happens and it ends. The greatest source of light that we know on this planet is the sun. Even the sun’s light, you could stop it with your hand and leave a shadow of darkness behind. 10-But darkness is all-enveloping, everywhere. The immature minds in the world have always described darkness as the devil. But when you describe the divine as all-pervading, you are obviously referring to the divine as darkness, because only darkness is all-pervading.11-It is everywhere. It does not need any support from anything. Light always comes from a source that is burning itself out. It has a beginning and an end. It is always from a limited source. Darkness has no source. It is a source unto itself. It is all-pervading, everywhere, omnipresent. So when we say Shiva, it is this vast emptiness of existence. It is in the lap of this vast emptiness that all creation has happened. It is that lap of emptiness that we refer to as the Shiva. 12-So when we say Shivratri, which is the darkest night of the month, it is an opportunity for one to dissolve their limitedness, to experience the unboundedness of the source of creation which is the seed in every human being. Mahashivratri is an opportunity and a possibility to bring yourself to that experience of the vast emptiness within every human being, which is the source of all creation.
RELATION OF SHIVRATRI WITH SHIV TATTWA;-
1-The word ''ratri'' in Sanskrit connotes that which relieves you from the three types of agony â€” ethereal, mental and material. This brings rest to the three instruments: the body, mind and speech.
2-Shivratri literally means that night which infuses the Shiva tatva, or the transcendental, into the three instruments. Samadhi is often referred to as Shiva Sayujya, the presence of Shiva, a concept that''s difficult to explain.
3- Kabir Das calls it the koti kalpa vishram, a billion years of rest consolidated in a moment. It is like the deepest possible rest with alertness one could have, which brings freedom from all identities.
4-Unlike most Hindu festivals which are celebrated during the day, the Maha Shivaratri is celebrated at night. The celebration includes maintaining a "jaagaran", an all-night vigil and prayers, because Shaiva Hindus mark this night as "overcoming darkness and ignorance" in one's life and the world through Shiva.
5-Shiva tatva is Omnipresent. The whole point of realisation is to be conscious of it in its depth, yet to be awake to its non-dual glory, in one''s awareness, in the depth of Samadhi. It is as if a wave is being skilfully conscious of the vastness of the ocean.
6-The jagran in Shivratri is not just forcing oneself to be awake or watching movies or singing bhajans aloud. It is all about keeping awake and being inward... and reaching the witness consciousness by being consciously aware of the inner rest that sleep anyway brings on an everyday basis. When you surpass a certain layer of sleep, the rest of samadhi or Shiva sayujya happens.
7-Jagran means turning your mind inwards and keeping it awake. The moment you turn the mind inwards, it is habituated to go into sleep, unconsciously. Many a time, when people go into meditation, they do not know whether they slept or meditated. When they come out of it, they experience a certain pleasantness and reduced entropy, which brings an unusual freshness to the mind and senses.
8-It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, doing Yoga and meditating on ethics and virtues such as self-restraint, honesty, noninjury to others, forgiveness and the discovery of Shiva. The ardent devotees keep awake all night.In Kashmir Shaivism, the festival is called Har-ratri .
RELATION OF SHIVRATRI WITH UNION OF SHIV & SHAKTI;-
1-The other story related to Shivratri is the union of Shiva and Shakti. The primordial and dynamic energy is wedded to the transcendental. Shiva is the silent witness, the chidakasha and Shakti is chitti or chidvilasa, the energy that plays and displays in the infinite space.
2--Shiva is the formless Being; Shakti is the manifestation in the field. This is the recognition of the dual aspect of matter and energy, prakriti and purusha, the dravya and guna, substance and its qualities. Recognising the underlying non-dual nature of Brahmn is Shivratri.
3-Shiva comes to marry Shakti with all his shivaganas, the weird-looking people. The story is entertaining but the principle is that this creation is a dance of opposites, of weird things. They all rejoice and feel at home in the Shiva tatva, the one common harmonising factor.
4-The Drishya is Shakti and the drishtaa is Shiva. The wakefulness, the darshana, causes the unity. The process of seeing causes the unity. That is why, during Shivratri, you don''t go to sleep, you keep the darshana alive.
5-The seen can be many and weird, but the seer is one. The beauty lies with the seer who is the harmonising factor in the completely contradicting seen. It is the Shiva tatva, which brings celebration in creation.
6-Parva in Sanskrit means celebration. As the earth rises in celebration, the hills are called parvata. The nirgun or formless Brahmn celebrates the sagun, the Brahmn with form.
7-It is only wakefulness that brings out this knowledge in the consciousness and Shivratri is the night to celebrate the wakefulness of one universal consciousness without falling into the unconscious sleep state.
8-Breaking the pattern of unconscious sleep gives you a glimpse that you are not a mechanical apparatus but a legend in the creation. To recognise the Shiva tatva, you have to be
awake.Let this night not just be a night of wakefulness, let this night be a night of awakening for us.
9-Let us get on with what is the difference between Shivratri
and Mahashivratri. Shivratri is celebrated (only for the purpose of worshipping) on every thirteenth dark fortnight of lunar month, with Mahashivratri being celebrated in the month of Phagun.
10-During the 13th tithi of Phagun, normally, the sun will be in Aquarius (Kumbha in Sanskrit) and moon in Capricorn (Makara). Mahashivratri is considered to be the marriage day of Shiva and Goddess Parvati.Here Kumbha(Aquarius )
represents Shiva and Makara(Capricorn) represents Mata Parvati. And there is a reason for this.
11-As per Vedanta Jyotish , Kumbha(Aquarius ) is a Rashi farthest away from the Rashi of Sun i.e. Leo (Singh ). Kumbha is represented by an EMPTY earthen pot. The immediate idea that we get is of abject poverty, and since Saturn owns this Rashi, you can add Karma with detachment. The other rashi, Makar(Capricorn ), where moon is, is also owned by Saturn. Mars gets exalted status over here, and Mars, we all know gives exaltation results only through renouncement.
12-Mata Parvati, a princess, belonging to a very rich royal family, renounced everything to marry Lord Shiva. She gets represented during Mahashivratri by Capricorn. She knew she was marrying Lord Shiva, and she knew that Lord Shiva had no worldly wealth and may never ever have a cottage of his own.
13-The marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati represents a marriage of a totally non-worldly person (who is not interested in any worldly pleasure and wealth, and who is feared as Destroyer), with a charming, rich princess, who renounces every comfort and wealth for this marriage.
14-This is one more aspect of Dharm, which gets represented during Mahashivratri. Lord Shiva is usually shown in Samadhi. When his Samadhi is complete, creation of Brahma (i.e. the life on earth) collapses. Conscious to the world outside the body reduces destructive power of Lord Shiva. And symbolically, Moon represents consciousness.
15-So that we do not miss this important aspect, every picture of Shiva contains a white silvery crescent of moon, on the top of the head, on the side of the right shoulder, indicating that Lord Shiva is conscious, but only slightly (only as much as the silvery crescent visible to the full moon, OR one can also say as per the ratio of moon visible on fourteenth dark tithi to the moon visible on full moon day), and this much CHETNA, or, consciousness is sufficient for the world to prosper.
16-During the period of Mahashivratri, the month is Phagun, and Phagun is the last month of Hindu calendar. Symbolically, Mahashivratri, celebrated during the last month of the year renews the hope of prosperity in the coming year.
17-The sun in Kumbha symbolizing Shiva indicates a person, who is not worldly, and one who performs all his Kama with detachment, and one who will be more comfortable in complete Samadhi, unconscious of what is happening to the outside world.
18-This is what the world does not want, so the marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati is celebrated by Hindus, on the 13th tithi of the dark fortnight. On that tithi, moon will be in Makara. And Makara symbolizes renouncement of all worldly wealth. This is what Goddess Parvati does for the sake of all Humanity. She marries Lord Shiva, renouncing all her wealth.
RELATION OF SHIVRATRI WITH MOON;-
1-In fact history of Asia and Africa suggest that this festival was very popular 2000 years back. The archeological find suggest several temples with Deity of a Man with crescent moon mostly in the body (chest, heart), in various part of ancient world. It is also a common belief that other religion, like Jews and Muslims, who consider sighting of new moon highly auspicious, drew the inspiration from this age old ritual of Hindus.
2- One important aspect of the calibration of this marriage is that moon, indicating consciousness, is visible as crescent, Mahashivratri is celebrated on 13th tithi, and the faithful worship throughout the night and their worship is complete, when after sunrise they see the silvery crescent of the moon immediately over the sun. THIS IS SOMETHING PHYSICAL AND IMPORTANT. THE RITUAL OF WORSHIP IS NOT COMPLETE WITHOUT VIEWING OF MOON.
3-It is true that because of clouds, pollution, or other local conditions the moon may not be visible, but we know, astronomically, that the last moon is visible on the 14th tithi of the dark fortnight, in the morning, just over the sun. Astronomically, the moon is not visible when it is + 12 deg. away from sun. Using Hindu lunar calendar that would mean the 15th tithi (amavasya) of the dark fortnight and 1st tithi of the bright fortnight.
4-Shiva Navratri is celebrated before eight days of MAHASHIVRATRI. Happy Shiva Navratri CHIDANAND RUPA .