Maha Shivaratri 2019
Shivaratri falls on the 13th night and 14th day of each month in Hindu Luni-Solar calendar meaning there’s a Shivaratri every month during the whole year. But one among all of them stands out and that’s Maha Shivaratri.
The literal translation of “Maha” is Great and “Shivaratri” means the night of Shiva. So it is translated as “the great night of Lord Shiva” and is believed to be the day which aids in uplifting an individual’s spiritual dimension.
When is Maha Shivaratri Celebrated?
Maha Shivaratri is celebrated marking the new moon day of Maagh Month in Hindu Calendar. In the year 2019, Maha Shivaratri is celebrated on 4th March.
It is widely accepted that Shiva becomes most active on this day and performs the cosmic dance popularly known as “tandav”. Pashupatinath Temple receives thousands of visitors during the time of Maha Shivaratri. Devotees fast during Maha Shivaratri wishing for the longevity of their husbands and if un-married, wishing to get ideal husbands like Lord Shiva.
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Maha Shivaratri is the day celebrated to mark when “adiyogi” awakened his consciousness. It is the day when a yogi goes beyond time and space when he attains “nirvana”.
Since my childhood, I have always been fascinated by the festivals and Maha Shivaratri is no exception. I used to go and watch Sadhus dance, meditate, crowds waiting to enter inside the main temple premises to worship. Pashupatinath temple was in a walking distance from my room and it used to be a regular destination for me to spend my leisure time.
I knew nothing about the significance of the festival back then. But also, the joy I had during the festive time was beyond words. The free foods for almost a month before Maha Shivaratri was the best of all. Thanks to all the generous people for spreading happiness among kids like us. ?
Significance of Maha Shivaratri!
Just recently, I came to know more about the festival. One important objective of the festival is about “overcoming ignorance and darkness”. The process involved in order to gain the result is through self-reflection, meditation, introspective focus, fasting.” I used to wonder why people were staying around Pashupatinath temple premises the whole night. But most of them are there to smoke weed. 😀
One of the attractive aspects of Shivaratri used to be gathering of friends, setting up a bonfire, having conversations, laughing and cherishing the day. Alongside, in the day time, we used to collect money from passerby blocking their way with a rope.
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Also, I used to wonder why hundreds of thousands of people lineup to worship inside the Pashupatinath temple on the day of Shivaratri and why not on any other normal day. The statues are the same and why spend so much of time. Little did I know that on the day of Maha Shivaratri, the northern hemisphere of the planet is positioned in such a way that there’s a natural expansion of spiritual energy in a person. Because of the very reason, the fasting in Maha Shivaratri is considered truly powerful assisting a person to gain control over material possession and worldly temptations.
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I am not sure if the beliefs regarding fasting hold truths but observing from health perspectives, it is very scientific. During that day, the devotees abstain from eating grains but choose fruits, milk, potatoes, tea, and later in the evening, kheer (sweet dessert) made up of sabut dana, halwa (a dessert) made up of a gourd. The selection of these foods is pretty healthy.
Weed is legal on the day of Maha Shivaratri
On the day of Maha Shivaratri, weed is un-officially legal. A lot of Sadhus and many more youngsters and other people are seen openly smoking weed in the premises of Pashupatinath temple. Despite the presence of police, they don’t care and smoke. The Pashupatinath temple is intoxicated with the smell of Marijuana during Maha Shivaratri.
Shiva and his significance
Along with Brahma and Vishnu, Shiva is one of the members of holy trinity in Hinduism. Shiva represents goodness and is regarded as the protector. There’s a widely accepted belief that Shiva is the destroyer and transformer of the universe. As per the belief system, the Universe has a certain life span and at the end of the span, Shiva destroys it to regenerate anew.
“Shiva means “that which is not”. That which is physical in nature. All that we experience through our five senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and listening are all physical in nature. What is physical is what we call as existence or creation. But what is physical is very very limited. Or literally negligible meniscal in this existence. Today, scientists are saying, over 99.99% of an atom is an empty space that which is not; Shiva. Over 99.99% of the very cosmos is nothingness or emptiness. If you look up in the sky, you see a few specs which we call as stars and galaxies. But the large part of cosmos is sheer emptiness. This dimension which holds existence in its lap, today, they’re trying to find an appropriate term. So they’re calling it dark energy, darkness and things like that. But essentially, non-physical in nature means that which is not. So this “that which doesn’t exist” physically as we know existence, but which is the basic of existence, we call this “Shiva; the limitless nothingness” is referred to as Shiva. But a yogi, the adiyogi, the only yogi; we refer to him as Shiva because he perceived that which is not. All of your perceptions of seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and listening, you can only perceive that which is. You can’t perceive that which is not. When he perceived that which is not or he perceived that which we refer to as Shiva. Because afterall a human being is what we have perceived. So we call him a Shiva as well. People are named after Shiva because you might not have perceived but within you also every single atom in this body is over 99.99% Shiva. You are un-realized Shiva hoping that one day you’ll get it. Now, you can also call your dog a Shiva because it is made up of the same stuff.” – Sadhguru
Wishing happy Maha Shivaratri to all of you! May your Consciousness rise and grow as a Wise person. 🙂
Pashupatinath Temple Evening Aarati: