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Mahashivaratri: All-Night Vigil And Prayers For Lord Shiva

Many devotees keep awake all night, many others visit nearby Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams

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Lord Shiva is one of the principle deity of hinduism. Wikimedia Commons
Lord Shiva is one of the principle deity of hinduism. Wikimedia Commons
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  • Mahashivaratri is a festival important in Shaivism traditions of Hindu religion
  • Maha Shivaratri is regarded as the day when Shiva and Parvati got married
  • Shivaratri is on the 13th night/14th day of the month

Mahashivaratri is celebrated in the honour of Lord Shiva. The festival is solemn and is celebrated in remembrance of ‘overcoming darkness and ignorance’ in life and the world. In every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar, there is a Shivaratri on the 13th night/14th day of the month. However, before the arrival of Summer comes Mahashivaratri (meaning the Great Night of Shiva).

A major festival in Hinduism, Mahashivaratri is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, doing Yoga, and meditating on ethics and virtues such as self-restraint, honestly, noninjury to others, forgiveness, and the discovery of Shiva.

ALSO READ: Celebration of the Devi Shakti: Maha Navmi | Worship Goddess Siddhidhatri on the Ninth Day of Navratri

Many devotees keep awake all night, many others visit nearby Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams.

Many devotees keep awake all night, many others visit nearby Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams. Pixabay
Many devotees keep awake all night, many others visit nearby Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams. Pixabay

 Maha Shivaratri Sadhana

Important in the Shaivism tradition, unlike most Hindu festivals the Mahashivaratri is celebrated at night. It is a solemn event notable for its introspective focus on fasting, meditation, self-study, social harmony, and all night prayers at Shiva temples.

A jaagaran (all-night vigil and prayers) is maintained because this festival is marked as ‘overcoming darkness and ignorance’ in one’s life and the world through Shiva. Fruits, leaves, sweet, and milk are offered to Shiva. Some people even perform all-day fasting with the tantric worship of Shiva, and others perform meditative Yoga.

The chants of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ can be heard from temples all night and day. Mahashivaratri is celebrated for three to ten days based on the Hindu calendar.

Many people say it was on Mahashivaratri that Shiva and Parvati got married. Pixabay
Many people say it was on Mahashivaratri that Shiva and Parvati got married. Pixabay

Mahashivaratri Story

Mahashivaratri was the day when Lord Shiva drank off the poisonous negativity (or so Yogis say) to protect our world. The festival is mentioned in Skanda Purana, Linga Purana, and Padma Purana. Though these texts present different mythologies of the festival, all mention fasting and reverence for Lord Shiva.

ALSO READ: Maha Shivaratri: Thousands of Devotees throng Lord Shiva Temples across West Bengal to celebrate the Festival

One legend in the Shaivism tradition tells Mahashivaratri is the “night when Lord Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation and destruction”. While another legend regards this night as the event when Shiva and Parvati got married.

Dance Tradition

The major temples of Konark, Khajuraho, Pattadakal, Modhera, and Chidambaram witness what is known as the ‘sangam’ of artists for dance festivals.

The event, called Natyanjali, at Chidambaram temple is famous for its sculpture depicting all dance mudras in the ancient text of performance arts called Natya Shastra.

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Over 600,000 Devotees offer prayers at Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal on Mahashivratri

The visitors from within and outside the country started pouring into the temple premises from 3.30 a.m. on Friday

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Source: Pixabay

Kathmandu, Feb 25, 2017: Over 600,000 devotees offered prayers to Lord Shiva till Saturday morning at the Pashupatinath Temple in Nepalon the occasion of the Mahashivaratri festival, media reports said.

The visitors from within and outside the country started pouring into the temple premises from 3.30 a.m. on Friday, myrepublica said.

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Govinda Tandon, member secretary of the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), informed that there were around 600,000 devotees who had offered puja at the temple by 6 p.m. on Friday.

As the main theme of the festival is to stay up all night reciting hymns, the temple remained open till Saturday morning, he added.

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He claimed that around 1.2 million people arrived in the Pashupati area to observe the festival on Friday.

This time, the PADT ended the practice of issuing paid tickets to visitors for prompt access to the temple.

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Sadhus (ascetics) visiting Pashupatinath from India and elsewhere were happy with the festival arrangement, Tandon claimed. There were around 150 Indian sadhus in Pashupatinath on the occasion, he said. (IANS)