PM greets India on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri
On the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivratri, the entire nation was greeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter. Shivratri fast is supposed to be the most significant and pious fast for the followers of Lord Shiva. As per the Hindu calendar, Shivratri 'the great night of Shiva' is observed on a new moon day in the month of Maagha.
Various myths pertaining to Maha Shivaratri
Maha Shivaratri owes its roots to many accounts, one of them being the commemoration of Shiva-Parvati's marriage. Shivratri is also celebrated as the occasion when Shiva protected the world from the jar of poison that arose from the sea during Samudra Manthan. Another myth claims that a fight between Brahma and Vishnu took place and Shiva became a great fire to end the fight.
North and South uphold different myths
While in Southern Karnataka the legend symbolic of Shiva punishing Brahma for lying is upheld, the Kashmiri Brahmins recognise it as the day Lord Shiva married Parvati by starting the festivities 3-4 days prior to Maha Shivratri.
How is Maha Shivaratri celebrated?
The festival is mainly marked by libations of Bael leaves to Lord Shiva, all-day fasts are observed during the day and an all-night-vigil (jagaran). Believers of Shiva chant "Om Namah Shivaya" all through the day. On this day, in all Shiva temples across the country, the most auspicious Lingodbhava Puja is done where the Shiva-ling is revered and prayed to.
Significance of Maha Shivaratri
According to Hindu mythology, worshippers observing the fast on Maha Shivaratri get absolved from their sins and attain 'Moksha'. Moreover, this day Maha Dev (Shiva) can be pleased to get desired boons. Amongst unmarried women, the fast of Maha Shivaratri is significant to "get best life partners or ideal husbands"; even married women pray to Goddess Parvati for marital bliss.
Maha Shivaratri celebrations in Kashi, Allahabad, Ayodya
People offer 'jalabhishek' of holy water and hold special prayers at the Vishwanath temple in Kashi. Devotees visit the Nageshwarnath temple in Ayodhya and extend their prayers after taking a bath in the Saryu river. Allahabad is thronged with people who take a holy dip at the convergence of Ganga and Yamuna Sangam and the holy waters are offered to various Shiva temples.