Over the past hundreds of years, we have been gifted numerous festivals by our ancestors. Along with these festivals came the wisdom of our ancestors and their set of rituals. But some where down the line we lost all that wisdom, we lost the understanding of what these festivals were and now all that we are left with are these rituals. Rituals which have now become only a set of prescribed actions with no meaning to them. What really happened here is somewhat like Chinese whispers…Meanings twisted, reasons damaged.
Did you know?
Unlike many Hindu festivals which include expression of cultural festivities, Maha Shivaratri instead is more of a solemn event known more for its introspective focus. It is observed by remembering Shiva, fasting, doing Yoga and meditating on ethics and virtues such as self-restraint, honesty, non injury to others, forgiveness and the discovery of Shiva.
Do you really believe that winning the heart of God and obtaining ‘moksha’ is so simple? If just pouring a can of milk on the Shiva linga and offering it wood apple leaves could bring prosperity, our nation would have been a beggar free country since centuries! But unfortunately, it is not us, who drain gallons of milk every year, beating the band wagon of prosperity but instead the western world who have no clue what Maha Shivratri is!
“Our own brain, our own heart is our temple. And the philosophy is kindness” – Dalai Lama
Before you wash the idol of Lord Shiva this year, remember to first wash your soul of all the malice and hatred that you have been breeding. Read the scriptures first instead of blindly following the traditions and passing on your incomplete knowledge. Celebrate this Maha Shivratri in its true spirit by proving the victory of goodness over evil and knowledge over ignorance.
Wishing all our readers a very happy Maha Shivratri. As with all Indian festivals, there are many mythological legends associated with this one too. Here are just a few.
Legends of Maha Shivratri
- According to one of the most popular legends, Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati.
- Some believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction.
- Another popular Shivratri legend stated in Linga Purana states that it was on Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga.
- Another interesting story to the history of Shivratri is, when a hunter could not find anything to kill for his food in a forest, he waited on the branch of a Wood apple tree. In order to attract deer, he started throwing the leaves of the tree on the ground, unaware that there was a Shiva Lingam beneath the tree. Pleased with the Wood apple leaves and the patience of the hunter, it is believed that Lord Shiva appeared in front of the hunter and blessed him with wisdom. From that day onwards, the hunter stopped eating meat.