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Spiritual Significance of Shivaratri


Lord Shiva stands guard at Haridwar

We often wonder about the various spiritual customs that are practised on the myriad festivals that hindus practise. The ancients instituted these practises to coincide with festivals which again coincided with important seasonal changes to serve as memory aids on the spiritual path.

1.Why does shivaratri fall on the 14th day of the Phalguna month.

Hindus follow an Soli-Lunar calendar of twelve months of which Phalguna is the last.  Phalguna marks the time when winter is thawing and spring is returning. Trees and flowers are in full bloom during this time . Animals and humans seem to have better mood’s compared to the depressing weather of winter. In a way Phalguna stands at the threshold of life and death . Winter is death to many plants and Spring is rejuvenation..

Rudra or Shiva is both the destroyer and Rejuvenator. He is the mantra devata for the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra which is present within the Namakam Chamakam and also he plays the role of  devourer of creation or Mahakala. In Kashi he is worshipped as Mahakala.

So in other words the Month of Phalguna with the shivaratri signifies the movement from winter to spring…from death to birth …from sleep to awakening of the soul.

2.Why should we remain awake on the night of Shivaratri…

Shivaratri is the day of Lord Shiva. Shiva is the lord of meditation and therefore the lord of awakening. Shiva Tatva means to be awakened. Shivratri is thus an occasion to awaken one’s self from all sorts of slumber. Shivaratri is not a night to be slept over. One should try and be up through the night. It signifies being aware of everything you have and being grateful about it. Be grateful for the happiness which leads to growth, and also for sadness which gives a depth to life. This is the right way of observing Shivaratri.

3.Why is a moonless night chosen…Is not Amavasya an inauspicious day?

Moon or Soma is an important planet which plays a major role in regulating tides on earth , keeping the weather patterns steady , regulating the seasons and many other things. This is not hocus pocus but a proven scientific fact…In fact if the moon were not there the earth would not be there.National Geographic had a detailed show on this recently .

“Our moon is the “counter-balance” of our own planet. It makes our plant stable, just tilting 23 degrees. If the moon suddenly disappeared, however, catastrophic things might happen. Earth would tumble to it’s own axis, making our seasons different. Countries near the equator might experience snow, while in the polar regions they might experience drought. Tide patterns would also change.”

Written by a Astronomy Professor this book details the above

The ancients knew this and based the Hindu calendar on the  Luni Solar Transition……Amavasya was not considered an Inauspicious day in ancient times. In fact it is not a suggested day for material gains but is a superb day for Mental focus and Spiritual practises.

🙂 Soma or the Moon has an huge impact on human’s ….The lunar cycle has a similar effect on the human mind and a moonless night gives the perfect opportunity to focus your energies on Lord Shiva.

4.What should one do and how should one worship

Source ( Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living )

For the pious, the following method of Shiva worship is advisable – sit down in lotus posture, do some Pranayam to stabilize your breath, then indulge in Dhyana, followed by chanting of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. It is the greatest mantra and the devout should drown himself in its Kirtan.

Shivaratri worship leads to fulfillment of a devotee’s wishes. There are certain days and time frames in a year that enhance one’s mental and spiritual faculties. In such times, whatever one wishes, materializes. Shivaratri is one such day. All this is very scientific.

Going to temples on this day is ok but you should remember that Shiva is everywhere. The meaning of Kailasa (legendary abode of Shiva in Himalayas) is celebration. So where there is happiness and celebration, Shiva is present. Whether in Sanyasa or Sansara, you can’t escape Shiva. Feeling his presence all the time is the essence of Shivaratri. That is the real Sanyasa.

No worship is complete without offering something to the deity. Shiva is a very simple lord, he is innocent – Bholanath. One just needs to offer bel-patra (bilva leaves) to him. But in this simplicity is a deep message. Bel-patra offerings signify the surrender of all three aspects of one’s nature – Tamas, Rajas and Sattva.

You have to surrender the positives and negatives of your life to Shiva and become carefree! The greatest offering is your self. To offer one’s self is the key to happiness in life.

After all, why do you get sad? It is mainly because you are not able to achieve something in life. At such times you should surrender everything to the all knowing God. The greatest power is in surrender to the divine. It’s like a drop owning the ocean. If a drop remains separate, it will perish. But when it becomes the ocean, it is eternal!

One Comment leave one →
  1. 03/13/2013 7:33 AM

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    of Shivaratri | మానస సంచరరే” Fabric Roman Shades reveals the fact that you comprehend what you are communicating about!
    I personally entirely am in agreement. Many thanks ,Mariam

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