Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Maha Sivaratri

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Maha Sivaratri or Shivaratri  (Great Night of Shiva or Night of Shiva) is a festival celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha (waning moon) of the month of Maagha (as per Shalivahana or Gujarati Vikrama) or Phalguna (as per Vikrama) in the Hindu Calendar (that is, the night before and day of the new moon). The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael (Bilva) leaves to the Lord Shiva, all day fasting and an all night long vigil. Cannabis is traditionally used as an offering for Lord Shiva and his followers. Per scriptural and discipleship traditions, the penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach the goal more swiftly and avoid rebirth.

Of the four Ratris (night), Shivaratri – one of the major Hindu festivals- is a night of fasting and prayer in honour of Lord Shiva. According to Hindu Mythology; Brahma is the creator, Bishnu is the preserver and Lord Shiva is the God of Destruction and thus is sometimes described as God of all Gods. The devotees in their prayer ask Lord Shiva to wash away all the sins they have committed.
Mahashivaratri is the night when Lord Shiva himself was created by his own divine grace. Hindus all over the world celebrate the festival with zeal and enthusiasm. The devotees from all parts of the country as well as neighbouring countries throng to Pashupatinath. Literally ‘the lord of animals’ Pashupatinath is one of the many forms of Lord Shiva.

Legend say, most of the devotees go to worship literally to wrangle with the God for their wishes to be fulfilled. In the dawn devotees take a holy bath in Bagmati river and then they have to stand in a long queue to enter into the temple for worship. Since early hours, the vicinity of Pashupatinath is seen bustling with the crowd of devotees and spectators.
One of the highlights during Mahashivaratri is the number of sadhus who throng to Pasupatinath, not only from across the country but also from the neighbouring countries. Different type of sadhus could be seen around who are one of the rare sights for many. This year, Marwadi Sewa Samittee along with other special welfare organizations has managed the accommodation of these people.

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