Story of Maha Shivaratri

Maha Shivaratri, or the Great Night of Shiva, is a significant Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The story behind Maha Shivaratri varies, but a popular legend associated with the festival is the churning of the ocean, known as the Samudra Manthan. According to Hindu mythology, devas (celestial beings) and asuras (demons) joined forces to churn the cosmic ocean in search of the nectar of immortality, known as Amrita.

It is celebrated annually in reverence of the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, marking the night when he is believed to perform the Tandava, the divine dance of creation, preservation, and destruction.

File:Samudra manthan.

Source: wikimedia commons

During the churning process, a pot of poison, known as “halahala,” emerged from the ocean. The poison had the potential to destroy the entire creation. In a selfless act to protect the universe, Lord Shiva consumed the poison. However, instead of swallowing it, he held it in his throat, turning his throat blue in the process. This earned him the epithet “Neelakantha,” meaning the one with a blue throat.

The night on which Lord Shiva consumed the poison and saved the world is believed to be the Maha Shivaratri. Devotees observe this night with fasting, prayer, and vigil, staying awake throughout the night as a symbol of overcoming darkness and ignorance. It is a time for introspection, meditation, and seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva for spiritual growth and well-being.

Maha Shivaratri is celebrated with great enthusiasm across Nepal and other parts of the world where Hindu communities reside. Temples dedicated to Lord Shiva are adorned with lights, and special prayers and rituals are performed. Devotees offer bilva leaves, milk, and other sacred items to seek the divine blessings of Lord Shiva. The festival represents a spiritual journey, symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness and the importance of inner transformation on the path to self-realization.

Kashi Viswanath. Maha Shivaratri

                         ||ॐ नमः पार्वती पतये हर हर महादेव ||

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