‘ Har har Mahadeo’ chants fill the streets in India on this MahaShivratri day. Loudspeakers blare religious songs ‘KailashNath ki jai’ and ‘Shiv Aarti’ as Hindus gear up for a night long celebration called Jagran. For the more serious spiritual seekers meditation groups and discourses on ‘Awakening the Inner’ are sought for.
Maha Shivratri – is the night long worshiping of Lord Shiva, (one of the three Gods of Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu,Shiva). It is the day when Shiva is said to have performed the mythical Tandav Nritya– the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction. Lord Shiva the mystical, celibate, powerful of mind, the God of the yogis has much mass appeal. Call Him Mahadeo, Bhairav, Kalanetra,Gangadhara, KailashNath, Pranava or Rudra… or any one of the 108 names, it is HE whom one’s mind should dwell upon tonight, to gather up the upsurge of energy created through meditation and prayer.
Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram. Truth, goodness and beauty.
This religious festival is marked by only Hindu community and the shops and markets cater to a particular sect and community. It is a day of austerity, peace, meditation, and fasting. It generally comes in spring time, March.
Seasonal fruits and some special ones are sold in the markets: watermelons, golden rock melon, grapes, Dates and bananas go for the fruit trays that are placed in both home and temples. For special food people partake: reddish sweet potato tubers, dates and milk and honey and variety of millets (sorghum, barley, amaranthus).
Photo courtesy:Times of India
Off to the market then. List of buys include prasad food and flowers, incense, and camphor. Wonder what others are buying? Black clay pots and Palash flowers (Flame of the forest) were specials for this day!
Special grass buds, bottles or packets of milk for pouring on the Shiv Linga, black clay pots for carrying sweet payasam (a milk and jaggery pudding), orange marigolds and white tube rose flowers, coconuts – puja items a plenty!
If you’ve forgotten to bring your bag …this little fellow, wants to make a quick sale. It’s a school holiday and he can earn pocket money.
Day markets, kitchen and altar cleaning all done. Await the night. Twinkling lights will decorate temples, loudspeakers will blare musical chants, people carrying pots of payasam and plate filled with coconut and flowers will stand in queues at Shiv temple entrances (famous ones like those in Kashi, RudraPrayag, Trivandrum, Somnath) have a much grander gathering and celebration). Sreet markets get brighter and busier as last minute devotees throng to buy statues, Rudra strings, photos of Shiva, water bottles, bells and other knick knacks.
Get ready for the Jagran –spiritual chanting and singing tonight.
Photo Courtesy: Internet ( Times of India)
MahaShivratri has many symbolisms and stories attached to it, explains the Isha Foundation (www.ishafoundation.org)
- Among householders, it is considered the night when Shiva married Parvati.
- Among the ambitious, Shiva is said to have defeated all his enemies on this day.
- For spiritual seekers, this is the day when Shiva merged with in Mount Kailash.
So find out your own Inner Self. Sit quietly and meditate on ‘who you are? What is your role in this world? It is a day of reflection.
Shivo Hum, Shivo Hum. The beauty of Self Realization.
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