‘ Har har Mahadeo’ chants fill the streets in India today. Loudspeakers blare musical songs ‘KailashNath ki jai’ and ‘Shiv Aarti’ as Hindus gear up for a night long celebration or for the spiritual seekers an ‘Awakening.’
Today is Maha Shivratri – the long night of worshipping 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.
Special days bring a festive cheer and colour at any market, isn’t it? Here in India today, fruits of many colours – red and green watermelons, golden rock melon, purple grapes, brown Dates, reddish sweet potato tubers fill the street stalls. As many Hindus fast on this day partaking fruit, Dates and milk and honey – so the markets cater to specific needs.
Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram – Truth, Goodness and Beauty.
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.
Photo courtesy: Internet( Times of India)
To capture some photos of the colourful spring flowers, prayer items on sale and feel the synergy of devout people thronging to the market, was indeed a fruitful morning. Black clay pots and Palash flowers (Flame of the forest) were unique, specific ‘buy of the day.’
Spring time stalls selling melons, bananas, rock melon and winter leftover fruit of grapes and apples was a good mix. Sweet Potato tubers and Dates are specially consumed during fasting providing quick energy.
Special grass buds, crimson -red Palash flowers for Shiv puja, milk bottles, black clay pots for carrying payasam (a milk and jaggery pudding ) made an interesting addition to the usual mounds of orange marigold and white tube rose flowers. ‘Palash flowers are offered to Lord Shiva and Parvati ..special today ‘ said the woman vendor, prodding all the married women into buying it specially today.
Don’t worry if you forgot to bring a bag. This little fellow, wants to make a quick sale, as it’s a school holiday.
By night, twinkling lights will decorate temple exteriors, loudspeakers will blare musical chants, people carrying pots of payasam and plate filled with coconut and flowers will await their turn patiently at the temples. Street markets get brighter and busier as last minute business intensifies. It’s a hard day’s work, especially if one has to do 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:
- 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 Mount Kailash.
My puja plate is ready for tonight. Many worshippers will throng the temples, others will sit or attend quiet meditation, and still others may try to find out the meaning behind all these celebrations and rituals.
Shivo Hum, Shivo Hum. The beauty of Self Realization.
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