Fasting on Maha Shivaratri 2013

Maha Shivaratri fast
Maha Shivaratri 2012One of the most auspicious Vrata. It is considered to be equal or more then performing an Ashwamedha Yagna. Taking bath in the water mixed with Black til and observing fast, worshipping Lord Shiva with the Bail Patras, kanera flowers, dhatura and Milk, Listening Shiva's Katha and reciting Shiva Strotram, all these things are considered to be very very auspicious today.

People observe a strict fast on this day. Some devotees do not even take a drop of water and they keep
vigil all night. The Shiva Lingam is worshipped throughout the night by washing it every three hours with milk, curd, honey, rose water, etc., whilst the chanting of the Mantra "Om Namah Shivaya" continues. Offerings of Bael leaves are made to the Lingam as Bael leaves are considered very sacred and it is said that Goddess Lakshmi resides in them.

Hymns in praise of Lord Shiva, such as the "Shiva Mahimna Stotra" of Pushpadanta or Ravana's "Shiva Tandava Stotra" are sung with great fervour and devotion. People repeat the 'Panchakshara' Mantra, "Om Namah Shivaya". He, who utters the names of Shiva during Shivratri, with perfect devotion and concentration, is freed from all sins. He reaches the abode of Shiva and lives there happily. He is liberated from the wheel of births and deaths. Many pilgrims dock to the places where there are Shiva temples.

Shiva being an ascetic god, Maha Shivaratri is very popular with ascetics. Thandai, a drink made with cannabis, almonds, and milk, is essentially drunk by the devout. This is so because cannabis is said to
have been very dear to Shiva.

The importance of the Fast

In the Kotirudra Sanhita of the Shivapurana, it is mentioned that by observing this fast one can get enjoyment and the salvation both. Lord Shiva told this fact to the Brahma, Vishnu and Parvati when
they asked about the benefits of this fast that, by observing this fast devotees can get the great virtues and for the salvation, devotees must follow the four main rules of the fast:

The Four Rules of the Fast:

1. Worshiping the Lord Shiva
2. Recitation of the Rudra Mantras
3. Fast in the Temple of Lord Shiva
4. Abandon the body in Kaashi

In Shivapurana, there are four ways of salvation in Sanatana and in all four ways there is a special importance of the fast of the Shivaratri. So, it should be followed diligently.

Worshiping at Night

All the Gods and Goddesses have been worshiped at the early morning or at the day time while Lord Shiva is worshiped at the night. This is a obvious question for everyone and some of the senior scholars of the scriptures have found the answer of this question. Let us know why?

The Great Priests and Scholars have been searching out for the reason why Shivaratri has been observed on the night of the Phalgun monhts's Krishna Paksha's Chaturdashi. So, they told us, ?Lord
Shiva is having all the destruction powers and having the properties of the darkness. So, it is natural to have his affection towards the dark night. The night is also a representing the period of destruction and when its coming it is destructing the light of the day, the daily deeds of the living beings and at the end by falling asleep consciousness is also get destroyed and whole world falls into the lap of the dark night.

According to this, it is very obvious and natural for Lord Shiva to affectionate towards the night. That is the reason that Lord Shiva is not only being worshiped at the night even always he is worshiped after night of the Pradosh starts.

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