Today Mahashivratri is not only a festival of Hindus but it is a festival celebrated by everyone. And why shouldn’t it be it is on this day of phalgun Krishna chaturthi that shiva’s formation as linga took place and this day till today is celebrated as Mahashivratri.
We have been celebrating it as a festival since years now. Fasting, worshiping, coronation and being awake at night are of prime importance during this festival. Devotees of shiva observe fast on this day, according to their capacity they offer fruits milk etc to lord shiva and they do not sleep at night.
Hindu scriptures prescribe various forms ofshiva worship. On one hand various forms of shivaare worshipped, and on the other the five forms (Human, tutpurush, aghor, vamdev, and sadhojaat) or eight forms (shaarv, bhav, rudra, ugra, bheema, pashupati, human and shiva) are to be worshipped.
Apart from these there is a special importance given to worshipping Shiva linga. Shastra’s say that you can worship all gods in shiva-linga itself. Shiva linga has different forms and they are one made of objects of fragrance (musk, sandal and kumkum), pushp-linga (one that is made of flowers), Rajomayalinga (One that is made of cereals and grains), Yavgaodhumshalijlinga (One that is made of wheat and rice flour), lavanmaya-linga (One that is made of salt), Gudotath-linga (one made of jaggery), Bhasmaya-linga (one that is made of bhasma), etc.
These are very special for offering your worship if you want your wishes to come true. Apart from this shiva-linga made of mercury, gold, quartz and other metals and precious stones like sapphire are very auspicious.
Amongst all this baan-linga and narmadeshwar-linga are quite popularly used. It is considered pure and godly like shaligram stone and therefore they do not require any ritual to make them pure and fit to be worshipped.
Whereas according to eastern ritual establishing shiva-linga requires performance of rituals to make it fit for worship. There is various mechanism of worshipping lord shiva and they are panchopchar, dasopchar, sodsopchar, astadasopchar, chausathupchar etc. but the fitment of the worship would depend on the availability of the resources.
Shastra’s prescribe mental worship apart from the physical worship as well and this is considered far more superior and result bearing than the physical form of worship. The lord who drives and gives everything to others on earth and we have come in to existence because of him and one is the form of everything that is in existence what can we offer to him as mere humans.
We are praying only to get something that we wish for so is this possible that by offering a few things while worshipping will make lord shiva happy? However there is nothing precious in the world which can be offered to the lord.
While doing the mental worship you should imagine lord shiva wearing gold jwellery and attire and seated on a throne made of gold and other precious stone under an eon tree on the peaks of Mount Everest.
And after that imagine that you are making lord shive take bath with water of the ganges of heaven and milk of kamdhenu cow. After that offer beatific and heavenly clothes to him. Now, you should perform the worship using the mantras below:
Om Lum Prathivyatmkam Gandham parikalpyami (Imagine that you are anointing of Lord Shiva with Sandalwood).
Om Hum Akashatmakam Pushpam Parikalpyami (Imagine that you are offering fragnant and great floral to Lord Shiva).
Om Yam Vayvatmakam Dhupam Parikalpyami (Imagine that you are showing the great incense to Lord Shiva).
Om Rum Vahchatmakam Deepam Darshyami (Imagine that you are showing best lamp to Lord Shiva).
Om Vum Amritatmakam Nayvedhyam Nivedyami (Imagine that you are offering Naved to Lord Shiva).
Om Soom Sarvatmakam Sarvopcharam Smarpyami (Imagine that you are devoting world’s all treatments to Lord Shiva).