Non - Saiddhantika
Trika -Yamala -
* Nusantara Agama Siwa
* Maha Shivaratri
MAHA SHIVARATRI is a
Hindu festival celebrated annually in honour of
Shiva . There is a
Shivaratri in every luni-solar month of the
Hindu calendar, on the month's 13th night/14th day, but once a year in
late winter (February/March, or
Phalguna ) and before the arrival of
spring, marks Maha
Shivaratri which means "the Great Night of Shiva".
It is a major festival in
Hinduism , but one that is solemn and marks
a remembrance of "overcoming darkness and ignorance" in life and the
world. It is observed by remembering
Shiva and chanting prayers,
fasting , doing
Yoga , and meditating on ethics and virtues such as
self-restraint, honesty, noninjury to others, forgiveness, and the
Shiva . The ardent devotees keep awake all night. Others
visit one of the
Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams .
This is an ancient
Hindu festival whose origin date is unknown.
Shaivism , the festival is called HAR-RATRI or
phonetically simpler HAERATH or HERATH by
Shiva faithfuls of the
* 1 Description
* 2 History and significance
* 3 In
* 4 In
* 5 Outside South Asia
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 External links
A FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPLATION
During the Vigil Night of Shiva, Mahashivaratri,
we are brought to the moment of interval
between destruction and regeneration;
it symbolizes the night
when we must contemplate on that which
watches the growth out of the decay.
During Mahashivaratri we have to be alone
with our sword, the
Shiva in us.
We have to look behind and before,
to see what evil needs eradicating from our heart,
what growth of virtue we need to encourage.
Shiva is not only outside of us but within us.
To unite ourselves with the One Self
is to recognize the
Shiva in us. —The Theosophical Movement,
Shivaratri is an annual festival dedicated to the
Shiva, and is particularly important in the
Shaivism tradition of
Hinduism . Unlike most
Hindu festivals which are celebrated during the
day, the Maha
Shivaratri is celebrated at night. Furthermore, unlike
Hindu festivals which include expression of cultural revelry, the
Shivaratri is a solemn event notable for its introspective focus,
fasting, meditation on Shiva, self study, social harmony and an all
night vigil at
The celebration includes maintaining a "jaagaran ", an all-night
vigil and prayers, because
Hindus mark this night as
"overcoming darkness and ignorance" in one's life and the world
Shiva . Offerings of fruits, leaves, sweets and milk to Shiva
are made, some perform all-day fasting with vedic or tantrik worship
of Shiva, and some perform meditative
Yoga . In
Shiva temples, "Om
Namah Shivaya ", the sacred mantra of Shiva, is chanted through the
Shivaratri is celebrated over three or ten days based on the
Hindu luni-solar calendar. Every lunar month, there is a Shivaratri
(12 per year). The main festival is called Maha Shivaratri, or great
Shivaratri, and this is on 13th night (waning moon) and 14th day of
Phalguna (Magha). According to the
Gregorian calendar , the
day falls in either February or March.
HISTORY AND SIGNIFICANCE
Many legends explain the significance of Maha Shivaratri, one
being it is the night of Shiva\'s dance .
According to Jones and Ryan, the festival may have originated around
the 5th century CE.
Shivaratri is mentioned in several
Puranas , particularly
Skanda Purana ,
Linga Purana and
Padma Purana . These medieval era
Shaiva texts present different mythologies associated with this
festival, but all mention fasting and reverence for icons of Shiva
such as the
Different legends describe the significance of Maha Shivaratri.
According to one legend in the
Shaivism tradition, this is the night
Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation and
destruction. The chanting of hymns, the reading of
and the chorus of devotees joins this cosmic dance and remembers
Shiva's presence everywhere. According to another legend, this is the
Parvati got married. A different legend states
that the offering to
Shiva icons such as the linga is an annual
occasion to get over past sins if any, to restart on a virtuous path
and thereby reach Mount Kailasha and liberation.
The significance of dance tradition to this festival has historical
roots. The Maha
Shivaratri has served as a historic confluence of
artists for annual dance festivals at major
Hindu temples such as at
Konark , Khajuraho , Pattadakal, Modhera and Chidambaram . This event
is called Natyanjali, literally "worship through dance", at the
Chidambaram temple which is famous for its sculpture depicting all
dance mudras in the ancient
Hindu text of performance arts called
Natya Shastra . Similarly, at Khajuraho
Shiva temples, a major fair
and dance festival on Maha Shivaratri, involving
camped over miles around the temple complex, was documented by
Alexander Cunningham in 1864.
Mandi Shivaratri Fair Mahasivaratri is
observed at night, usually in lighted temples or specially prepared
Shiva temples of India, such as in Varanasi and
Somnatha, are particularly frequented on Maha Shivaratri. They serve
also as sites for fairs and special events.
Yoga Center near
Tamil Nadu is frequented
during the festival. Around 600,000 to 800,000 devotees participate in
the all-night festival conducted by Sadhguru , and visit the 112-foot
Shiva statue at the center.
The Mandi fair is in the town of Mandi is particularly famous as a
venue for Maha
Shivaratri celebrations. It transforms the town as
devotees pour in. It is believed that all gods and goddesses of the
area, said to number more than 200, assemble here on the day of Maha
Shivaratri. Mandi, located on the banks of Beas , is popularly known
as the "Cathedral of Temples" and one of the oldest towns of Himachal
Pradesh, with about 81 temples of different Gods and Goddesses on its
Shivaratri is the most important festival in Kashmir
found in north Himalayan region of the Indian subcontinent. It is
celebrated as the anniversary of the marriage of
India has a large number of
Shiva followers. The
Mahakaleshwar Temple ,
Ujjain is one of the most venerated shrines
Shiva where a large congregation of devotees gathers to
offer prayers on the day of Maha Shivaratri. Tilwara Ghat in the city
Jabalpur and the Math Temple in the village of
two other places where the festival is celebrated with much religious
Shivaratri is celebrated widely in the temples all over
Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala,
Tamil Nadu and
Shivaratri is National Holiday in country and celebrated widely
in the temples all over
Nepal but especially in the Pashupatinath
temple . Thousands of devotees visit the famous
nearby as well. The Nepalese army parades around the city of Kathmandu
to pay tribute to Lord Shiva, and holy rituals are performed all over
the nation. Artists from various classical music and dance forms
perform through the night. On Maha Shivaratri, married women pray for
the well being of their husbands, unmarried women pray for a husband
like Shiva, considered as the ideal husband.
Shiva is also worshipped
as the Adi
Guru (first teacher) from whom the yogic tradition
OUTSIDE SOUTH ASIA
Shivaratri is the main
Hindu festival among the
India . In
Hindus spend the auspicious night in over four hundred
temples across the country, offering special jhalls (an offering of
milk and curd, flowers, sugarcane and sweets) to Lord Shiva. In
Hindus go on pilgrimage to
Ganga Talao , a crater-lake.
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* ^ "Trinidad