Maha Shivratri story – 3 Stories behind Celebration of Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri Story
Maha Shivratri Story

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Maha Shivratri literally translates to mean “great night of Shiva”. It is a Hindu festival which is celebrated largely across India and Nepal as well. The festival is celebrated usually on a full moon day according to Hindu Calendar. It is not only celebrated in India but many foreign countries to celebrate this auspicious occasion with great devotion. 

Maha Shivratri story: 3 Things You must Know About Shivratri

The Shivratri celebration is done by singing hymns and praises in the name of Lord Shiva People wish each other ‘Happy Shivratri on this auspicious day and it a day when younger members take blessings from their elders too.

The Hindu Temples across the country is lighted up with lights and colourful decorations. The people are seen standing in long queues outside the Lord Shiva’s temple to offer their prayers with wood apple leaves, cold water and milk. They offer these to the Shiva Lingam as they believe that these were Lord Shiva’s favourite. 

Shivratri celebration

Did you know that fasting is an integral part of Shivratri? It is on this day that people fast all night long and offer their prayers all night long to Lord Shiva to bring them good luck.

The devotees stay up all night to give company to Lord Shiva who was not supposed to sleep after drinking the poison of the Samudra Manthan. The ideal and most auspicious time is the Nishita Kala or the time when Shiva manifested as the Shiv Langam on earth. 

The most popular and grand celebration of Maha Shivratri is done in Ujjain. Various stories behind Maha Shivratri says that Ujjain was the place of residence for Shiva and hence the largest celebrations on the auspicious occasion of Shivratri takes place here.

Maha Shivratri in ujjain
Maha Shivratri in ujjain

Large processions of people are also carried out throughout Ujjain, with people thronging on the streets to catch one glimpse of the great idol of Shiv Langam. The devotees keep chanting the Shiv Mantra ‘Om Namah Shivay’ all through the night. It is very auspicious to keep chanting it continuously at least 108 times.  

A number of myths and tales are weaved around Lord Shiva and celebrations of the auspicious day of Mahashivratri. The Mahashivratri story states that this auspicious day is when all people get together to worship Lord Shiva, who is the ultimate destroyer of all evils. 

The people perform Tandav dance, the most aggressive Indian form of dance on the night of Mahashivratri. This dance represents the creation and destruction of the universe.  

There are many myths, stories and legends but these three Mahashivratri story are considered the most popular and believed by the majority population and followers of Lord Shiva. 

Maha Shivratri story: The marriage union of Lord Shiva and his wife Goddess Parvati

Lord Shiva’s first wife was Sati who immolated herself in front of her father. After this episode, Lord Shiva went back to live in Mount Kailas to live a life of a hermit.

Lord shiva and parvati marriage

Sati was reborn as Parvati and she went into penance to win over Lord Shiva’s attention and care. On noticing the immense devotion Sati (parwati) had, Lord Shiva accepted her as his wife.

The duo’s marital union took place on the 14th fortnight of the month of Phalgiuna. Hence according to this myth or Mahashivrartri story, the auspicious occasion is celebrated on a fortnight or full moon.

It usually falls on the 14th day of the Hindu Phalgun month. It is the favourite night of Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva is indeed an ideal husband and hence all unmarried girls pray for marital happiness.

They also offer Woodaplle leaves and cold water with milk to the Shiv Langam for 16 Mondays to get a good husband. In fact, the night of Shivratri is a special night for unmarried women who desire an ideal husband. 

Maha Shivratri story: The churning of the ocean

The Asuras (Devas and Dityas) used to work together to churn the ocean in order to obtain divine nectar called Amrita which gave them immortality. One day while churning the ocean with Mount Mandara as the rod and Vasuki the King of Serpents as a rope, a number of beneficial things emerged pout of the ocean. 

But along with it emerged on the surface the Halahala or the poison bottle. The poison was so toxic in nature that it could destroy the entire world. The Devas prayed hard top Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva emerged on the ocean and drank the poison to save the world.

Lord Shiva drinking Halahala or poision
Lord Shiva drinking Halahala or poision

Parvati was afraid that something would happen to Lord Shiva and held his neck with her hands to prevent the venom of the poison from going down his threat. Though the poison did not harm Lord Shiva, it turned his neck blue. This Mahashivratri story gives the reason why Lord Shiva is sometimes known as Neelkantha.  

Maha Shivratri story: The story of the Shiva Linga came into being

Once upon a time, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma had an argument overs the supremacy. In order to make Brahma and Vishnu realise that there exists a supreme power which governs them Shiva appeared as a fiery gleam shaped like a Lingam and challenged Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva to trace the beginning and the end of the beaming light.

Vishnu turned himself into a boar and headed towards underground while Brahmas took the form of a swarm and swan and flew around. The search for Brahma and Vishnu was so tiring that Braham’s persuaded to a Ketaki flower to witness to his achievement of successfully tracing the origin of the beam and convey the same to Lord Vishnu. 

Shiv lingam

This is the point when Lord Shiva from the beam. He told Lord Brahma that there would be few temples that would worship him. Similarly he told ketaki flower that no one would use that particular flower for the pujas. 

Intriguing stories aren’t they? It is indeed believed that devotees who pray to Lord Shiva with utmost devotion are the ones who achieve salvation. In fact the Maha Shivratri night is considered the darkest night of the entire year. It marks the union of two powerful soul’s and power of Shiva and Shakti.