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Monday, February 16, 2009

Shivaratri - coming up February 23rd 2009

In India, it is celebrated Feb 23rd which is Monday.
But most Hindu temples in the US celebrate it on the 22nd.
Wonder why?
We celebrate on the 14th day prior to the new month.

In India, the celebration ends the early morning of February 24th

Following the method prescribed in Shiva Purana, priests perform ritual puja of Shiva Linga every three hours all through the day and night of Shivaratri Festival. During this pooja, chants of Om Namah Shivaya and sounds of bells reverberate in the temple. Following the bath with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water that helps in the purification of the soul a vermilion paste is applied on the Linga as it represents virtue. These six items form an indispensable part of Shivaratri, be it a simple ceremony at home or grand temple worship

Shiva Purana further says that performing abhisheka of Shiva Linga with six different dravyas including milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water while chanting Sri Rudram, Chamakam and Dasa Shanthi pleases Lord Shiva the most.
According to the mythology, each of these dravya used in the abhisheka blesses a unique quality:

* Milk is for the blessing of purity and piousness.
* Yogurt is for prosperity and progeny.
* Honey is for sweet speech.
* Ghee is for victory.
* Sugar is for happiness.
* Water is for purity.

The first Puja at Shiva Temples is usually held early in the morning at around 4 am, when the lord is worshipped with milk and flowers. The second puja is held in the afternoon, which is the biggest one also called as the Maha Aarti. The last puja is held in the evening but devotees continue to flock the temple well after midnight onto the next day as well. Devotees apply three stripes of sacred ash also called Tripundra that symbolise spiritual knowledge, purity and penance or the three eyes of Lord Shiva. Others wear the seeds of the Rudraksh tree while worshipping the lord. On Mahashivaratri, cold water and bael leaves are offered to the Lingam.
Devotees of Lord Shiva throng Shiva temples across the country and spend 'the Night of Lord Shiva' by chanting verses and hymns in praise of the Lord.

After this, Bilwa leaves, which have to be a stalk with three leaves, is kept on top of the Shivalinga to cool the hot-tempered deity. Ber or jujube fruit is also offered to Lord Shiva, as it is symbolic of longevity and gratification of desires. Some devotees also offer the auspicious betel leaves to Lord Shiva marking satisfaction with worldly pleasures. Garlanding of Linga with flowers and garlands is also a part of the ritual Shivaratri Puja. Devotees also burn incense sticks as is said to yield wealth. Many also light lamps to symbolize attainment of knowledge. It is said that by offering water, hugging the Linga, lighting the diya and incense and ringing the temple bells, devotees call into focus all their senses, making them acutely aware of themselves and the universe to which they belong.

This ritual worship of Lord Shiva continues through the day and night of Shivaratri. Devotees stay awake and spent the night in Shiva temples by chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and singing hymns and verses in praise of Lord Shankar. Devotees observing vrat on Shivaratri break it only the next morning by partaking prasad offered to Lord Shiva

1 comment:

  1. Hare Krishna - Bring the divine song of Bhagavad Gita in your life. Anandmurti Gurumaa has simplified the Bhagavad Gita for all of us in 7 special camps known as 'Gita Gyana Yagya'. You can watch the webcast of the series of Gita Gyana Yagya episodes at www.gurumaa.com
    Hare Krishna


Welcome to the spirituality blog

This blog is an offshoot of a website that I had conceived as a result of the spiritual grace and resultant inspiration during Shivaratri Y2K (http://www.jyotirlinga.com) on the joy of Shiva Bhakti and my quest for spiritual progress. Not finding the time (yep, bad excuse!), this blog suits me fine in quickly adding content... my spiritual forays and thoughts - helps log them too. My spiritual journey started with Hinduism and it's simple stories/ teachings as far back as when I was a 2nd grader, with Lord Shiva and has now found convergence with Advaitism / Duality. The Advaitism gurus like Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadatta Maharaj; they have provided that spiritual boost of energy in many lagging moments and have tremendously influenced me ... little baby steps at a time... that will hopefully all lead upto a final crescendo. The merits of satsangh are many!

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