Mahashivratri – Lord Shiva Festival
This year ‘Maha Shivratra’ falls on 18th February 2023 according to the Hindu calendar. This festival which is in veneration of Lord Shiva, marks the celebration of the day when Lord Shiva married Mata Parvati.
Dos and don’ts to Celebrate Mahashivratri
First and foremost, be an early riser on Mahashivratri. After having a bath, wear new clothes. The day calls for fasting in some traditions. Therefore, you must observe a full day fast for the love of your lord. Go to the Shiva temple early in the morning.
Start the Shiva Linga Abhishek with water, milk or yoghurt. You may add rose water, sugar, sandal wood paste, ghee and honey. All these items are essential for the Shiva Abhishek on Maha Shivaratri.
Lord Shiva loves baelpatra and dhatura. Therefore after you are done with the Shiva Linga Abhishek your next step should be to offer some baelpatras (betel leaves), sandal wood paste, dhatura, and bhasm (vibhuti) to the Linga.
After the above offerings, light a lamp before the lord and also use an incense stick (or dhup). Pleasing Lord Shiva of all the other Gods is the easiest therefore so if your heart is clean and your intentions are genuine, He will listen very quickly. Just chant the magical mantra ‘Om Namah Shivai’ while doing the above.
You can also read the ‘Shiva Chalisa’ and Shiva’s 108 names, and follow it with Shiva Aarti. Keep Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati’s idol in front of you while you chant their mantras for blessings.
MANTRAS OF LORD SHIVA:
Beej Mantra for Lord Shiva
ॐ नमः शिवाय
ॐ वन्दे देव उमापतिं सुरगुरुं, वन्दे जगत्कारणम् l
वन्दे पन्नगभूषणं मृगधरं, वन्दे पशूनां पतिम् ll
वन्दे सूर्य शशांक वह्नि नयनं, वन्दे मुकुन्दप्रियम् l
वन्दे भक्त जनाश्रयं च वरदं, वन्दे शिवंशंकरम् ll
The Maha-mrityunjaya mantra
ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् ।
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मा ∫ मृतात् ।।
Dwadasa Jyotirlinga stotra
द्वादश ज्योतिर्लिंग स्तोत्र
सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च, श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम् ।
उज्जयिन्यां महाकालं ॐ कारममलेश्वरम् ॥
परल्यां वैधनाथ च, डाकिन्यां भीमशंकरम् ।
सेतुबन्धे तु रामेशं, नागेशं दारुकावने ॥
वाराणस्यां तु विश्वेशं, त्र्यंबकं गौतमीतटे ।
हिमालये तु केदारं, धुश्मेशं च शिवालये ॥
ऐतानि ज्योतिर्लिंगानि, सायंप्रात: पठेन्नर ।
सप्तजन्मकृतं पापं स्मरणेन विनश्यति ॥
Things to avoid on Mahashivratri
While Mahashivratri is a day of great significance and reverence for Hindus, there are certain things that one should avoid to ensure that the day is celebrated in a respectful and meaningful manner. Here are some things to avoid on Mahashivratri:
Non-vegetarian food: It is considered inauspicious to consume non-vegetarian food on Mahashivratri. This is because Lord Shiva is believed to be a strict vegetarian, and consuming meat on this day is seen as disrespectful.
Alcohol and drugs: It is important to avoid alcohol and drugs on Mahashivratri, as it is a day of spiritual significance and the focus should be on prayer and meditation. Consuming these substances can interfere with one’s ability to connect with the divine and may lead to undesirable behavior.
Non-stop revelry: While it is common to stay awake all night on Mahashivratri and participate in prayers and rituals, it is important to avoid excessive revelry and noisy celebrations. The day is meant for introspection and connecting with the divine, and rowdy behavior and loud music can disrupt this atmosphere.
Negative thoughts and actions: Mahashivratri is a day of spiritual significance, and it is important to avoid negative thoughts and actions. This includes gossiping, criticizing others, and engaging in any form of conflict or argument.
Overeating: While it is customary to fast or eat simple vegetarian food on Mahashivratri, it is important to avoid overeating. Overindulging in food can lead to a feeling of lethargy and may interfere with one’s ability to focus on prayer and meditation.
In conclusion, Mahashivratri is a day of great significance for Hindus and should be celebrated with reverence and respect. By avoiding non-vegetarian food, alcohol and drugs, excessive revelry, negative thoughts and actions, and overeating, one can ensure that the day is celebrated in a meaningful and spiritual manner.
Mahashivratri is an important Hindu festival that celebrates the glory of Lord Shiva. Celebrating Mahashivratri with devotion and faith can help you connect with the divine and seek the Divine blessings for a happy and prosperous life.