Shivaratri is celebrated as birth-night of Lord Shiva.
Sahivaratri is the night of Falgun Krishna Chaturdasi under Hindu Lunar Calendar. This year Shivaratri is on Feb 27, 2014 that is on Falgun 15, 2070 in Bikram Sambat Calendar.
The Lingodbhav Moorti of lord Shiva was self immerged at midnight of Shivaratri. So, this night is celebrated as the Birth-night of lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is called Bholenath too.
There are many stories behind the celebration of Shivaratri.
During Samundra Manthan, the poison Halahal came out of the ocean. It started creating destruction all over. To protect the universe from the devastation Lord Shiva drank the poison and managed to keep it in his throat. His throat turned blue. Since then he is known as Nilkantha. Nila Kantha in Sanskrit is one with blue throat.
Shiva protected the world from the dangerous poison; therefore, people started celebrating the day as Shivaratri and thanking Shiva for shaving the world.
It is believed Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati on this day. Some places, Shivaratri is observed as marriage anniversary of Shiva-Parvati too.
Who is Lord Shiva
Shiva means auspicious one. He is one among Trimurti Gods: Brahma, Bishnu and Maheswor. Shiva is Maheshwor. Lord Shiva is regarded as creator, preserver, destroyer, concealer,
He lives in Himalaya at the Northern side of Nepal at mount Kailash and lives as a saint (sadhu) with snake around his neck, wear deer skin and sits on tiger’s skin. Damaru is his musical instrument and Trisul is his weapon.
Shiva wears rudraksha on his neck and his hair is home of the holly Ganga. Nandi (ox) is his vehicle. He is a great mediator and he notices everything that happens in the world. He is very kind to his devotees. Just chanting of “Om Namaha Sibhaya” relives anyone from sufferings.
Shiva’s first wife was Satidevi and he married Parvati as his second wife. Ganesh and Kumar are his sons.
There are basically three things happened same day, on Falgun Sukla Chaturdashi
1. The Lingodbhav Moorti self immerged at midnight of this day.
2. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married.
3. Lord Shiva took the Poison Halahal and became Nilkantha shaving the world from devastation.
How is Maha Shivaratri celebrated
According to the Shiva Puran, six items are regarded precious to worship and offer Lord Shiva in Maha Shivaratri.
The six Items are Beal fruit, Vermilion Paste (Chandan), Food Items (Prasad), Incense, Lamp (Diyo), Betel Leaves.
1) Beal Leaf (Marmelos leaf) – offering of Beal Leaf represents purification of the soul.
2) Vermilion paste (Chandan) – Applying chandan on Shiva Linga after washing the Linga represents good feature. Chandan is inseparable part of Worshipping Lord Shiva.
3) Food items – Food items such as rice and fruits are offered to the Lord to ensure a long life and fulfillment of desires.
4) Incense (Dhoop batti) – Incense sticks are lit before Lord Shiva to be blessed with wealth and prosperity.
5) Lamp (Diyo) – The lighting of Cotton handmade batti , lamp or diyo is believed to be helpful to gain knowledge.
6) Betel leaves (Paan ko patta) – Beatle leaves or Pan ko pat represents satisfaction with maturity.
Shiva Puran states, the beat of Damaru revealed the first seven letters of music. Those notes are source of language too. Shiva is inventor of notes of music Sa, Re, Ga, Ma Pa, Dha, Ni. He is worshiped as inventor of language on his birthday too.
The Shiva linga is washed with Pancha kavya (mixture of five products of cow) and Panchamatrit (mixture of five sweet things). Pancha kavya includes cow dung, cow urine, milk, Curd and Ghee. Panchamrit includes Cow milk, Yogurt, Honey, Sugar and Ghee.
In front of the Shiva Linga Kalash (Medium size vessel with small neck) filled with mixed water and milk is set. The neck of the Kalash is tied with white and red piece of cloth. Flower, mango leaves, peeple leaves, beal leaves are kept inside the kalash. Mantras are chanted to worship Lord Shiva.
Shiva devotees observe whole day and night fasting. Shiva Linga pooja is done in the night by chanting mantras, offering Beal leaf and pouring water on the linga. Fireplace is set in avenues and in temples at night to make Lord Shiva warm. Children go in search of wood singing “Shivaji lai jado bhayo aago deu”. (Shivaji is feeling cold, give some fire). In villages and towns big logs are burnt in places and people sing Shiva bhajans the whole night.
Pashupatinath is the biggest temple of lord shiva In Nepal. In Shivaratri Pashupatinatha temple has a big possession. Hindu devotees from all over Nepal and India visit Pashupatinath. Large number of Shadus come to Pashupatinath. Different types of Shadus can be seen around Pashapupati and its surroundings.
The shadus are covered with bhibhuti (Ashes). The Shadhus are said to have mastered the pain of heat, cold and sufferings and have devoted their life to Lord Shiva. They stand naked blessing the devotees. They smoke weeds as a divine gift of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is the one who enjoys taking bhis(Poison), bhang, Dhatooro (jimson Weeds).
There is always a big fair and market set around Pashupati temple area in Shiva Ratri. Large number of people are seen visiting the temple. People are seen buying things. Announcements, music, dances, sadhus, markets, and large number of tourist make Shivaratri more fun. Women and kids are seen putting mehendi on their hands Mehandi (Heena) by the local artists sitting on the pavements. Snake dance, circus and other fun activities can also be seen in the surrounding areas of Pashupati temple.
People stand in line from early morning to get darshan of Shiva Linga at Pashupatinath. The line become kilometers long, and devotees stand their to perform pooja of Shiva for hours without food or some even without water.
Meaning of Om Namaha Shivaya
ॐ नम: शिवाय
We worship Lord Shiva with the maha mantra “Om Namaha Shivaya”. The Mahamantra “Om Namaha Shivaya” also known as shadakshari mantra (सदाक्षरी मन्त्र). Each letter in this mantra has spiritual meaning. This mantra is also known as maha mantra.
“Om” alone is the sound of life. It is the endless vibration that flows through the universe and provides life in every living being. Chanting “Om” revitalizes the mind and body and settles the mind. Om is the beginning and it is the end. In Sanskrit, the meaning of Om is avati, or rakuati. Rakuati means one who protects or sustains. Om is the most powerful mantra.
(Om as made up of three parts. These are “a”, “o”, and “m’. Our sound starts with “a”, when we speak go to “O” and end with M, so Om is the totality. It is a mantra which provides complete rest to our body and energy to our mind. )
Meaning of each letters of the mantra
n (न) : Main god of all the regions (loks)
m (म) : One who gifts supreme and spiritual knowledge (dnyan) and destroys greatest sins
Shi (शि) : generous, calm and responsible for the beginning by Lord Shiva
va (वा) : Symbol of vehicle (Nandi) the bull and the Vasuki and Vamangi Energies (Shakti)
y (य) : Positive residence of highest heaven and Lord Shiva.
Names of Lord Shiva
Lord Shiva has 108 names.
The 108 names are of Lord Shiva are follow.
OM SHIVAYA NAMAHA (the Auspicious One)
OM MAHESHVARAYA NAMAHA (the Great God Shiva)
OM SHAMBHAVE NAMAHA (the God who exists for our happiness alone)
OM PINAKINE NAMAHA (Shiva, who guards the path of dharma)
OM SHASHISHEKHARAYA NAMAHA (God who wears the crescent moon in his hair)
OM VAMADEVAYA NAMAHA (God who is pleasing and auspicious in every way)
OM VIRUPAKSHAYA NAMAHA (the God of spotless form)
OM KAPARDINE NAMAHA (Lord with thickly matted hair)
OM NILALOHITAYA NAMAHA (God splendid as the red sun at daybreak)
OM SHANKARAYA NAMAHA (the source of all prosperity)
OM SHULAPANAYE NAMAHA (God who carries a spear)
OM KHATVANGINE NAMAHA (God who carries a knurled club)
OM VISHNUVALLABHAYA NAMAHA (Shiva, who is dear to Lord Vishnu)
OM SHIPIVISHTAYA NAMAHA (Lord whose form emits great rays of light)
OM AMBIKANATHAYA NAMAHA (Ambika’s Lord)
OM SHRIKANTAYA NAMAHA (whose throat is shining blue)
OM BHAKTAVATSALAYA NAMAHA (Lord who loves His devotees like new born calves)
OM BHAVAYA NAMAHA (the God who is existence itself)
OM SARVAYA NAMAHA (Shiva who is all)
OM TRILOKESHAYA NAMAHA (Shiva who is the Lord of all the three worlds)
OM SHITAKANTHAYA NAMAHA (primal soul whose throat is deep blue)
OM SHIVAPRIYAYA NAMAHA (god who is dear to Shakti)
OM UGRAYA NAMAHA (Shiva whose presence is awesome and overwhelming)
OM KAPALINE NAMAHA (God whose begging bowl is a human skull)
OM KAMARAYE NAMAHA (Shiva who conquers all passions)
OM ANDHAKASURA SUDANAYA NAMAHA (Lord who killed the asura Andhaka)
OM GANGADHARAYA NAMAHA (God who holds the Ganges River in his hair)
OM LALATAKSHAYA NAMAHA (the Lord whose sport is creation)
OM KALAKALAYA NAMAHA (Shiva who is the death of death)
OM KRIPANIDHAYE NAMAHA (God who is the treasure of compassion)
OM BHIMAYA NAMAHA (Shiva whose strength is awesome)
OM PARASHU HASTAYA NAMAHA (God who wields an axe in his hands)
OM MRIGAPANAYAE NAMAHA (Lord who looks after soul in wilds)
OM JATADHARAYA NAMAHA (Shiva who has matted hair)
OM KAILASAVASINE NAMAHA (God whose house is in Mount Kailas)
OM KAVACHINE NAMAHA (Lord who is wrapped in armor)
OM KATHORAYA NAMAHA (Shiva who causes all growth)
OM TRIPURANTAKAYA NAMAHA (Lord who destroyed the three demonic cities)
OM VRISHANKAYA NAMAHA (God whose emblem is a bull (Nandi))
OM VRISHABHARUDHAYA NAMAHA (Shiva who rides a bull)
OM BHASMODDHULITA VIGRAHAYA NAMAHA (Lord covered with holy ash)
OM SAMAPRIYAYA NAMAHA (God exceedingly fond of hymns from the Sama Veda)
OM SVARAMAYAYA NAMAHA (Shiva who creates through sound)
OM TRAYIMURTAYE NAMAHA (Lord who is worshiped in three forms)
OM ANISHVARAYA NAMAHA (undisputed Lord)
OM SARVAGYAYA NAMAHA (God who knows all things)
OM PARAMATMANE NAMAHA (the Supreme Self)
OM SOMASURAGNI LOCHANAYA NAMAHA (the light of the eyes of Soma, Surya and Agni)
OM HAVISHE NAMAHA (Shiva who receives oblations of ghee)
OM YAGYAMAYAYA NAMAHA (the architect of all sacrificial rites)
OM SOMAYA NAMAHA (the Moon-glow of the mystic’s vision)
OM PANCHAVAKTRAYA NAMAHA (the God of the five activities)
OM SADASHIVAYA NAMAHA (the eternally auspicious benevolent Shiva)
OM VISHVESHVARAYA NAMAHA (all-pervading ruler of the cosmos)
OM VIRABHADRAYA NAMAHA (Shiva the foremost of heroes)
OM GANANATHAYA NAMAHA (God of the Ganas)
OM PRAJAPATAYE NAMAHA (the Creator)
OM HIRANYARETASE NAMAHA (God who emanates golden souls)
OM DURDHARSHAYA NAMAHA (the unconquerable being)
OM GIRISHAYA NAMAHA (the monarch of the holy mountain Kailas)
OM GIRISHAYA NAMAHA ( Lord of the Himalayas)
OM ANAGHAYA NAMAHA (Shiva who can inspire no fear)
OM BUJANGABHUSHANAYA NAMAHA (Lord adorned with golden snakes)
OM BHARGAYA NAMAHA (the foremost of rishis)
OM GIRIDHANVANE NAMAHA (God whose weapon is a mountain)
OM GIRIPRIYAYA NAMAHA (Lord who is fond of mountains)
OM KRITTIVASASE NAMAHA (God who wears clothes of hide)
OM PURARATAYE NAMAHA (Lord who is thoroughly at home in the wilderness)
OM BHAGAVATE NAMAHA (the Lord of prosperity)
OM PRAMATHADHIPAYA NAMAHA (God who is served by goblins)
OM MRITUNJAYAYA NAMAHA (conqueror of death)
OM SUKSHMATANAVE NAMAHA (the subtlest of the subtle)
OM JAGADVYAPINE NAMAHA (Shiva who fills the whole world)
OM JAGADGURAVE NAMAHA (the guru of all the worlds)
OM VYOMAKESHAYA NAMAHA (God whose hair is the spreading sky above)
OM MAHASENAJANAKAYA NAMAHA ( the origin of Mahasena)
OM CHARUVIKRAMAYA NAMAHA (Shiva, the guardian of wandering pilgrims)
OM RUDRAYA NAMAHA (Lord who is fit to be praised)
OM BHUTAPATAYE NAMAHA (the source of living creatures, including the Bhutas, or ghostly creatures)
OM STHANAVE NAMAHA (firm and immovable deity)
OM AHIRBUDHNYAYA NAMAHA (Lord who waits for the sleeping kundalini)
OM DIGAMBARAYA NAMAHA (Shiva whose robes is the cosmos)
OM ASHTAMURTAYE NAMAHA (Lord who has eight forms)
OM ANEKATMANE NAMAHA (God who is the one soul)
OM SATVIKAYA NAMAHA (Lord of boundless energy)
OM SHUDDHA VIGRAHAYA NAMAHA (who is free of all doubt and dissension0
OM SHASHVATAYA NAMAHA (endless and eternal)
OM KHANDAPARASHAVE NAMAHA (God who cuts through the mind’s despair)
OM AJAYA NAMAHA (the instigator of all that occurs)
OM PAPAVIMOCHAKAYA NAMAHA (the Lord who releases all fetters)
OM MRIDAYA NAMAHA (Lord who shows only mercy)
OM PASHUPATAYE NAMAHA (ruler of all evolving souls, the animals)
OM DEVAYA NAMAHA (foremost of devas, demigods)
OM MAHADEVAYA NAMAHA (greatest of the gods)
OM AVYAYAYA NAMAHA (one never subject to change)
OM HARAYE NAMAHA (Shiva who dissolves all bondage)
OM PASHUDANTABHIDE NAMAHA (one who punished Pushan)
OM AVYAGRAYA NAMAHA (Lord who is steady and unwavering)
OM DAKSHADHVARAHARAYA NAMAHA (destroyer of Daksha’s conceited sacrifice)
OM HARAYA NAMAHA (Lord who withdraws the cosmos)
OM BHAGANETRABHIDE NAMAHA (Shiva who taught Bhaga to see more clearly)
OM AVYAKTAYA NAMAHA (Shiva who is subtle and unseen)
OM SAHASRAKSHAYA NAMAHA (Lord of limitless forms)
OM SAHASRAPADE NAMAHA (God who is standing and walking everywhere)
OM APAVARGAPRADAYA NAMAHA (Lord who gives and takes all things)
OM ANANTAYA NAMAHA (God who is unending)
OM TARAKAYA NAMAHA (great liberator of mankind)
OM PARAMESHVARAYA NAMAHA (the great God)