Festival of Lord Shiva, devotees, and Sadhus in huge numbers gathering at the iconic Pashupatinath temple to pay homage to Lord Shiva, a mesmerizing experience to behold.
Maha Shivaratriis one of the major festivals of Hindus in Nepal and all around the world, which literally means “The Night of Lord Shiva.” It is believed that on this day, the stars in the Northern Hemisphere are at the most optimum positions to help raise a person’s spiritual energy. It is celebrated on the 14th day of the dark fortnight of the Māgha month, as per the Hindu lunar calendar. Devotees chant “Om Namah Shivay”and “Mahamritunjaya” all night praying for light over darkness.
Unlike other nights, this particular night is the night of consecration, of dedication, of illumination. The mind is intimately associated with the moon. Chandra, the deity of the moon, is the presiding deity of the mind. He loses one-sixteenth of his brilliance every day after the full moon day and continues waning until, on this night, he is left with just one-sixteenth of his power. The waned moon may be taken to stand for the mind with all its wild fancies and waywardness reduced after it has been conquered by spiritual discipline.
The night-long devotional singing is significant of the lifelong consciousness of the Divine Presence that everyone should cultivate. Festival ofLord Shiva, devotees, and Sadhus (people who has dedicated their entire life in theBhakti of Mahadev) in huge number gather at the iconic Pashupatinath temple to pay homage to Lord Shiva. The temple is decorated with lamps and lights, evening Aarti ceremony is mesmerizing to watch, and highly recommended.
Ages ago, a Bheel (forest inhabitant) named Gurudruha was travelling through a forest looking for deer. After a whole day of searching, he climbed up a bili tree on the banks of a lake. Later that night, a doe came to drink water. Immediately, Gurudruha aimed his bow and arrow at the deer. He unknowingly dropped some bili leaves and water below on a Shivaling. The deer begged Gurudruha to hold off on killing her because she wanted to ensure her fawns were safe by bringing them to her husband. Even though he was hesitant, Gurudruha agreed. While waiting for her to return, he stayed awake aimlessly plucking the leaves and dropping them below nonchalantly. The leaves landed on the Shivaling below, and Gurudruha had unknowingly performed Shivaji’s puja all night.
Eventually, the doe returned with her family. She told Gurudruha that if he killed her, he would have to kill her family as well. He aimed the bow and arrow at the deer and more leaves fell down on the Shivaling. The punya accumulated from unknowingly performing Shiva’spuja washed away all his sins. Gurudruha’s heart became pure as he repented for his sins and set the deer free. Shiva manifested in front of him and granted him a boon, “You will be born as a man named Gruha in a town called Shrungver. Bhagwan Vishnu will grace your home as Shri Rama and redeem you.” Shiva also blessed the deer.
According to another most popular legend, Shivaratri marks the wedding day ofLord Shiva and Parvati. Some believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction. Another popular Shivratri legend stated in Linga Purana states that it was on Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga.
Hence The Mahashivaratri is an extremely auspicious festival for Lord Shiva’s Devotees and Hindus all around the world.
A Glimpse of Pashupatinath during Maha Shivaratri,