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MahaShivratri 2024 : Date & Time, Importance, Significance, History, Story, Vart, How To worship, Benefits etc. | Shiva | Indian Mythology | The Amit Gahlyan

 

MahaShivratri 2024 : Date & Time, Importance, Significance, History, Story, Vart, How To worship, Benefits etc. | Shiva | Indian Mythology | The Amit Gahlyan

Mahashivratri 2024: A Day to Celebrate the Supreme Lord Shiva

Mahashivratri, or the Great Night of Lord Shiva, is one of the most auspicious and sacred festivals for Hindus. It is celebrated on the 14th night of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalguna, which falls on March 8 in 2024. ( Fri, 8 Mar, 2024, 9:57 pm – Sat, 9 Mar, 2024, 6:17 pmOn this day, devotees of Lord Shiva observe a strict fast and worship him with utmost devotion and reverence.

Mahashivratri is not only a festival, but also a cosmic event that signifies the union of Shiva and Shakti, the two primal forces of creation and destruction. It is believed that on this night, Lord Shiva performed the Tandava, the dance of creation, preservation and destruction, and manifested himself as a column of light, known as the Linga.

The significance of Mahashivratri is immense for spiritual seekers, as it is said that on this night, the grace of Lord Shiva is easily available to anyone who seeks it. By staying awake and meditating on this night, one can attain liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

The history of Mahashivratri is shrouded in mystery and legend. There are many stories associated with this festival, such as:

- The story of how Lord Shiva saved the world from the poison that emerged from the churning of the ocean by swallowing it and holding it in his throat, which turned blue. Hence, he is also known as Neelkantha, or the blue-throated one.

- The story of how Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati on this night after a long and arduous penance by her.

- The story of how a hunter named Lubdhaka unknowingly pleased Lord Shiva by offering him bilva leaves and water while hiding from a wild animal in a tree on this night.

- The story of how King Chitrabhanu observed a fast on this day after learning about his past life as a hunter who had inadvertently worshipped Lord Shiva.

The vrat or fast observed on Mahashivratri is considered to be very powerful and beneficial for physical, mental and spiritual well-being. The fast can be either nirjala (without water) or phalahari (with fruits and milk). The fast begins on the morning of Mahashivratri and ends on the next morning after performing the puja.

The worship of Lord Shiva on Mahashivratri involves offering him bilva leaves, milk, honey, curd, ghee, sugar, flowers, fruits, incense, lamps and other items. The puja is done four times during the night, corresponding to the four phases of the moon. Each time, a different name and aspect of Lord Shiva is invoked and worshipped. The names are:

- Rudra: The fierce and destructive form of Lord Shiva.

- Maheshwara: The supreme and benevolent form of Lord Shiva.

- Aghora: The terrifying and compassionate form of Lord Shiva.

- Ishana: The transcendental and omniscient form of Lord Shiva.

The benefits of observing Mahashivratri are manifold. Some of them are:

- It purifies the mind and body from sins and impurities.

- It bestows health, wealth, happiness, peace and prosperity.

- It grants boons and fulfills desires.

- It awakens the Kundalini energy and enhances spiritual awareness.

- It removes obstacles and difficulties in life.

- It confers protection from evil forces and negative influences.

- It leads to salvation or moksha.

Mahashivratri is a day to celebrate the glory and grace of Lord Shiva, who is the source of everything in this universe. By fasting, worshipping and meditating on this day, one can experience his presence within oneself and attain his blessings. Om Namah Shivaya!

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