How did the Ritual of Mahashivratri Emerge?

The Hindu festival of Mahashivratri is not just another festival for the devotees of Lord Shiva. Rather it is an opportunity for many to seek salvation from the hermetic Lord. As the Maha shivratri 2019 date and day is scheduled to be on 4th March, you must be willing to know the history behind this ritual.

Different Narratives behind the Maha Shivratri

Many legends have tried explaining the significance of the Mahashivratri in their own way. All of these narratives attempt at understanding the origin of this occasion which usually takes place on the 14th night during the dark fortnight of the Phalgun. We will take you through these compelling stories that are said to be responsible behind the emergence of maha shivratri puja.

14th Night as the Favorite Day: One of the most popular narratives as put forward by one of the legends considers that Lord Shiva declared the 14th night during the dark fortnight of Phalgun as his favorite day. And, that is the story behind Mahashivratri being celebrated on the 14th night. It is also believed that Shiva himself laid down the steps on which he performed for his wife Parvati. As Parvati went on to tell this saga to her acquaintances, this story was spread among the people. This is one of the stories that people believe while celebrating shivratri with complete sanctity.

The Mythical Story of Purana: According to the mythological stories presented in the Puranas, puja on mahashivratri is performed to express gratitude to the Lord Shiva. As every deity and daitya participated in Samudra Manthan to obtain nectar for becoming immortal, poison came out from the ocean. Everyone realized that this poison poses enormous threat to the entire world and can actually destroy it as well. When none was ready to even touch the poison, Lord Shiva was asked to save the world from the wrath of the poison. Lord Shiva saved the entire world from being destroyed by drinking the poison. He kept the poison in his throat which immediately turned blue. This is the reason Lord Shiva is also recognized as NeelKanth. As mahashivratri 2019 approaches, we must know how Lord Shiva saved the entire humankind from being devastated by the poison.

The Argument between Brahma and Vishnu: Another story that traces the origin of the Shivratri believes it to be the celebration of Lord Shiva declaring himself as the supreme. All of it started when Brahma began arguing with Vishnu regarding their power and supremeness. Lord Shiva became angry after getting to know about this fight and emerged as a column of fire in front of them. This was the first time when Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Lingam. While both Vishnu and Brahma were astonished to see this gigantic lingam in flame, they tried to find the end of it but failed. Lord Shiva is said to emerge out of this flame and declared himself as the most supreme. This is another popular story that devotees often remember while celebrating shivaratri.

The Story of Pralaya: This is one of the most significant tales that are believed to be the reason behind the shivratri celebration. According to this story, Parvati prayed to Lord Shiva to save the world which was about to suffer from destruction. Parvati prayed for the living souls which otherwise would have been extinguished.

Story of the Hunter: Devotees believe that performing shivratri puja can shower one with prosperity and salvation. The story that promotes this thought is the story of a hunter who took resort on the branches of a Bilva tree after being chased by a lion. As the lion waited beneath the tree for the entire night, the hunter could not sleep out of fear. Instead he kept plucking and dropping the Bilva leaves in order to stay awake. The hunter was not aware of the fact that there was a Shiva Lingam located under the tree.It is said that Lord Shiva was pleased by the hunter’s offering of Bilva tree and saved him from the lion. This story focuses on the use of Bilva leaves during the Shivratri puja.

What to Offer Lord Shiva on This Shivratri?

If you are wondering how to do shiva puja on maha shivaratri, please be informed that there are six elements that are absolutely necessary in order for you to be able to worship the Lord Shiva. According to the Shiva Purana, these elements are Bilva leaves, food ingredients, vermilion paste, Dhoop, Betel leaves and diya. Fasting at the night of Shivaratri can bring you luck and prosperity in your life. The Bilva leaves are used for purifying the soul whereas offering food items ensure that you have a long life. On the other hand, the dhoop can help you to gain wealth and with the diya comes knowledge.

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