The Hindu festival of Mahashivratri is set to fall on the 21st of February and is a solemn occasion meant for the deity Shiva, the destroyer of worlds and the keeper of balance in the cosmos. Unlike many Hindu festivals, Maha Shivratri (literally, the Great Night of Shiva), is celebrated at nightfall and is meant to be a night of prayer, introspection, reflection, and chanting. Many legends exist about the reason for the festival’s existence, which links to Shiva’s divine dance of balance, and his marriage to goddess Parvati.
Despite its solemn and note and lack of open celebrations, Maha Shivaratri is considered to be a highly auspicious occasion, marking a date of importance of one of the most revered gods of the Hindu pantheon. This occasion marks a great time to start or continue the practice of sadhana, or spiritual exercises designed to help an individual realize the ultimate meaning of their life and reality. This night is also believed to help in replenishing the energies of an individual, which is why many prefer to engage in jaagrans so that the body remains in a vertical position to facilitate this process. Many devotees of Shiva also believe that this night is an auspicious one to make a conscious commitment to move towards truth, peace, and more mindful living. Here are some ways in which you can reap the benefits of this auspicious date –
- Participate in Communal Prayers – Praying together as a community or group can move even the heart of atheists- it is not just about religion, but also about coming together with one’s fellow human beings, all of whom share the same desires of peace, meaningfulness, and hopefulness.
- Fasting – Fasting is not just about skipping meals – it is about inculcating control and discipline, moving above physical restrictions and desires, and allowing the body to cleanse itself. Fasting on the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivratri can help you on the path of better control and bodily cleanliness.
- Meditation – You can also spend some time with yourself, and introspect on your life, its path and struggles, spiritual ponderings, and the meaning that you wish to seek in your life. You can thus take this night to not only cleanse your body but also your mind.
- Chanting Mantras – Many mantras are specifically associated with Shiva, and chanting them on the night of importance to the deity can bring in numerous benefits. In particular, the Mahamrityunjay Jaap, a verse from the Rig Veda, is believed to facilitate connection to the spiritual and divine. Chant the mantra nine times early morning on Maha Shivratri, between the period of 4-4.30 am and ensure proper pronunciation.
This Maha Shivratri is also believed to be particularly special, as it will coincide with Sash Yoga after 59 years. This auspicious occasion is produced by Saturn and is beneficial to many astrology signs. So do celebrate Maha Shivratri with these practices above to reap the best of this very spiritual and remarkable night.
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