One of the most celebrated and an awaited festivals in Hinduism is the festival of Maha Shivratri. The word Maha Shivratri is made by joining three words where the word ‘Maha’ means “Huge or great or Super”, the word ‘Shiva’ refers to the supreme deity, and the word ‘Ratri’ refers to night. Thus Maha Shivratri means the greatest night of Lord Shiva.
Maha Shivratri 2021 this year falls on the 11th of March which is a Thursday. The Nishita Kaal for Puja falls on the 12th of March 2021. The Nishita Kaal
Puja Time is from 12:16 AM up to 01:05 AM which is a duration of 00 hours and 48 Minutes.
The Prahar Puja Timings are listed below
|First Prahar Puja||Ratri Time||06:37 PM to 09:39 PM|
|Second Prahar Puja, 12th March||Ratri Time||09:39 PM to 12:41 AM|
|Third Prahar Puja, 12th March||Ratri Time||12:41 AM to 03:42 AM|
|Fourth Prahar Puja 12th March||Ratri Time||03:42 AM to 06:44 AM|
Chaturdashi Tithi Time
|March 11, 2021||Chaturdashi Tithi Begins||04:09 AM|
|March 12, 2021||Chaturdashi Tithi Ends||04:32 AM|
Now, that we know the Puja timings and Tithis, let us understand more about Maha Shivratri
Why is Maha Shivratri celebrated?
Lord Shiva is one of the prime deities in Hinduism. He is highly revered and worshipped by people across the globe. Maha Shivratri is celebrated to honor and worship Lord Shiva and to gain His divine blessings. Let us understand what is so auspicious about Maha Shivratri in comparison to the twelve Shiv ratris that occur in a calendar year.
The Shivratri that occurs in the month of February-March holds immense significance in the spiritual realm as it is on this night that positioning of the northern hemisphere of Earth is aligned in such a manner that there is a sudden increase in the energy levels of a human and makes one more inclined towards spirituality.
Maha Shivratri is a festival that is celebrated by being awake the entire night and by engaging in various rituals and customs of the festival.
Thus, Maha Shivratri is one of the most cleverly planned festivals where people are awake the whole night focusing and channelizing on the energies with devotion by sitting upright in a dhyana position attracting more positive energies and increasing the existing ones.
Legend of Maha Shivratri
There are many legends associated with Maha Shivratri, let us go through some of them.
According to one of the legends, Goddess Parvati performed severe penance to get married to Lord Shiva. After years of hardships, determination and focused mind Goddess Parvati was successful in winning Lord Shiva’s heart and thus got married to Him in the month of Falgun on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight. Thus, this day is celebrated to honor Lord Shiva and the Holy union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
According to the Garuda Purana, once there was a hunter who lived in a small hut with his pet dog. One day in order to hunt for food he went to the forest along with his dog. Even after hours of searching, he could not find a single prey.
Tired and hungry, the hunter decided to take some rest so he sat near a pond. Near to the pond, there was a Bilva tree, the hunter thought of resting for some time so, he walked up to the Bilva tree under which there was a Shiv Ling.
Many bilva leaves had fallen under the Bilva tree so, in order to clear someplace for him to rest, the hunter picked up a bunch of fallen Bilva leaves while doing so some of the Bilva leaves fell on the Shiv Lingam. Post that the hunter poured some water on his feet to clean them before sleeping.
While pouring the water, some of the water droplets fell on the Shiv Lingam. As the hunter was washing his feet, one of the arrows he was carrying for hunting fell on the ground, and thus to lift the arrow, the hunter bent down in front of the Shiv Lingam.
Thus without any intention, the hunter completed all the rituals of worshipping Lord Shiva. Years after the incident when the hunter died, the Lord of death, Lord Yamadoot came to take the hunter’s soul but soon the Shiva Ganas too reached the place where the hunter’s dead body lay and told Yama not to take the soul of the hunter as it belonged to the Shiva Loka. Thus, the hunter’s soul was carried to Shiva Lok by the demigods and thus the celebration of Shivratri came into being.
Thus, there are various legends on why we celebrate Maha Shivratri but the bhav (emotion) of the celebrations is the same throughout the country and that is to revere Lord Shiva.
||Om Namah Shivay||