Significance Of MahaShivratri
Shivaratri is an important festival, considered to be highly auspicious for the worship of Lord Shiva. It is Shiva ratri, that is, the Night of Shiva and is meant for praying to the Lord. Shivaratri is actually a monthly occurrence, which takes place on every 13th or 14th night of the dark fortnight of Krishna Paksha, which also happens to be the night before Amavasya, the New Moon day. The greatest of such monthly Shivaratri is known as Maha Shivaratri, a day considered to be extremely sacred for the worship of Lord Shiva. This falls in the Hindu month of Phalguna or the Tamil month of Masi (February–March).
Mythological importance of Maha Shivaratri
Many are the ancient legends that make a mention about Maha Shivaratri. Whereas, Linga Purana, Skanda Purana and Padma Purana speak in detail about the occasion, they give different accounts about its importance. While some regard this as the night when the Lord performed Shiva Thandava, his cosmic dance, a few others hold this as the occasion when the divine couple Shiva and Parvati got married.
Importance of Maha Shivaratri
Maha Shivaratri Worship
To mark this day, people worship and read Shiva Purana, but what they ignore is the fact that this holy book has great importance and must be worshipped as per rules mentioned in Vedas. In Atharveda, one such occasion is mentioned; when Sage Shaunak requested Suta to enlighten him about the auspicious rules of reading and worshiping Shiva Purana. He said: Only if the devotees worship and follow the holy rituals of Shiva Purana, then they can receive the auspicious blessings of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. He further said: One must seek a proper ‘mahurat’ from a sage, priest or an astrologer to begin reading Shiva Purana. Then, they must invite guests to listen to the holy verses in a clean and sacred place.
Before beginning with Shiva Purana reading, ensure a clean and sacred place, preferably a puja room at home. It is best to read it near Shivalinga or Shiva temple. The person who is telling the story or 'Katha' should be facing north, and all the listeners should sit facing east. The person who is telling the 'Katha' should be a scholar and should be capable of clearing all the doubts from the listener's mind. A devotee should also make donations and offerings according to his capacity and capability. The Mantra 'OM NAMAH SHIVAY' should be chanted throughout the Katha.