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→☺мαнα šнίναяαŧгī☺←

Sivaratri, dedicated to
Lord Shiva, is celebrated
on the moonless night of
the month of Phalguna,
which is the fourteenth
day in the krishnapaksha
or dark half. Owing to a
special planetary
conjunction, spiritual
practices done on this day
are considered to be
especially auspicious and
beneficial. There is a
reference to this in one of
the Puranas, where Shiva
himself tells Parvati Devi
[the Divine Mother] that
this day is particularly
dear to him, and that
those who perform the
prescribed austerities on
this day will be freed from
all sins.
One popular story from
the Puranas goes like this:
There was once a poor
hunter from Varanasi. His
name was Suswara. He
lived with his wife and
child in a small hut. Theirs
was a hand-to-mouth
existence. Suswara would
go to the forest and hunt
whatever game came his
way, and thus feed his
family. One particular day,
he caught many small
animals and birds, which
he put into a sack.
Encouraged by the catch,
he wandered deeper into
the forest in search of
more game. Soon
darkness set in and he
turned to go home. He
was a little worried as the
forest was infested with
dangerous animals. He
did not like the idea of
spending the night there.
Soon it became very dark.
Unable to find his way
back, Suswara climbed a
tree to be safe from the
wild animals.\
Attracted by his scent,
animals came lurking
under the tree. Hoping to
scare them away,
Suswara plucked some
twigs from the tree and
threw them at the
animals, but to no avail.
Throughout the night the
animals kept prowling
beneath the tree.
Suswara was unable to
get even a wink of sleep.
He kept vigil throughout
the night. He plucked
leaves from the tree,
which happened to be a
bilva tree, and dropped
them on the ground.
Unknown to Suswara,
there was a Shivalinga at
the foot of the tree; and
so, although he was
unaware of it, by
dropping the sacred bilva
leaves, Suswara was
making a sacred offering
to the Shivalinga. That
night happened to be
Shivaratri. So the hunter
had unknowingly kept a
night-long vigil and
worshipped Shiva.
According to the Shiva
Purana, the Mahashivaratri
worship should
incorporate six items:
offering bilva leaves to the
deity after giving it a
ceremonial bath, which
represents purification of
the soul; applying
vermilion paste on the
linga after bathing it,
which represents virtue;
offering food, which is
conducive to longevity
and the gratification of
desires; lighting incense,
which yields wealth;
lighting an oil lamp, which
signifies the attainment of
knowledge; and offering
betel leaves, which marks
satisfaction with worldly
pleasures. These six items
form an indispensable
part of the Mahashivaratri
worship, be it a simple
ceremony at home or
grand temple worship
According to the
mythology, each of these
dravya used in the
abhisheka blesses a
unique quality:
Milk is for the blessing of
purity and piousness.
Yogurt is for prosperity
and progeny.
Honey is for sweet
speech.
Ghee is for victory.
Water is for purity.
Significance of the
Rituals
The story above is an
allegory. Just as the
hunter sought to kill wild
animals, the spiritual
seeker tries to overcome
lust, anger, greed,
infatuation, jealousy and
hatred. The jungle is the
mind where all these
negativities roam about. A
spiritual aspirant must kill
these "animals" to be free.
The name of the hunter
was Suswara, which
means "one of melodious
voice." This indicates the
purity of intent and
speech, which, in turn,
imply a level of mental
purity.
The hunter was born in
Varanasi. Vara refers to
the forehead while nasi is
the nose. The point where
both meet is Varanasi, in
other words, the point
midway between the
eyebrows. This point is
also called the ajna chakra
and is regarded as a
nexus of the three nadis:
ida, pingala and
sushumna. A spiritual
aspirant who concentrates
his or her mind on this
point gains concentration
and gradual control over
his senses. The killing of
the animals thus indicates
control over one's
vasanas [latent
tendencies].
The bilva tree
corresponds to the spinal
column. The tree's leaves
are special: each stalk has
three leaflets. The three
leaflets represent the three
nadis mentioned above.
The climbing of the tree
represents the ascent of
the kundalini shakti from
the muladhara to the ajna
chakra.
Keeping awake is
symbolic of the kind of
awareness and oneness
of purpose that a spiritual
aspirant needs to reach
the goal. He cannot afford
to be slack even for a
moment.
Shiva is the Supreme
Consciousness that
illuminates the three states
of waking, dreaming and
deep sleep. Offering the
threefold bilva leaves to
the Shivalinga heralds the
return to a level of
consciousness beyond
the three states, which is
the fourth state, turiya.
The dawning of that state
is consonant with the
awakening of the
individual.
Maha Shivaratri literally
means "the great night
of Shiva". According to
a legend in Shiva
Purana, it was on this
day that Shiva first
manifested himself in
the form of a huge
column of fire, known
as Jyotirlinga.
According to another
legend, Shiva married
Parvati on this day.
The significance of
Shivaratri is the
celebration of the union of
Shiva and Shakti (Parvati)
by continuously repeating
the panchakshara mantra,
Om Namah Shivaya. One,
who repeats Om Namah
Shivaya during Shivaratri,
with perfect devotion and
concentration, is freed
from all sins. It is said that
repeating the mantra on
this night even one time
earns the merit of a
thousand repetitions. By
repeating the great
mantra, one is able to still
the mind. The goal of
meditation is to make the
mind completely free
from worldly thoughts.
Only when the mind
becomes totally silent is
the state of meditation
experienced. It is not easy
to achieve such a state. It
may sound paradoxical,
but it is true that such a
thoughtless state can be
achieved if the mind is
filled with mantra (inner
sound) for a long time.
It is very important to
understand the true
meaning of the mantra,
Om Namah Shivaya. The
mantra refers to your
own “I”-awareness. Your
“I”-awareness is called
Krishna, Shiva, Shakti,
Allah, Jesus, Buddha, or
the Absolute Reality. In
other words, during the
mantra repetition, you are
calling your own name,
which is the essential
nature of your Supreme
Reality. Truly, one who
meditates upon one’s
own inner Self is
considered to have
worshiped all the gods
and goddesses. This is the
secret of all secrets.
This festival is most
fervently observed by the
Kashmiri Pandits, the
ancient inhabitants of
Kashmir and south
Indians who are ardent
devotees of Lord Shiva.
The beginning of Kashmir
Shaivism, which treats the
individual soul and the
universe as identical with
Shiva, is traced to the
Shiva Sutras, which were
composed by Lord Shiva
himself. Vasugupta (860 –
925), a great sage who
lived in Kashmir, revealed
the famous Shiva Sutras.
Lord Shiva is considered
to be the Form of Light,
which the Shiva Lingam
represents. According to
ancient scriptures, Shiv
Lingam is a mass of
divine light. These are the
twelve jyotirlingas (Lingas
of Light) at 12 places of
pilgrims where people
gather on the Shivaratri
day: Kedarnath,
Viswanath, Baidyanath,
omkareswar,
Mahakaleswar,
Somnath, Nageswar,
Triyembakeswar, Bhim
Shankara,
Ghurmeshwar,
Mallikarjun, and
Rameswaram.
The Shiva Lingam is the
most common object of
worship of Lord Shiva. In
the full figure of Shiva, the
male and female principles
are united, and he himself
is depicted as a half man
and a half woman called
Ardhanarisvara. Both
masculine and feminine
together represent the
oneness of Shiva and
Shakti. The emblem under
which Shiva particularly
delights to be worshipped
is the Lingam. The lower
part of the Shiva Lingam
is Shakti, and the upper
part Shiva. Shiva
represents Purusha, the
unmanifest Absolute and
Shakti represents Prakrti,
the totality of all manifest
existence. While
worshipping the Shiva
Lingam, a true devotee
would identify the Shiva
Lingam with the entire
universe.
It is essential for spiritual
seekers to wear
rudraksha beads because
they are extremely useful.
Rudraksha beads destroy
harmful bacteria, and keep
the blood pressure
normal. Medical scientists
are beginning to believe
that wearing a genuine
rudraksha has a beneficial
effect on controlling blood
pressure. They protect a
seeker ...


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