Mahashivratri is celebrated as a festival dedicated to Lord Shiva, who exemplifies perfection, balance, yoga, meditation and spiritual growth.
Maha Shivratri Puja is performed for one of the most ardently revered and a supreme Hindu deity – Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva, as a part of the Holy Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, plays a role of a transformer, to keep the universal life in balance.
As per Vedic Purana, Brahmins worship him for knowledge and moksha; Kshatriyas for honour and bravery; Vaishyas or traders worship him for prosperity; and Shudras worshipped him for a better fulfilled life. It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva on Maha Shivratri bestows all of the above and free our souls from the miseries of the world.
Performing a Maha Shivaratri Puja and Vrat can help attain moksha from worldly ties and trials of life. It is also believed that observing Maha Shivratri Vrat can result in a happy and blessed life for married women and also help single women find a desirable life-partner.
Some of the others benefits come from chanting Shiva Mantra and performing puja rituals.
- Chanting Maha Mrityunjaya Jaap while performing abhishek can ward off deadly diseases and cures any illness.
- Performing abhishek with milk mixed with little water, can bestow purity on mind and soul.
- Abhishek with Panchamrut can bring about prosperity and success in your undertakings.
- Linga abhishek with Honey provides us with amicable nature and melodious speech.
- Performing Abhishek with ghee bestows victory against enemies.
Maha Shivratri Puja Vidhi:
Maha shivratri Puja Vidhi requires devotees to follow a strict fast – Mahashivratri Vrat that should begin with and last till the end of Chaturdashi tithi.
- Devotees wake up early and take ritualistic bath in the morning. Bathing in holy rivers is preferred if possible.
- The devotees then offer prayers to Lord Surya, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva to seek blessings.
- Adorning clean clothes, devotees visit Shiva Temple and perform the holy puja.
- The abhishek is performed with milk mixed with a little water, which is poured continuously over Shiv lingam while chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaaya’. This signifies purification of soul and mind.
- Once the abhishek is done, three horizontal lines are applied on Shiva linga with Bhasma that represents – purity, penance and spiritual knowledge.
- Sandal wood paste is offered to Shiva linga along with betel leaves. These offerings represent virtue and satisfaction from worldly pleasures.
- Finally a diya and incense are lit, which represents attainment of knowledge and wealth, along with offering Bhog Prasad that represents the fruits of the Mahashivratri Vrat and blessings of the lord.
- Many devotees stay all-night at the temple offering pujas during all the Prahars. Some also perform Jaagran – a night vigil, while meditating and chanting Shiva’s name with rosary beads.
- The fast is broken on just before the end of Chaturdashi tithi as per the muhurat on the following day.