There lies a plethora of stories that revolve around the significance of Mahashivratri.
- It is said that the wedding anniversary of Shiva and Parvati is celebrated on this particular night.
- There is another belief that revolves around the festival. It is said that on this particular night, Shiva performed the Tandava Nritya which saved the world from destruction.
- Hindu scholars say that shiva drank poison or halahal to protect the world from negativity.
- It is also said that the night is reserved for self-introspection and therefore one should remain awake all night.
- The northern hemisphere of the earth is positioned in such a way that on this particular night human beings can experience a natural upsurge of energy. Therefore it is often recommended to keep the spine erect on the night of Mahashivratri.
The festival is celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm across India while it is a public holiday for the same in Mauritius and Nepal. In Mauritius the devotees observe ten days of abstinence prior to the festival while a grand celebration is organized at the Pashupatinath temple of Nepal. The Isha yoga center of Coimbatore is well known for a grand Mahashivratri celebration.
Why is it celebrated in Mauritius ?
It is said that in the 70’s when the country gained independence,Indian immigrants inhabited the island and decided to practice Indian culture on a foreign land! Since then,the festival has been celebrated in Mauritius. Kanwar Yatras are taken out with the bamboo crafted structures. The procession is taken to the sacred Ganga talao and the Ganga jal is offered to the idols of shiva. The water of the Grand Bassin is considered holy by the devotees.
Bel leaves are offered to Lord Shiva in India and all-day fasting is observed along with an all-night-long vigil. It is believed that the fast is a test of self-determination apart from seeking the blessings of the deity. The devotee is supposed to eat only after bathing the next day. Unlike other festivals this festival is celebrated at night and is the most auspicious one among all twelve Shivratri of the year – hence the name – Mahashivratri!
The five syllables are often chanted when it comes to offering the bel leaves to shiva. But do you know the meaning of the five syllables?
Na-ma-shi-va-ya – the five syllables, it is believed that these syllables correspond to the five main centers of the human system and can activate human potential if pronounced in the right manner. It is believed that Shiva has mastered all the five elements and therefore he is called Bhuteshwara!
- The five syllables are symbolic of the five elements of nature namely earth, water, air, fire, and space.
- Chanting panchakshari leads to the purification of sins.
- The mantra is chanted with every offering to shiva and forms a part of the daily prayer rituals of lord shiva.
- The rituals of mahashivratri include the five syllables and other mantras of shiva like the Rudra mantra.
It has been scientifically proven that mantras hold the power to create certain vibrations in the atmosphere.
The correct match of meditation and mantras on the auspicious night of Mahashivratri can therefore bless human beings with exuberance!