Shivratri - the festival celebrating the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati infuses the spirit of devotion and dedication among the Hindus. Feel the verve of the festival with these lovely Shivratri essays contributed by our visitors. We also invite you to send Mahashivratri essay to our site and help us enrich this page.
In Mauritius, Mahashivratri is celebrated with great devotion. Here pilgrims start their preparation one month before the festival. People from different societies around the island spent a lot of time for Shivaratri preparations. Sometimes whole night is spent in preparing beautifully decorated ′Kanwars′ which they carry during their pilgrimage to Grand Bassin also known as ′Ganga Taloa′.The Ganga Talao is a crater lake with a small island in the middle was discovered by Pandit Gosain Naipaul 108 years ago. This year we are celebrating the 108th anniversary of its discovery. In this context a ′Maha Shiv Katha′ has been organized. In the sixties the lake was made sacred by pouring holy water from Ganga into it.
During the whole week starting from Saturday, about five to six thousand devotees converge to the sacred lake either by transport or on foot from every corner of the island. These devotees chant Bhajans and Mantras on Lord Shiva during their pilgrimage. There is a great effervescence throughout the island. Thousands of volunteers all round the country spend their time serving the pilgrims with food and other facilities
One of the most important mandir of the island, ′the Umanath Mandir′ of Montagne Blanche receive about 5,000 pilgrims offering them food and shelter on their way to the sacred lake. On the eve of Shivratri festival, processions are organized all round the island. On the day of the festival at 4.00 am, the prayer starts with ′Shiv Abhishek′ and the whole day the place is thronged by large number of devotees who come to offer the holy water from Ganga Talao and fruits to Lord Shiva in the temples.
Afternoon session leads to ′Char Pahar ki Pooja′. The pooja ceremony starts at 6.00 pm with the first Pahar. The acharya performs Maha Abhishek. Then it follows with the second pahar at 9.00 pm, the third pahar at 12.00 pm and the fourth pahar at 3.00 am. The holy pooja ends with a ′Maha Yagya′ around 6:00 am next day.
Devotees chant Maha mantra "Om Namah Shivaye" 18, 216, 324 and 452 times on each of the pahar respectively. Whole night, the ′Shivalay′ is animated with bhajans and religious hymns. Some artisits and localities perform the ′Tandava′ and dramas on Lord Shiva.
Thus, the festival of Shivaratri unite all the Hindus of the island. It is one of the festivals which is celebrated with such great devotion in Mauritius.
HAR HAR MAHADEV..... HAR HAR MAHADEV.... HAR HAR MAHADEV....
Mahashivratri is the auspicious night of Lord Shiva. All Hindu Festivals convey certain stories/episodes which have some deep inner meaning. Here is a beautiful story associated with the holy festival of Mahashivaratri.
A tiger was chasing a man and the man out of fear ran and ran and finally climbed a tree and sat on its branch. The tiger was also following the man and sat just under the tree. The man out of fear started plucking the leaves and dropped them one by one to keep him awake whole night. Next day morning, Lord Shiva appeared before the man and blessed him. The man attained liberation.
Three Gunas i.e. Tamas, Rajas and Satwik are Structure, Metabolism and Intellect. Tamas is dull, lethargic and fearful representing the physical body. Rajas are feelings and emotions representing the mental personality in the form of tiger. And finally, Satwic is intellect in the form of plucking Bilwa leaves and offering them just below the Shivalinga. Bilwa leaf has three segments representing all these three gunas.
If one uses these three i.e.physical, mental and intellectual in a balanced manner, the self or the soul attains liberation i.e. Moksha. Contributed by: V.T.Panchapagesan, NJ, USA
Ratri is Dark which is Ignorance. Ignorance begets Fear. Knowledge begets Confidence. There are two forces acting on us and they are Positive Force and Negative Force. Faith is the positive force enriching Human Lives. Doubt is the negative force robbing of Glow and Meaning. Siva means Movement/Action. Soul is eternal and it is a continuous process of identifying itself to The Supreme. Jyothir Ling in Kedarnath indicates the Gunas within us i.e. Tamas, Rajas and Satwic. If they are balanced, life is blissful. Contributed by: V.T.Panchapagesa, NJ. USA
Mahashivratri, the night of Shivji,is one of the most sacred festivals of Hindus. There are many myths and rituals behind Mahashivratri.
First of all, it celebrates the wedding day of Parvati Mata and Lord Shiva. The divine couple finally got together after rebirth of Sati as Parvati Ma. At our mandir, there is a "Shiva-Lila" where actors enact the story of Sati and the wedding day, it just feels so sacred. There are also more myths such as Shivji drinking the ′Halahal′ during the Samundra Manthan and the bringing of Ganga Maiya through Shivji′s dreadlocks.
My mom observes a very strict fast during this auspicious day. She doesn′t eat anything until the vigil is complete. During the vigil, we bathe the Shivalinga at 6:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m., 12 midnight, 3:00 a.m., and 6:00 a.m. with each ingredient of the ′Panchamrit′ separately (one ingredient every bathing time). At 6:30 a.m., we perform ′Maha Abhishekh′ with each of the five ingredients separately, panchamrit and rose water. After ′bilva patra puspanjali′, we do the ′Maha Arti′. After this, all of us offer prayer to Shivji and mom breaks her fast with the remaining panchamrit and gives us the Panchamarit as prasad.
Shivratri is the perfect night to pray to Bhole Nath and achieve mukti. JAI SHIV SHANKAR!!! SHRI BHOLE NATHJI KI JAI!!! Contributed by: Manveer Sihota
Mahashivratri celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. It falls on the 14th night of the new moon. According to the Hindu mythology, on this moonless night, Lord Shiva danced the Tandava which signifies creation, preservation and destruction of the cosmos. Every year millions of devotees fast in honor of Lord Shiva and offer prayers in various Shiva temples. People perform some rituals on this day and the most significant practice is to offer coconut, Bael leaves and fruits to Lord Shiva. People wait in long queues outside Shiva temples to worship Lord Shiva. They sing bhajans and kirtan in honor of Lord and his consort Pravati.
By: Sakshi Sibal
Maha Shivratri in Fiji is celebrated by all Hindus in their homes, Ramayan Mandalis, temples and schools. People fast, pray and feast. Devotees offer jaggery, laddu and sugarcane to Lord Shiva. Offering Bel Patra and milk to Shivling is an important ritual of this day. Mothers offer special prayers for their sons and daughters, wives for their husbands and unmarried girls for ideal husbands. The popularity of this festival has increased double fold during last 15 - 20 years. Thanks to the mass media and the learned priests of Shri Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha and school system of the Republic of Fiji Islands.
By: Satya Nand Sharma