India is a country of numerous religions, cultures, ethnicities, languages, races, beliefs, and festivals. “Unity in Diversity” is not just a motto in this country, it is the heart and soul of India. The reason that India can present such a united front in front of the whole world even after so many differences is that India and the people of India respects and believes all thoughts and beliefs.
India is known as the country of festivals because we have a festival in our country every now and then and we take our festivals very seriously. Apart from this, we have a great story as to why we celebrate anything on any particular day.
Just like any other occasion, there is a great story behind Shivratri. Today’s article is dedicated to the sole occasion of Mahashivratri. In this article, we will see why we celebrate this day, what are its importance in the Indian culture, and a detailed walkthrough.
Why We Celebrate Mahashivratri?
Well there is a long and great story behind it and I love a great story, I hope you do too. So let’s see what happened and how it came to be Mahashivratri.
There are different legends as to why we celebrate it but the most popular is that on the day of Mahashivratri Lord Shiva, the destructor as Hindu mythology depicts him got married to Goddess Parvati, the goddess of fertility, love, beauty, marriage, and last but not the least, divine strength and power. But very few know the backstory. So allow me to take you through the back story.
Lord Shiva married Lady Sati, the youngest daughter of Daksha (Lord Brahma’s wish-born son). Daksha had many daughters but Sati was his favorite daughter. Daksha married all of his daughters to worthy god-suitors but Lady Sati chose Shiva as her groom whom Daksha didn’t like. Daksha detested Shiva & his hermetic lifestyle. So, when Sati married Lord Shiva, Daksha wasn’t happy about it but he agreed to it anyway.
However, he felt insulted and wanted to avenge his pride. He organized a grand Yagya to which he invited all of his daughters and son-in-law except Lady Sati and Lord Shiva. When she found out about this, she was furious with her father. She asked Lord Shiva to go there but he refused. But goddess Sati wanted to confront her father. Lord Shiva tried to stop her but she went to her father’s house anyway. When Goddess Sati arrived at her father’s house, he welcomed her half-heartedly and then started insulting her husband in front of the guests. Engaged by her father’s behavior she declared that she won’t tolerate any insult of her husband and she felt guilty for coming there despite her husband’s trying to stop her and she sacrificed herself by a sacrificial fire.
After this Lady Sati reincarnated as Goddess Parvati and as Parvati was goddess Sati’s reincarnation just like Sati, the reincarnation of Ardhashakti-the better half of lord shiva which is why she was destined to marry Lord Shiva and complete him- her fate was to meet and marry Lord Shiva too. And they did which is why we celebrate Mahashivratri.
Importance of Mahashivratri
In Hindu culture, there is nothing we can’t get by serving our gods and pleasing them. Lord Shiva is also known as ‘Bholenath’, someone who is easy to please, innocent or simple. Worshipping Lord Shiva this day brings happiness and prosperity. Fasting is recommended because eating too much can reduce your focus and concentration but this way you can concentrate and meditate that can help you please Lord Shiva and fulfill your desire.
Mahashivratri is about meditating and getting close to the divine, seeking refugee in the very soul of the whole universe, connecting with the eternal power, celebrating and understanding the ‘endless’, ‘everlasting’, and ‘beyond the space and time’, the one and the only Lord Shiva and becoming one with him.
Top 5 Shiva Temples to visit on Mahashivratri
- Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, Ujjain – Located in the ancient city of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, it is one of the 12 Jyotirlingams and considered one of the most sacred abodes of Lord Shiva. It is situated near Rudar Sagar lake. Lord Shiva is the main deity here, present in the form of lingam.
- Omkareshwar Mahadev Temple, Shivapuri – Located on an island named Shivapuri in the Narmada river, this is another Jyotirlingam. There are two temples here – one is Omkareshwar situated on the island and another is Amareshwar situated on the southern bank of the Narmada river on the mainland.
- Bhimashankar Temple, Pune – Bhimashankar is another one of the 12 Jyotirlingam, located 127 km away from Shivaji Nagar in the Ghat region of the Sahyadri hills. This temple is a perfect blend of old & new structures that dates back to the 13th century but the sabha mandap was constructed in the 18th century.
- Kedarnath, Uttarakhand – Kedarnath temple is one of the four temples of the ‘Chardham Yatra’. It is situated on the Garhwal Himalayan range close to the Mandakini river. It is located at 3,583 meters above sea level. On the auspicious occasion of Mahashivratri, a grand celebration takes place.
- Somnath Temple, Veraval – Somnath temple is another one of the 12 Jyotirlingam. This temple has been attacked and looted several times by international invaders and the current temple was built in the year 1947.
I hope you had fun reading this article as much as I had written it. Well before you go there is only one more thing. HAPPY MAHASHIVRATRI.