Shiva the God, who is assigned the role of ‘The Destroyer’ in Hindu mythology, belongs to the trinity of Gods who are known as the origin of everything on Earth. Shiva, means the ‘auspicious one’, and is the Supreme Lord of Shaivism one of three most influential denominations of Hinduism. Hinduism has had a following of more than four millennia, in that aspect ‘Bholenath’ meaning the ‘innocent one’ has had followers for about that much period of time. It is said that is might prevails in all the three dimensions of life, that is, on heaven, Earth and hell. He is shown to be an omniscient yogi who resides at Mount Kailash and at the same time leads a family life with wife Parvati and sons Ganesha and Kartikeyan.
Maha Shivratri is the known as the ‘Night of Shiva’ or the ‘Great night of Shiva’. It is celebrated all around the world where Hinduism exists on the 13th/14th day of the Maghaa or Phalgun month of the Hindu calendar. There is also a very interesting legend about the date itself, it is said that after creation was completed Parvati, his wife asked him about his favorite ritual and Shiva in return answered that his favorite day is the 13th 0r 14th day of the Maghaa or Phalgun month. Parvati told this story to others and eventually this day came to be celebrated as Shiva’s day, when his most ardent devotees wake up all night, giving up food and devote themselves in Shiva Bhakti.
The legends surrounding the reason for the celebration of this day are many, the one mentioned above is also one of them, but Shivratri has also been associated with the day Lord Shiva and Parvati got married to each other. The legend goes that once returning from Sage Agatsya’s ashram after listening to Ram Katha or Ram’s story, Lord Shiva identified Lord Ram and stopped to pay his respects bowing down to him. Sati her then wife asked him why he did so and in reply Shiva said that Ram is the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu which Parvati found hard to believe and thus in order to test it went in front of Lord Ram as Sita but Ram instantly identified her and asked “What are you doing here goddess?” For Lord Shiva Sita was like his mother and so when Sati changed her form she lost her status as his wife and Shiva detached himself from her.
Later Sati self-immolated herself and Shiva was infuriated to the point that he was about to destroy the whole world. This worried all the gods and goddesses and in order to restore the balance of the world Parvati was born who later in her youth was able to wake up Lord Shiva from his meditation of more than twenty years and win his love. They later got married restoring well being in the world. Since then the day of Shivratri is also celebrated as the day of Shiva and Parvati’s marriage. The day is celebrated all over the country with great zest and all the Shiva temple in the country are thronged by devotees.
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