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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Maha Shivaratri - A auspicious occasion

Maha Shivaratri:-


"Shiva-ratri means 'auspicious (Shiva) darkness (ratri). At least on this day, one should chant Shiva's name all through the night." 

Meaning Of Maha-Shiva-ratri:-


"If you make the slightest effort to progress along the path of liberation, the Lord will help you a hundred-fold. Shivaratri conveys that hope to you. The moon, which is the presiding deity of the mind of man, wanes until the fourteenth day after full moon. It is just a tiny curve of glimmering glow. The mind should be starved into the condition, so that man becomes free. Spend all the days with Shiva, and the conquest of the mind is easy. Spend the fourteenth day of the waning moon with Shiva, reaching the climax of the spiritual effort on the final day, and success is yours. That is why all Chaturdashis of the dark haif of every month are called Shivaratris, that is why the Chaturdashi of the Magha month is called Mahashivaratri. That is a day of special dedication to Shiva." 

 Maha Shivaratri falls on the 13th day of Krishana Paksha of Maagha Maasa (February-March). It is a night of fasting and prayer in honour of Lord Shiva in His aspect of destroying sins and bad things. The night is called Shivamaya, i.e. a night to spend with thoughts of Lord Shiva. As the Lord of the universe He is full of compassion and only punishes out of Love and for the good of mankind. It is on this great night that Lord Shiva redeems the world. He swallows poisons and sins to save His devotees. During this holy night the devotees of Lord Shiva fast, meditate, pray and sing the glory of the Saviour. Whatever is offered to Lord Shiva with devotion is pleasing to Him. On this night He showers blessings abudantly.

The Symbol of Lord Shiva, is the Shiva Lingam, it is a form to represent the formless and it is worshiped with great splendour during Maha Shivaratri. This Lingam is the symbol of the one who is All - Pure, All -Perfect, All - Bliss; Lord Shiva. When contemplated with adoration it becomes a mirror of the soul. It becomes a cosmic window that opens to allow the devotees to touch the All - Pure One.

Hindu temples across the country are decorated with lights and colorful decorations and people can be seen offering night long prayers to Shiva Lingam. Woodapple leaves, cold water and milk are offered to the Shiva Lingam on this day as they are believed to be Lord Shiva’s favorite.



Origin of Sivaratri festival:-

Puranas contain many stories and legends describing the origin of this festival. 
According to one, during the samudra manthan, a pot of poison emerged from the ocean. This terrified the Gods and demons as the poison was capable of destroying the entire world, and they ran to Shiva for help. To protect the world from its evil effects, Shiva drank the deathly poison but held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. This made his throat turn blue, and he was given the name Neelakantha, the blue-throated one. Shivaratri is the celebration of this event by which Shiva saved the world.

According to another legend in the Shiva Purana, once the other two of the triads of Hindu Gods, Brahma and Vishnu, were fighting over who was the superior of the two. Horrified at the intensity of the battle, the other gods asked Shiva to intervene. To make them realize the futility of their fight, Shiva assumed the form of a huge column of fire in between Brahma and Vishnu. Awestruck by its magnitude, they decided to find one end each to establish supremacy over the other. Brahma assumed the form of a swan and went upwards and Vishnu as Varaha went into the earth. But light has no limit and though they searched for thousands of miles, neither could find the end. On his journey upwards, Brahma came across a Ketaki flower wafting down slowly. When asked where she had come from, the Ketaki replied that she had been placed at the top of the fiery column as an offering. Unable to find the uppermost limit, Brahma decided to end his search and take the flower as a witness.

At this, the angry Shiva revealed his true form. He punished Brahma for telling a lie, and cursed him that no one would ever pray to him. The Ketaki flower too was banned from being used as an offering for any worship, as she had testified falsely. Since it was on the 14th day in the dark half of the month of Phalguna that Shiva first manifested himself in the form of a Linga, the day is especially auspicious and is celebrated as Mahashivaratri. Worshipping Shiva on this day is believed to bestow one with happiness and prosperity.

History of shivaratri:-


Once when everything in all the worlds got reduced into Lord shiva, in that darkness of nothing present, the mother Parvati worshipped Lord shiva in the Agamic way with great devotion. The parameshwar pleased by Her prayer blessed Her. She asked for the benefit of all the creatures that in future whoever worships the Lord on the shiva ratri day with devotion, they should be blessed and should be given the ultimate liberation. The pashupati granted that showing way for all of us to get blessed easily.

When Brahma and Vishnu fought between themselves as "who is the greatest", Lord Shiva appeared before them as a pillar of fire. They were not able to find the starting and end of that pillar. This day is Thirukkaarthikai.

Then Brahma and Mahavishnu repented for their mistake and prayed to Lord Shiva for forgiving their sin worshiping the shiva lingam which is the form of the flame. In the night of Shiva rathri Lord Shiva appeared before them and blessed them. Devotees pray the God throughout the night of Shiva rathri by performing Abisheka, chanting and other holy deeds.

Every month in Krishna paksha chathurdhasi (fourteenth moonday) is called masa Shiva rathri. The one that comes in the month of "Masi" (mid February to mid March) is called Maha Shiva rathri. This is considered as the most important vrata by the devotees.

There are many incidents told about the greatness of this day. Once a hunter in a jungle after searching throughout the jungle, was quite tired and could not get any animal. In the nightfall a tiger started chasing him. to escape from that he climbed a tree. That was a Bilva tree. The tiger sat under the tree waiting for him to come down. The hunter who sat on a branch of the tree was quite tense and didn't want to sleep. He was plucking the leaves and putting down as he was not able to be idle. Below the tree there was a Shiva lingam. The whole night went on like this. God was pleased with the Upavasa (hunger) and the Pooja the hunter and the tiger did even without knowledge. He is the peak of the grace. He gave the hunter and the tiger "Moksha".

In a Shiva temple on a Maha Shiva rathri day the lamp kept in the altar was very dim. That time a mouse which came take its prey touched the flame. Due to the heat it moved its head immediately. In the process it kindled the lamp and the altar was illuminated well. Lord Shiva, pleased by this deed made the mouse Mahabali, the renowned asura king.

There are many incidents like this told in our Puraanas. If we do the vrata with pure devotion and love there can be no doubt about getting the Grace of the Almighty.


Rituals of Maha Shivratri:-


At Maha Shivratri, People keep fast of whole day and night and Kashi Vishwanath temple gets congregated by the young and old devotees from the very early morning. They come to the temple to perform the puja of traditional Shivalingam and hope to get what they have prayed to the god. They take bath in the holy water of the Ganga (Symbol of the purity) early in the morning before sunrise and wear a clean clothe after the sacred bath.

Every worshiper brings a pot full of holy Gange water to the temple to offer the Shivalingam. Women pray to God for her well-being of their husbands and sons, an unmarried woman pray to get their desired husband like Shiva (the ideal husband) in future; boys pray to get beautiful wife and successful life in future. The temple full of sound of bells and people shouts of “Shankerji ki Jai” or “Mahadevji ki Jai”. Devotees take 5 round of the Shivalingam and pour water on the Shivalingam. Some also pour cow milk on the Shivalingam.

According to the Shiva Purana, the Mahashivaratri puja involves six steps which are:

Taking bath in the Gange for purification of soul and body. Bathing of the Shiv Linga with the holy water of Gange, then bathing with milk and honey. God Shiva loves bel patra (three leaves stalked in one) so every rituals added it to the puja.
After bathing of the Shiv Linga, vermilion paste applied on it which represents the virtue.
Offer fruits, flowers which are given to get long life and satisfaction of desires.
Burning enrage yields wealth.
The lighting with diya represents achieving more knowledge.
Offering betel leaves provide satisfaction full of great pleasures.
Worshipers also apply three horizontal lines of holy ash on their forehead just like the Lord Shiva which represents spiritual knowledge, cleanliness and penance. They wear garland made up of the Rudraksha (seed of Rudraksha tree) while worshiping the Lord Shiva. It is believed that Rudraksha tree was originated from the tears of Lord Shiva. Shivaratri is also considered as the wedding day of the Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati.

Bathing the Phallus:-


The phallus symbol representing Shiva is called the lingam. It is usually made of granite, soapstone, quartz, marble or metal, and has a 'yoni' or vagina as its base representing the union of organs. Devotees circumambulate the lingam and worship it throughout the night. It is bathed every three hours with the 5 sacred offerings of a cow, called the 'panchagavya' - milk, sour milk, urine, butter and dung. Then the 5 foods of immortality - milk, clarified butter, curd, honey and sugar are placed before the lingam. Datura fruit and flower, though poisonous, are believed to be sacred to Shiva and thus offered to him.

Sahasrakalasabishekam:-


This is a very special and rare puja conducted during 10 days of Maha Sivarathri festival. It is well known that Lord Siva is abhishekapriya (lover of ablutions). Lord Parasurama and Kroshta Muni, during their worship of the Lord here, are believed to have bathed the deity with Sahasrakalasam or a thousand pots of holy water according to Vedic rites. Now during Mahasivarathri festival days the Head Priest (Thanthri) and his team perform this puja. It is a ten-day function, each day an offering of 101 Kalasam or pots of holy water (100 being made of silver, while one is made of gold), surcharged with mantras recited by learned Brahmins seated on the Mukhamantapam. These are emptied on the deity, the golden pot Brahmakalasam being the last one. A magnificent light is the indication or identity of Lord Shiva and the Shiva Lingam is considered to be the symbol of it. Hence, the formal worship on Maha Shivaratri consists of bathing the Shiva Lingam. Lord Shiva is said to be burning with the fire of austerity and so only those items are offered to Him that have a cooling effect. A cool water bath is believed to propitiate Him best. There is a belief among devotees that participation in Sahasrakalasam and offering holy worship materials, will lead to blessings with prosperity and peaceful life. Hundreds of devotees thronging the shrine with chants of "Namah Shivaya", "Hara hara Mahadeva", and "Sambho Mahadeva"...

Sivarathri Nrutham:-


Sivarathri Nrutham at Thrikkuratti temple, according to religious scholars, resembles the cosmic dance of Shiva, called ‘Anandatandava,' meaning, 'the Dance of Bliss' symbolising the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death. The dance is a pictorial allegory of the five principle manifestations of eternal energy – creation, destruction, preservation, salvation, and illusion.
The Priest keeps sheeveli vigraha (idol) fixed on decorated frame on his head. He makes seven rounds on Pradakshina Vazhi (holy walkway made of granite around Sanctum Santorum). When the fifth round is reached at the west nada (Parvathi nada), the door opens for just 10 minutes. This is an annual ceremony. Thousands of Pilgrims rush to have a glance of this auspicious moment. At this time all the pradakshina vazhi will be lit with camphor and brass temple lamps by thousands of devotes who stay awake through the night while chanting "Nama Sivaya", "Hara Hara Mahadeva" and "Sambho Mahadeva". Older devotees sing "Hara sankara siva sankara duritham kala sivane". In this enlightened serene mood, the Priest performs Nrutham and runs the pradakshina vazhi towards the east nada. During the next two rounds he accepts "Valiya kanikka". The Sivarathri Nrutham is followed by the well known magnificent display of fireworks.

Panchaakshari:-


Shiva, as the god of destroying evil, is the third among the divine trinity of Hindu mythology. The holy mantra consisting of five-syllables: "Na" "Ma" "Shi" "Vaa" "Ya" (Om NamaH Shivaaya) in praise of Lord Shiva is chanted incessantly on special occasions like Shivaratri. His thousands of names, each of which describe His greatness, may also be chanted. Shiva means "auspicious". As Shankara, He is the giver of happiness to all. Nataraja (the king of dancers) is a favourite form adored by dancers and musicians.

Rudrabhisheka:-


There is a special set of mantras in the Vedas, "Rudra Sukta (Rudri)", which is recited by Bramhan/pundits (priests) while they offer a holy bath to the Shiva-lingam, with the waters of sacred rivers like the Ganges, cow milk, curd (yoghurt), ghee, honey and sugar powder. This ritual, known as "Rudrabhisheka", is an important part of Shiva-puja.

Shiva Rituals:-


On the day of Shivratri, a three-tiered platform is built around a fire. The topmost plank represents 'swargaloka' (heaven), the middle one 'antarikshaloka' (space) and the bottom one 'bhuloka' (earth). Eleven 'kalash' or urns, are kept on the 'swargaloka' plank symbolizing the 11 manifestations of the 'Rudra' or destructive Shiva. These are decorated with the leaves of 'bilva' or 'bael' (Aegle marmelos) and mango atop a coconut representing the head of Shiva. The uncut shank of the coconut symbolizes his tangled hair and the three spots on the fruit Shiva's three eyes.

Festival Significant for Women :-


Shivratri is considered especially auspicious for women. Married women pray for the well being of their husbands and sons, while unmarried women pray for an ideal husband like Shiva, who is the spouse of Kali, Parvati and Durga. But generally it is believed that anyone who utters the name of Shiva during Shivratri with pure devotion is freed from all sins. He or she reaches the abode of Shiva and is liberated from the cycle of birth and death.

Vrat Vidhi:-


 One day before Shivaratri Vratam, most likely on Trayodashi, devotees should eat only one time. On Shivaratri day, after finishing morning rituals devotees should take Sankalp (संकल्प) to observer full day fast on Shivaratri and to take food next day. During Sankalp devotees pledge for self-determination throughout the fasting period and seek blessing of Lord Shiva to finish the fast without any interference. Hindu fasts are strict and people pledge for self-determination and seek God blessing before starting them to finish them successfully. 

On Shivaratri day devotees should take second bath in the evening before doing Shiva Puja or visiting temple. Shiva Puja should be done during night and devotees should break the fast next day after taking bath. Devotees should break the fast between sunrise and before the end of Chaturdashi Tithi to get maximum benefit of the Vrat. According to one contradictory opinion devotees should break the fast only when Chaturdashi Tithi gets over. But it is believed that both Shiva Puja and Parana (पारणा) i.e. breaking the fast should be done within Chaturdashi Tithi. 

Shivaratri puja can be performed one time or four times during the night. The whole night duration can be divided into four to get four Prahar (प्रहर) to perform Shiva Puja four times.

Ratri First Prahar Puja Time = 18:24 to 21:28
Ratri Second Prahar Puja Time = 21:28 to 24:32+
Ratri Third Prahar Puja Time = 24:32+ to 27:35+
Ratri Fourth Prahar Puja Time = 27:35+ to 30:39+


 Story Of King Chitrabhanu:-


   In the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata, Bhishma, whilst resting on the bed of arrows and discoursing on Dharma, refers to the observance of Maha Shivaratri by King Chitrabhanu. The story goes as follows - Once upon a time King Chitrabhanu of the Ikshvaku dynasty, who ruled over the whole of Jambudvipa, was observing a fast with his wife, it being the day of Maha Shivaratri. The sage Ashtavakra came on a visit to the court of the king.

   The sag asked the king the purpose of his observing the past. King Chitrabhanu explained that he had the gift of remembering the incidents of his previous birth.

   The king said to the sage that in his previous he was a hunter in Varanasi and his name was Suswara. His only livelihood was to kill and sell birds and animals. One day while roaming through forests in search of animals he was overtaken by the darkness of night. Unable to return home, he climbed a tree for shelter. It happened to be a Bael tree. He had shot a deer that day but had no time to take it home. So he bundled it up and tied it to a branch on the tree. As hunger and thirst tormented him, he was kept awake throughout the night. He shed profuse tears when he thought of his poor wife and children who were starving and anxiously waiting for his return. To pass away the time that night he engaged himself in plucking the Bael leaves and dropping them down onto the ground.

   The next day he returned home and sold the deer and then bought some food for himself and his family. The moment he was about to break his fast a stranger came to him, begging for food. He served the food first to stranger and then had his own.

   At the time of his death, he saw two messengers of Lord Shiva. They were sent down to conduct his soul to the abode of Lord Shiva. He learnt then for the first time of the great merit he had earned by the unconscious worship of Lord Shiva during the night of Shivaratri. The messengers told him that there was a Lingam at the bottom of the tree. The leaves I dropped fell on the Lingam. His tears, which had shed out of pure sorrow for his family, fell onto the Lingam and washed it and he had fasted all day and all night. Thus, he unconsciously worshiped the Lord.

   As the conclusion of the tale the King said that he lived in the abode of the Lord and enjoyed divine bliss for long ages and now he has reborn as Chitrabhanu.

Places it is celebrated:-

Maha Shivaratri is celebrated in many parts of both North India and South India. In North, Kashmiris celebrated Shivaratri as it is their major festivals. Similarly, it is celebrated in other northern states. In South India, it is celebrated in all the states. Shiva is considered as the 'Guru' of Yogis. Artists and dancers perform all night because it is believed Shiva can grant physical and spiritual boons. Apart from this, there are twelve Jyotirlingas (lingams of light) that are centers for Shiva worship. They are called Swayambhus that denotes places were these Lingams are said to have sprung on their own, miraculously. They are Somnath, Mallikarjuna, Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar, Kedarnath, Bhimashankar, Kashi Vishwanath, Trimbakeshwar, Vaijyanath, Nageshvara, Rameshwar and Grishneshwar.

Significance of Magha maasam



Magha maasam :-

Magha maasam is the 11th month of Hindu lunar calendar. Makha nakshtram (star) falls on the pournami day of this month. This month is considered auspicious to perform all the major occasions like marriage, upanayanam (thread ceremony), house warming etc. One year on the earth is considered as one day in the higher abode and this month starts the dawn of the day to the Gods. Deepa daanam (lighting a lamp) is auspicious in Karthika maasam and magha snanam (holy dips in holy rivers) is the major ritual of magha maasam.There are many auspicious and religious events during the month. Some of them are given here.

In lunar calendars, Maagh may begin on either the new moon or the full moon around the same time of year, and is usually the eleventh month of the year. Its is named because in this month, The full moon is usually found nearby or within the star cluster called "Magha"
In solar calendars, Maagh begins with the Sun's entry into Capricorn, and is usually the tenth month of the year.

Religious Significance of Magha Maasam:-

It is believed that the Hindu Goddess of wisdom and learning - Goddess Saraswati, the Sun God or Surya Bhagawan  and Lord Shiva in the lingam form were born in this month.  On the fifth day in the brighter half of the moon, Basant Panchami or Saraswati Pooja is celebrated across the country. Hence the month is particularly dedicated to Lord Surya and people worship Sun god on the four Sundays of Maagha maasam. Reciting Aditya Hrudyam on the four Sundays of the month would be very effective.

Social significance of Maagha maasam:-

Maagha maasam in India marks the beginning of the most awaited spring season and the end of the  dry winter season.  As the nature starts blooming once again with the growth of fresh new leaves and flowers all around, this is the most favorite season of the people.

Magha snanam:-

While Kartheeka masam is given lot of significance for lighting of lamps, Maagha masam is given special significance for taking bath that is known as Maagha Snanam.  It generally starts from Pushya sukla Pournami and ends with Magha sukla Pournami or it can also be from Makara Sankramana to Kumbha Sankramana as per Solar/Luni-Solar calendar. For followers of lunar calendar it starts from Pushya Bahula Amaavaasya and ends with Maagha Bahula Amaavaasya.  During this period it is prescribed to take bath early in the morning before Sunrise preferably during Arunodaya kala. This sacred bath is preferred to be taken in any river, lake or theertha or at least at home. Apart from the daily routine (Nithya Karma) special arghya is to be given to Lord Madhava and Sun God after Maagha Snanam.

Advantages of Maagha Snanam in sea water:-

In the earlier months to Magha Masam, on account of cold and snow, the body becomes weak because of lack proper sunshine, etc. In Magha Masam the Sun rays provide more heat and they energize the Sea and River Waters destroying the bacteria in the waters. Common salt also acts as an antibiotic and necessary for our body to cleanse the skin. Taking these factors into consideration, our Sages prescribed that one should perform Samudra Snanam and spend in Sea waters for a period of one Ghadiya (48 minutes) in Magha Masam. By this the energy of sun rays embedded in the water spreads into our body. Taking a bath in sea waters for about 48 minutes refreshes us by cleansing our external body opening the roma coupams and a lot of significance has been added from spiritual point of view in the daily routine of an Individual. The benefits are multiple when sea bath is taken in Magha Masam.

Festivals in Magha maasam:-

Vasantha Panchami:-

Vasantha Panchami also known as Sri Panchami. Goddess Saraswathi, the presiding deity of Akshara Gyana, the female Divine energy of Learning, Knowledge and Wisdom is said to have born on this auspicious day of Sri Panchami. Dedicated to Vaakk Devi (Goddess Saraswathi) this day is considered to be highly auspicious day especially for Aksharabhyasa (inducting a child into education).  Goddess Saraswathi is to be worshipped on this day to get rid of our sluggishness, lethargy and ignorance.

Bhishma Ekadasi:-

The popular belief is that the Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram (thousand names dedicated to Lord Vishnu) was revealed to the Pandavas on this day by Bhisma, the great grand father in the Mahabharata. Bhishma was lying in a bed of arrows after the Great War in Mahabharat when he revealed the thousand names of Bhishma.

The Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram was revealed to Pandavas by Bhishma in the presence of Lord Krishna, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that listening to Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram leads to Moksha.
This particular period (January to February) in a traditional Hindu calendar has numerous auspicious dates dedicated to Bhishma in various regions in India. Some of the important days are Bhishma Ashtami, Bhisma Dwadasi and Bhishma Ekadasi. It is believed that Bhishma chose this period to leave his body and merge with Brahman.

Ratha Sapthami:-

Ratha means chariot. Sapthami is a thithi in a lunar month falling on the 7th day of both sukla and Krishna paksha. At the time of division of constellations each day or thithi is attributed to one deity/God. In the process Sapthami thithi was allotted to Sun God and hence it is his favourite day.

On this day of Ratha Sapthami, Northern movement of the Sun God is supposed to take definite effect after he commenced his journey towards Northern hemisphere entering Makara Raasi on Makara Sankramana Day. Traditionally it is regarded as the day on which the chariot of the Sun God is diverted towards the north by his charioteer called Aruna. On this day it is believed that Sun God ride on his chariot drawn by seven horses and move toward north east direction bringing the entry of spring season.

It is also believed and said that the chariot of Sun has only one wheel that represents kalachakra and the seven horses represent seven colours of light (VIBGYOR). It is also believed that the seven horses represent seven days in the week starting from Sunday the day dedicated to Sun God. The entire kala-chakra, or wheel of time, is established on the wheel of the sun-god's chariot. This wheel is known as Samvatsara. He is the lord of Leo in the Zodiac. He stays one month in each Raasi and takes 365 days or 12 months to complete a round of 12 Rasis.

Bath with Arka Leaves:-

 It is an age old custom and tradition that people on this day take special bath with seven Arka leaves by keeping one on the head, two on the shoulders, two on the knees and two on the feet. Arka is commonly called as Jilledu in Telugu, Ekka in Kannada, Erukku in Tamil, and Calotrope (bowstring hemp) in English.

Bhishmaastami:-

It is associated with Bhishma Pitamaha, the most revered and grandiose character of the great Epic, Mahabharata. It was on this day Bhishma had his last breath and this day is commemorated as the day of his Niryana. Bhishmaastami occurs on the 8th day (Ashtami) of the bright fortnight (Sukla Paksha) in Magha Masam, the day after Ratha Sapthami.

 Sri Madhwa Navami:-

It will falling on the 9th day of Lunar month of Magha Masam during the bright fortnight is associated with Sri Madhwacharya one of the greatest Hindu Saints and Philosophers who was the founder and exponent of Dvaita Philosophy. It is said that it was on this day in the year 1317 AD, Sri Madhvacharya while teaching his disciples at Udupi Sri Anantheshwara Temple, suddenly a heap of flowers were showered on him and he disappeared from that heap of flowers not to be seen later. It is considered as the day He entered the Badarikasrama.

Maagha Purnima:-

The full moon day in Maagha masam is celebrated as Maha Maaghi. This day marks the end of Maagha Snana vratham. It is said and believed that any Divine worship, prayer, charity or rites performed on this day are highly meritorious that gives significant results. Thilapaathra Danam is prescribed to be given to a Brahmin on this day of Mahamaaghi. Taking bath in a sea on this day is considered as highly meritorious.

 Maha Shivarathri:-

It is a festival dedicated to Lord Shiva occurs on the 13th /14th day of dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) in Magha Masam coinciding with Chaturdasi thithi. Worshipping Lord Shiva on this day of Maha Shivarathri is considered as highly meritorious and sin remover. Special celebrations are held on the eve of Maha Shivarathri at all the holy Shiva Kshetras where lakhs of people gather to offer their obeisance and salutations to Lord Shiva the great destroyer of sins and the most benevolent God.

Sunday associated with Amaavaasya + Sravana Nakshatra + Vyatheepatha Yoga + in the lunar month of Pushya or Maagha is referred to as Ardhodhaya which is considered to be a very sacred day, a parvakala that occurs very rarely that is more meritorious than an eclipse. Maagha Bahula Amaavasya associated with Satabhisha star is considered as highly sacred and meritorious. According to Dharmasindhu by performing Pithru Shraaddha on this day, Pithrus (ancestors) gets pleased for ten thousand years.


Brahma in Hindu Mythology:-

According to Hindu Mythology Lord Brahma is the creator of this universe and he was born from a Lotus emerging from the naval of Lord Vishnu. According to another account, the self-existent Lord Brahma created waters and deposited a seed that became a Golden Egg from which He was born and He divided the Golden Egg into two parts consisting of Heaven and Earth and later created Prajapatis who created the mankind. As per Valmiki Ramayanam, Lord Brahma separated himself into male and female after dividing the Golden Egg and from them sprang the Sages Kasyapa, Marichi, Manu, etc., and Brahma Manasaputras who created the rest of the mankind.

Mythology describes that Brahma had originally five heads and one of them was cut down by Lord Shiva in his anger. Later Brahma had four heads facing the four sides representing the four Vedas, the four Yugas and the four Varnas. Lord Brahma is visualised as sitting on a Swan (Hamsa) and the Swan stands for wisdom and discrimination. He is also shown riding a chariot drawn by seven Swans, representing seven worlds. The temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in Ajmere and the icons here and there in other temples show his viswakarma aspect with four heads, the four arms holding rosary, the book, the kush and a kamandal and riding on a Swan.

No worship of lord Brahma:-

Inspite of the fact that Lord Brahma is one of the Trimurtis and creator of Mankind, there are no temples dedicated to Lord Brahma and there is no daily worship, except the temple at Pushkar in Rajasthan. According to Puranas, Lord Brahma lied to Lord Shiva that he had seen the top portion of the Jwala jyothirlingam and for this spoken untruth Lord Shiva cursed that Lord Brahma is unfit to be worshipped in Bhoolokam and since then worship of Brahma ceased to exist. It is believed that Brahma cult existed in prevedic Sanathana Dharma period and later the Shiva-Vishnu-Sakti cult spread making the Brahma cult redundant.

Our Puranas describe that Sages, Devotees, Devathas and Rakshasas are worshipping first Lord Brahma and performing penace to obtain boons from him. It is believed that pleasing Lord Brahma with penace is easier and he blesses quickly. Most of the Demon Kings worshipped Lord Brahma and obtained very Great Boons and became stronger than Devathas and other demigods. It is unfortunate that the worship of such easily pleased God of Lord Brahma was prohibited in Bhoolokam.