Mahashivratri is one of the biggest festivals for Hindus. As per the South India Panchangam (Amavasyant Panchang), Maha Shivratri is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight in the Magha month. On the other hand, as per the almanack of North India (Purnimant Panchang), the festival of Maha Shivaratri is observed on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight in the Falgun month.
As per the Panchangam of both North and South, Mahashivaratri occurs on the same day. Hence, according to Gregorian Calendar, India’s date remains the same. On this day, devotees of Shiva worship him by offering Bael leaves to the Shivling, keeping fast, and staying awake the whole night.
Mahashivratri Vrat Rules According To Scriptures
To observe Mahashivratri Vrat (fasting), the following rules are mentioned in our scriptures:
- If the entire Nishithkaal is coming under Chaturdashi Tithi (fourteenth day per Hindu Panchang) on the very first day, Mahashivratri is celebrated on the same day. Therefore, the eighth Muhurat of the night is called Nishith Kaal. In other words, if the eighth Muhurat of the night falls under Chaturdashi Tithi on the first day, Mahashivratri is only celebrated that day.
- If, on the next day, Chaturdashi Tithi touches the first part of the Nishithkaal and on the first day the Nishith Kaal is entirely coming under Chaturdashi Tithi, Mahashivratri is celebrated on the first day.
- Apart from the two conditions mentioned above, the fast will always be observed the next day.
Legend Behind Mahashivratri Vrat
Many stories are famous about Shivaratri. As per the descriptions, Goddess Parvati had undergone a tough penance to get Shiva in her life as her husband. Mythological texts say that because of her hard efforts, Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati got married on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of Falgun. This is the reason why Mahashivratri is considered very much important as well as auspicious.
Apart from this, Garuda Purana mentions the importance of this day with a different story. One day, a hunter went out to hunt with his dog, but he got nothing. Being tired and starved, he sat down near a pond. There was a Shiva Lingam under a Bilva tree. To give some rest to his body, he took some leaves from that tree. By chance, some of them fell over the Shiv Ling. After that, he sprinkled the water from the pond over his feet to clean them. Eventually, some of the water also got sprinkled over the Shiv Lingam. While doing all this, one of his arrows fell. To pick it up, he bowed down in front of the Shivalingam. Like this, he unintentionally completed the entire Shiva Puja process on the day of Shivaratri. After his death, when Yamadoot came to take his soul, people from Shiva’s army came to protect him.
If the unintentional worship of Shiva on the day of Mahashivratri gives such an amazing result, how will it bless us if we do it intentionally?
Mahashivratri Vrat Puja Vidhi
Fill an earthen pot with water or milk. Put some Bael leaves, flowers of Datura-Aak, rice, etc., in it and then offer it on Shiva Ling. If there is no Shiv temple, then worship should be done by creating a Shivaling with mud at home.
- On this day, one should recite Shiv Purana and chant Mahamrityunjaya or a 5-letter Mantra of Shiva Om Namah Shivaya. Additionally, one should stay awake throughout the night of Mahashivratri.
- Per the classical rituals, the best time to perform Mahashivratri Pujan is?Nishith Kaal. However, devotees can perform the Puja during all 4 Prahars of the night at their convenience.
Astrological Viewpoint On Mahashivratri
Lord of the Chaturdashi Tithi (fourteenth day per Hindu Panchang) is Shiva himself. That is why every Hindu month, the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight is celebrated as Masik Shivratri (the monthly night of the Shiva). In astrological classics, this day is considered extremely auspicious. As per the calculations of the mathematical part of astrology, Mahashivratri takes place when Sun gets in Uttarayana and the change of season also goes on. Astrology says that on the fourteenth day, Moon gets weaker. As Lord Shiva has established Moon over his forehead, worshipping Him empowers the Moon of the worshipper. As Moon is the significator of the mind, it gives an additional benefit. In other words, worshipping Shiva strengthens the will-power and induces indomitable courage and toughness in the devotee.