Vedic Holiday: Maha Shivaratri – Overcoming Darkness and Ignorance
Monday March 4
The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra “Om Tryambhakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam Urvarukamiva Bandhanan Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat”
Sukla Yajurveda Samhita III. 60.
Maha Shivaratri is the most auspicious day of the entire year to worship Lord Shiva and receive his most compassionate grace. On this day, Lord Shiva’s complete grace showers down upon the entire Earth. While the Western communities may have difficulty relating to Vedic deities, they are largely symbolic.
Shiva, always painted blue, represents the unbounded transcendental value of the Divine that is experienced in the deepest point of meditation when there is only unbounded awareness. Hence, this holiday is embraced with the notion of merging into the Divine in total Unity. It is a major festival in Vedic culture and is a very solemn holiday that marks a remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life and the world.
The planets most connected to Shiva are the Sun and Jupiter. If you have those planets in your 5th house you may have a strong inclination to Shiva. In the Karakamsha Navamsha chart (rotated D-9 chart around the Atma Karaka), if you have Sun or Jupiter in the 12th house or aspecting it by Rashi Drishtri, then Shiva is your Ishtadevata and this is a special day for you.
In India, people stay up all night to do pujas and sing in order to transform and receive Grace.
For thousands of years, spiritual seekers have sought Lord Shiva’s blessings on this day by engaging in various practices dedicated to him. Meditation, maintaining silence, repeating Shiva mantras, singing Shiva stotras and bhajans, or performing worship (puja) are all excellent forms of practice (sadhana) during Maha Shivaratri.
It is said that those who worship Lord Shiva, especially on Maha Shivaratri, will receive his grace in the form of true wealth, wisdom, peace, inner healing, spiritual virtues, and divine courage.
There is also a special practice, or vow (vrata), that many devotees of Lord Shiva undertake at the time of Maha Shivaratri. This practice involves fasting and staying awake for the entire night, making sure to worship Lord Shiva during every quarter of the night until dawn breaks. This practice is very powerful for inner purification and makes it possible to absorb the abundant divine energy that is available to all on this night.
The Shiva Mantra is a prayer for rejuvenation that bestows wealth, health, long life, peace, prosperity and contentment. The spoken chant is a vibration that when spoken, wards off all negative and evil forces, creating a shield of protection against accidents and misfortune and ignites a fire within every cell and molecule of the body to energetically consume all negativity, thus, the mantra is very purifying.
The power of the mantra is in connecting us with our own inner divinity. You can use the mantra anytime during your meditation or spiritual practices to discover or enhance the happiness that is already within you. Happy Maha Shiva Ratri