Sawan Maha Shivaratri 2019: History and Significance
On Sawan Maha Shivratri people do fasting, rudra abhishek and worship Lord Shiva to seek his blessings. According to the Hindu calendar, Maha Shivratri falls in the month of July and August every year. In 2019, it falls on 30 July.
It is said that Shivratri is the amalgamation of two strong forces in the universe that is Shiva and Goddess Shakti. Shiva is known as the God of death and Goddess Shakti as a power who vanish evil powers.
Sawan Maha Shivratri: History
According to Puranas several stories and legends describe the origin of Shivratri festival.
One story says, during Samudra Manthan, a pot emerged from the ocean which consists of poison. All the Gods and demons were terrified that this will destroy the entire world and so, Gods ran to Lord Shiva for the help. To protect the entire world from the evil effects, Shiva drank the entire poison and held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. Due to this, his throat becomes blue and so he is also known as Neelakantha. Shivratri is celebrated as an event due to which Shiva saved the world.
Another story which is mentioned in the Shiv Purana is: Once upon a time Brahma and Vishnu were fighting among themselves that who is superior among the two. Other Gods were terrified and so they went to Lord Shiva to intervene in the war. To make them realise about the futility of their fight, Shiva took the form of massive fire that spread across the length of universe. By seeing the magnitude, both the Gods decided to find one end each to establish the supremacy over the other. So, for this Brahma assumed the form of a swan and went upwards on the other hand Vishnu assumed as Varaha and went into the earth. But fire has no limit and they searched thousands of miles but couldn't found the end. On the journey of upwards, Brahma came across a Ketaki flower. He asked Ketaki from where she had come; Ketaki replied that she had been placed at the top of the fiery column as an offering. Brahma could not find the upper limit and took the flower as a witness and came.
At this, Shiva revealed the true form and became angry. Brahma did not find the uppermost limit and told lie. So, he was punished by Shiva for telling a lie and cursed that no one will pray him. Even Ketaki flower was banned from being used as an offering for any worship. Since it was on the 14th day in the dark half month of Phalguna when Shiva first manifested himself in the form of a Linga, the day is especially auspicious and is celebrated as Maha Shivratri. Worshipping Shiva on this day is believed to bestow one with happiness and prosperity.
According to another popular legend, Shiva granted Goddess Paravati, an avatar of Shakti and wished to marry him as he was impressed by her devotion. On moonless night, the goddess observed fast for his good health after their marriage. Today also, this ritual is followed by Indian woman and prays for the long life of their husbands.
Sawan Maha Shivratri is observed in several states of India like Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar.
So, Sawan Maha Shivratri is celebrated as an anniversary of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is also celebrated as a day when Shiva saved the world from the pot of poison. And also, this day marks when Brahma and Vishnu got involved in an argument about their supremacy.
Sawan Maha Shivratri: Significance
Followers and devotees of Shiva observe special puja, perform fast in several temples of Shiva across the world. They offer milk to the Shivaling and pray for moksha. Several devotees pray whole night, chant mantras in praise of Lord Shiva. Women pray to be blessed with a good husband and a happy married life. On this day, in various temples fairs and cultural programmes are organised.
Shivratri festival marks the end of the Kumbh Mela festival which is celebrated every 12 years. In 2019, the Ardh Kumbh Mela will end on 4 March. It is also believed that those people who perform puja, fast and offer prayers to Lord Shiva blessed with good luck.
So, now you may have to know about the history behind celebrating the auspicious fectival Sawan Maha Shivratri and its significance.