Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri

Rituals : Shivratri is celebrated in Phalguna (February-March) starting at about 5 P.M. and ending at 4 A.M. the next day Shiva is invoked by the chanting of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and recitation of ‘Shiva Ashtottara Namavali” and other sacred hymns. The Linga is worshipped throughout the night by bathing it every three hours successively in milk, yogurt, clarified butter, honey and finally in sacred water. After bathing, the Linga is decked with Alankaras  (decorations) like Vastra (dress), Abharana, (Jewelry), Pushpa (Flowers) Vibhuti (Sacred Ash) and Phala (fruits). Puja (rituals of worship) are then performed with flowers and leaves (Bilva Patra) and finally other offerings are made and sacred hymns are recited to bless the devotees

Legend & Stories : Lord Shiva, one of the most worshiped Gods for boons is manifested in different forms like Nataraja, Ardhanareeswara, Neelakantha, Gangadhara etc to symbolize the various powers of Nature controlling the activities on earth. One such manifestation is LINGA, which is considered as formless in the ordinary sense to make mankind aware of the birth of the Universe in Eternal Time. Maha Shivratri is the day when such a form was created by the great sages of India. It is also considered as the wedding anniversary of Shiva and his consort Parvati. The unmarried girls pray for handsome husbands and the married pray for sharing happiness with their husbands. This is also considered a day when Shiva swallowed poison and retained it in his throat to save the world from destruction. Hence people fast, pray, and practice Jagaran (all-night vigil) on this occasion.

Sahasrakalasabishekam : This is a very special and rare puja conducted during 10 days of Mahasivarathri 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.

Sivarathri Nrutham : Sivarathri Nrutham at Thrikkuratti temple, according to religious scholars, resembles the cosmic dance of Shiva, called ‘Anandatandava,' meaning, ‘the Dance of Bliss’ symbolizing 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.

Mahasivarathri Procession : On Sivarathri day evening a grand procession starts from Kadapra Kainikkara Temple. It includes, several decorated floats, Kaavadi Aaatam, Mayilattom, Amman Kudom, Thaiyyam, Vela Kali, Kuthiyotta Chuvadu, richly caparisoned elephants and folk art forms etc. attracts thousands of devotees and tourists. When the main procession reaches Market Junction, other mini processions from Kurattikkadu Mutharamman Temple, Kurattissery Kannamkavil Mutharamman Temple, Thrippavoor Mahavishnu Temple, Vishavarsherikkara Subrahmanya Swami temple and Alumoodu Sivaparvathy Temple joins and makes the procession quite livening.

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.

Rudra Abhisheka : There is a special mantra in the Vedas (the most ancient scripture in the history of human race and which forms the fountain-head of the Hindu culture) - Rudra Sukta - which is recited by pundits while they offer a holy bath to Lord Shiva by way of washing a Shiva-linga or a Shaligrama which are the symbols of god with the waters of sacred rivers like the Ganges. This ritual is known as "Rudrabhisheka". A Shaligrama constitutes a sacred pebble that often conceals ammonite fossils within. Such precious stones are brought from the river Gandaki at the frozen summits of the Himalayas.

Mysticism : According to the mystic mythology of the Puraanaas, the Kailasa peak of the Himalayas is the abode of Shiva and He bears the Ganges on His head. As the Lord of creatures, He is metaphorically called as Pashupathi (with Nandi, the bull, His favourite animal) and His fearful nature is euphemised as Sarpabhushana. Shiva's posture in the meditation is ascribed to Him as the head of Yogis (Yogiraja) who practises various spiritual feats to attain salvation. Lord Shiva's divine consort, Goddess Parvati (who is also the daughter of Himalaya), is the deity of strength. Numerous stories in mythology describe the births of their two sons - Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya (or Guha or Shanmukha or Skanda or Murugha) and their various significances.
Mrtyunjaya Mahaa Mantra : The Mrtyunjaya-maha-mantra, which is found in the Rudram, eradicates diseases, pain, sufferings and death:

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगंधिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् ।
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्मृत्योर्मुक्षिय माऽमृतात् ॥

OM tryambakam yajaamahe 
sugandhim pushtivardhanam. I
urvaarukamiva bandhanaan

mrutyormukshiya maaamrritaat.. II

Meaning : I worship Lord Shiva the three-eyed one, who is full of fragrance and who nourishes all beings; may He liberate me from the death (of ignorance), for the sake of immortality (of knowledge and truth), just as the ripe cucumber is severed from its bondage (the creeper).

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