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Happy Mahashivratri
Mahashivratri - महाशिवरात्रि "Om Namah ShivaY"

Dear Shiva Devotees, I wish you all a very happy Mahashivratri. May the blessings of Lord Shiva be with you and your life be full of happiness, prosperity and peace.
Follow this steps to please Lord Shiva

On the day of Maha Shivaratri, Maa Parvati performed strict penance for Lord Shiva.

Rituals on Lord Shiva*
As a tradition, devotees wake up early in the morning of the Mahashivratri day and take a ritual sunrise bath, preferably in the holy waters of river Ganga. They also offer prayers to the Sun God, Vishnu and Shiva as a part of a purification rite observed on all-important Hindu festivals. After wearing fresh new clothes devotees visit the nearest Shiva Temple to give the customary bath to the Shivalinga.

During this period, Shiva temples are swarmed by devotees, mainly women, who seek blessings of Lord Shiva by performing traditional Shiva linga pooja. As a ritual, circumambulation around Shiva linga for three or seven times and pouring water or milk over linga is done.

Shivling Abhishek on Mahashivratri
Following the rituals prescribed in the Shiva Purana, every three hours, Shivalingam is given a special bath with milk, yoghurt, honey, sandalwood paste and rose water. Puja, meditation and chanting of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ accompany the ritual bath. Following the bath, vermilion paste is applied on the linga. Traditionally, leaves of a forest tree Aegle marmelos (bilwa, maredu, wood apple) are used for Shiva Puja. Thereafter, Bilwa leaves, which have to be a stalk with three leaves, is kept on top of the Shivalinga. Ber or jujube fruit is a special offering to the god on this day. Beetle leaves are also offered by some. Some also offer bilwa leaves in the belief that the Goddess Lakshmi resides in them. Others believe it is offered for its cooling effects on the hot-tempered deity. Many devotees also decorate the linga with flowers and garlands and offer incense sticks and fruit.

How to Worship Lord Shiva on Mahashivaratri
Those who seek blessings by offering prayer to Lord Shiva continue to pray all through the night of Maha Shivaratri. Devotees stay awake all night and spend the night in Shiva temples or where they are offering Puja in worship of Lord Shiva. Singing of hymns and verses in praise and devotion of Lord Shiva besides the intense chanting of Om Namah Shivay, the mantra that is said free people from all their sins, continue through the night on Shivaratri.

During this ritual worship, Lord Shiva is offered special food made from the fruits of the season, root vegetables and coconuts. Those who observe Shivaratri Fast break their fast the next morning by consuming the prasad offered to Shiva.

Mahashivaratri Pujas and other rituals-
Pujas are performed as per instructions written in Shiva Purana. It is said to perform ritual puja of Shiva Linga every three hours all through the day and night of Shivaratri. During this pooja, followers chant mantra of “Om Namah Shivaya”. It is followed by bath with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water that helps in the purification of the soul. Also a vermilion paste is applied on the Linga. These six items form an indispensable part of Shivaratri, be it a simple ceremony at home or grand temple worship

After this, Bilwa leaves, which have to be a stalk with three leaves, is kept on top of the Shivalinga to cool the hot-tempered deity. Ber or jujube fruit is also offered to Lord Shiva, as it symbolises longevity and gratification of desires. Some devotees also offer the auspicious betel leaves to Lord Shiva marking satisfaction with worldly pleasures. Devotees also burn incense sticks as is said to yield wealth. Many light lamps to symbolize attainment of knowledge. It is believed following the ritual of of offering water, embracing Linga, illuminating diya & incense and ringing the temple bells, devotees call into focus all their senses, making them acutely aware of themselves and the universe to which they belong.

This ritual worship of Lord Shiva continues through the day and night of Shivaratri. It is needless to say devotees stay awake and spent the night in Shiva temples by chanting the Universal mantra of lord Shiva ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and singing hymns and verses in his praise.

Auspicious Muhurat timings on Mahashivaratri
1st prahar: 8:00 pm
2nd prahar: 9:44 pm
3rd Prahar: 00:52am
4th prahar: 4:00am

Hymns and Mantras that please Lord Shiva
The best mantra is Maha Mrityunjay Mantra from the Sukla Yajurveda Samhita III. 60.

|| Om Trayambakam Yajaamahe Suganghim Pushtivardhanam

Urvaarukmiva Bandhanaan Mrityor Mokshiya Mamritaat ||

The meaning of the Mantra is as follows

I worship thee, O sweet Lord of transcendental vision (the three -eyed one or Lord Siva). O giver of health and prosperity to all, may I be free from the bonds of death, just as a melon (or cucumber) is severed effortlessly from its bondage or attachment to the creeper.

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Shiva and Shakti  शिव और शक्ति
Typically, Shakti is associated with Shiva. Mother Shakti or Durga is the energy aspect of the Lord. Without Shakti, Shiva has no expression; and, without Shiva, Shakti has no existence. Shakti is identical with Shiva. Lord Shiva is only the Silent Witness. He is motionless, absolutely changeless. He enjoys the cosmic play and Shakti does everything.

Shiva is omnipotent, impersonal, inactive. He is pure consciousness. Shakti is dynamic. The power, or active aspect, of the immanent God is Shakti. Shakti is the embodiment of power. She is the eternal consort of Lord Shiva.

There is no difference between Shiva and Shakti. Shakti or Durga is co-existent with Shiva. Just as you cannot separate heat from fire, so also you cannot separate Sakti from Shiva, the Generator of Shakti. Note that Shiva is not creator of Shakti but he only generates. Shiva is transcendent divinity and Shakti is the one who made him that. Siva and Sakti are one. Shiva is always with Sakti. They are inseparable. Worship of Durga or Parvati or Kali is worship of Lord Shiva. Worship of God Shiva is Worship of Goddess Shakti.

♥ Om Namah Shivay ♥ Jai Shiv Shakti ♥
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