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Shivaratri Myths

There are numerous myths regarding the origin of Shivaratri. Most of the stories of Shivratri can be traced to the Puranas. A few important legends are detailed below. It must be noted that almost all the myths happened during night and this is one of the reason for celebrating Shivaratri during night.

Myth of Shivratri based on Vishnu and Brahma searching for the origin of Linga

Lord Vishnu and Brahma wanted to know who was superior and this led to a fight. Lord Shiva intervened and said whoever can find out the origin or end of Shivling is superior. Lord Shiva appeared before them in the form of a huge pillar of fire. Lord Vishnu went down searching and Brahma went up searching. Both traveled and traveled but never met the beginning or end.

After the futile search, Lord Vishnu and Brahma prayed to Shiva and appeared before them in the form of Jyotirlinga and this day of the appearance of Lord Shiva is celebrated as Shivratri.

The Story of Shivaratri based on Samudra Manthan

This is a famous legend on Shivaratri and happened during the churning of ocean by Devas and Asuras to get ‘Amrit.’ While churning the ocean, highly toxic poison came out and Lord Vishnu asked the ‘devas’ and ‘asuras’ to approach Lord Shiva. He agreed immediately to help them and drank the poison. In order the poison to have no effect, Lord Shiva should not sleep. So the ‘devas’ and ‘asuras’ kept praying the whole night. Pleased with the devotion Lord Shiva said ‘whoever worships me on this day will get their wishes fulfilled.’

The story of Mahashivratri and the fall of ketaki flower

This myth is similar to the appearance of the Jyotirlinga legend. Brahma went up searching for the end of the Jyotirlinga and Vishnu went down. Brahma after traveling for a while saw a ketaki flower (screw pine) dangling down. He stopped his search and took the flower and returned to Lord Shiva. Vishnu too came back soon and expressed his inability to find the beginning. But Brahma said he found the ketaki flower atop the Jyotirlinga and ketki supported it. Lord Shiva became furious and cursed ketki flower that it will not be offered in worship.

The story of Shivratri based on hunter unknowingly dropping Bilva leaves on Lingam

There once lived a tribal hunter who was a Shiva devotee. One day he lost his way while hunting and was trapped in the forest at night. Soon wild animals started to gather around him and he climbed a Bel or Bilva tree. In order to keep himself awake, he started plucking Bilva leaves and dropped it down repeating ‘Om Namah Shivaya.’ In the morning, he discovered that he had been dropping the leaves on a Shivling. And the word spread that he was saved by Lord Shiva. People started celebrating the day as Shivratri. The story is mentioned in Mahabharata by Bhismha while on the bed of arrows. The hunter was born as King Chitra bhanu who could remember his previous births. And he discussed the importance of Shivaratri with a sage.

Apart from these myths, it is said that the reunion of Lord Shiva and Parvati happened on the Shivratri day. Another legend states that Lord Shiva performed the Taandava on this day.

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Comments

  1. but i am not satisfy by this answer ... i want to know why we worship shiv lings... whats the reason behind this....if u know plz acknowledge me....
    thanks

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  2. It is said that we worship the ligham as the cosmic whole. Science now knows what the ancient sages of old always knew, the universe is egg shaped. It is way to put the formless universe into form.
    Namah Shivayah

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  3. wow!!!! i've gained a lots of knowledge about the sivaratri now...last time i used to stay awake in the shivan temple during sivarathiri..n yet i really dosen't know why does shivarathri is being celebrated..now i've knew it...and i'm feeling extremely happy bout it....
    THANKS...

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  4. About why we worship shiva in the form of linga, skanda purana narrates. Kumara sambhavam, a telugu classic was written about it. Its a long story, munis curse shiva so his lings drops on to earth and parvati takes the shape of a yoni to receive it.

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  5. the above cmmnet is true, before shiva use to take bhikshatan's near sage's ashram's.. but sage's wife useto admire shiva's beauty & were not able to takethere mind off abt it, so sage's cursed him tht you will b covered with ashe's & your lingam(male part) will fall apart,so parvathi went to earth to receive it,,so shivalingam promtly mean's prakruthi & pursha, so,worshipping shivalinga fulfills all desire's ,

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  6. Good informations on our own past and present worshipping. Atleast, we are trying to know why do we follow rituals. I always believe, there is a logical reason behind all rituals which science also support ( progessing slowly). Because most of us are science students, we are habituated to believe what science says only. But, i still believe, no matter how doubtfull we are, atleast we are reading what we want to know and that's the key..so, keep posting new informations all the time and make other people aware of logical rituals..Hari om..

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  7. Shiva ratri is celebrated to ask Shiva to come down or simply because Shiva came to earth so we celebrate it .If simply because Shiva came to earth then we should pray daily because gods were living on earth for long long years.I dont know if you know please inform me

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  8. The stories of puranas and other scriptures are not to be taken literally always . They are written with alankars. They have hidden meanings pointing to divine knowledge. And the story of curse to Shivji doesnt make any sense as it is.Right now I am not sure about the hidden meaning but I will find out. Though I do know that Shivlinga symbolises the divine fire within and also top of our head (gagan mandal)where there is niwas of Parambrahm. When a perfect master imparts divine knowledge to us then we can get connected to that divine enery and drink amrit. Amrit is symbolised in Shiv temples as contained in a pot hanging over Shiva linga and dropping over it. Similar thing is happening within us in the gagan Mandal. I have experienced it. If you also want to know Shiva truly then visit any nearest center of DJJS-http://djjs.org/contact-us/centers-india/

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  9. The means of shivaratri worship is the shivlingam atop the gouripeeth(triangle). The triangle signifies 'Prakriti' or 'Female' and the lingam signifies 'Purush' or 'Male'.
    Since all creation is the result of the male-female unification, so this idol signifies the very core of creation.

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  10. Shiv ling is symbolic and it means that Shiv or God or All that Is is light. We the children of God are created in the image and likeness of God ( represented as salagrams).
    Bilva leaves always have 3 leaves together in the shape of 2 eyes and a third eye in between.
    The third eye is the consciousness. When our third eye is opened we are God, we remember the secret of creation. It requires the bliss of lord Shiva for opening our third eye.
    Chanting Om Namahshivaya will elevate our consiousness to higher lever. Healing occurs at all dimensions and we begin to comprehend more about life and eternity

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  11. There is only one God, All that Is or the Supreme soul or the universal consciousness. We are all individual souls and souls are the splits of this universal consciousness which look at each other to experience the magnificence of the whole. Shiva is the Supreme soul and Parvathi is the soul. Shiva cannot experience himself without Parvathi. shiva is the creator and Parvathi is the created.
    The created has been bestowed powers in image and likeness of the creator. Hence each soul has its own power of creation. This chain continues. This is the inner meaning of the story which tells that we neither Brahma nor Vishnu could find the ends of shivalinga and the creation is infinite. In the macrocosm lies the microcosm and in the microcosm lies the macrocosm. Creation is continuing...

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  12. Every thing in the universe is rhythmic and this rhythm or vibration can be seen every where in the universe. This rhythm is the shiv thandava or the cosmic dance of the universe. This vibration when reproduced elevates the energy level of all animate and inanimate objects. It is the base frequency of all vibrations. Vibrations contains cycles and as the universe itself is made of these vibrations, the universe itself is cyclic like day and night, seasons, birth and death and you can see this duality in every aspects of life.
    Shiv rathri is one important phase shift of this cosmic vibration, it symbolises the movement of our consiousness from ignorance to wisdom. It shows our spiritual evolution to higher and higher levels of consiousness

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  13. Namaste Anonymous...these are really enlightening words. Thanks for providing these thoughts on the Shivratri day. Please do keep writing.

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  14. An argument ensued between both vishnu and bramha as to their superiority over one another, when there appeared before them - a huge lingam of fire - with tongues of flames blazing out of it.

    Curious to trace the origins of this column of fire, Bhrama assumed the form of a swan and flew upwards, while Vishnu assumed the form of a boar, and burrowed down into the earth. Days of search in either direction proved futile, and hence the duo surrendered to this column of fire with prayers. Shiva then appeared out of this column of fiery lingam, with a thousand arms and legs, with the sun, moon and fire as his three eyes, bearing the pinaka bow, wearing the hide of an leephant, bearing the trishul, and addressed Vishnu and Bhrama in a thunderous voice, explaining that the two were born out of him, and that the three were then separated out into three different aspects of divinity.

    The non-anthropomorphic form Shivalingam is a representation of this infinite cosmic column of fire, whose origins were not tracable by Bhrama or Vishnu.

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  15. It was a curse given by RISHI NAMED BHRIGU who went to LORD SHIVA at a wrong time AS MAA PARVATI got married to him only on a promise that there will not be any SON/DAUGHTER born to them thru as a normal human husband-wife unison.But on very highly dedicated prayer of parvati maa ,LORD ACCEPTED that only on PRADOSH (TWICE IN MONTH(13 NIGHT) of every lunar month,HE WILL PAY VISIT TO HOME.THAT'S WHY PRADOSH PUJA IS VERY GOOD FOR COUPLES AND GIRLS TO ASK BOON AS THE DIVINE COUPLE IS VERY HAPPY TO BE AT HOME AND VERY EASY TO BE PLEASED.

    2.UNLUCKY TO SAINT BHRIGU AS HE CAME ON SAME DAY TO PAY VISIT BUT LATE WHEN GOD HAS RETIRED TO SLEEP WITH HIS CONSORT.

    3.THEREFORE HE WENT STRAIGHT TO BEDROOM OF LORD WHERE LORD GOT ANGRY AND WANTED TO KILL WITH TRISHUL FOR MISTAKE THAT WITHOUT PERMISSION HE HAS BROKEN THE PRIVACY OF HUSBAND AND WIFE.

    4.TO WHICH MAA PARVATI INTERVENED AND PACIFIED LORD THAT SINCE ALL HUMAN AND GOD'S ARE THEIR CHILDREN AS THEY BEING DIVINE FATHER AND MOTHER OF WHOLE UNIVERSE,AND NO CHILD NEEDS ANY PERMISSION TO VISIT HIS/HER PARENT'S WHERE EVER THEY MAY BE,EVEN IN BEDROOM AND CAN ENTER WITHOUT ANY HESITATION.TO WHICH LORD CONCEDE AND SPARED BHRIGU'S LIFE.

    5.BHRIGU ON LEARNING THIS GOT INFURIATED AND CURSED LORD SHIVA THAT SINCE ON HIS VISIT TO THEIR BEDROOM ,THE LORD SHIVA WITHOUT KNOWING THE JUSTIFICATION AND REASON FOR BREAKING THE PRIVACY FROM BHRIGU HAS LIFTED THE TRISHUL DUE TO THOUGHT OF DISTURBANCE IN TOGETHERNESS WITH HIS WIFE,THUS DESERVE ONLY TO BE WORSHIPPED IN FORM OF LINGAM,THUS EVEN YOU DO PUJA OF LORD SHIVA IDOL BUT YOU WILL NOT GET FULL BENEFIT'S FROM THE PUJA IF LINGAM SWAROOPA PUJA IS NOT BEEN PERFORMED.

    THAT'S WHY LINGAM IS WORSHIPPED FOR LORD SHIVA.

    OM NAMAYE SHIVAY FORGIVES ME FOR ANY INADVERTENT MISTAKES WHIL'ST DESCRIBING THE THEORY TO ALL SHIV-BHAKT'S.

    CAPT JS CHAUHAN

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