Shivaratri Puja has been given tremendous significance in Hindu mythology. Devotees believe that by pleasing Lord Shankara on the auspicious Shivaratri day, a person is absolved of past sins and is blessed with Moksha or salvation. Maha Shivaratri comes in Phalgun. Shivratri means “the night of Shiva”. The ceremonies take place chiefly at night. People observe a strict fast on this day. Some devotees do not even take a drop of water. They keep vigil all night. The Shiva Lingam is worshipped throughout the night by washing it every three hours with milk, curd, honey, rose water, etc., whilst the chanting of the Mantra Om Namah Shivaya continues.
Now Let’s perform Maha Shivaratri Puja.
- Let’s first collect all puja items.
- Next we will perform the main puja.
Let’s Collect Maha Shivaratri Puja Items & Learn Their Significance
- Moli (red thread)
- Roli (red powder)
- Incense sticks
- Sweets, Fruits
- Curd (Yogurt)
- Clarified butter (Ghee)
- Dry fruits
- Yagyopavit (sacred thread)
Let’s Perform The Main Maha Shivaratri Puja
Let’s Perform The Main Puja
Puja is considered complete after we offer dakshina
Mantras, Regional Information, Food Restrictions For Maha Shivaratri Puja.
Shivaratri Pooja has been given tremendous significance in Hindu mythology. It is said that ritual worship of Lord Shiva on a Shivaratri day pleases Lord Shiva the most. Devotees further believe that by pleasing Lord Shankara on the auspicious Shivaratri day, a person is absolved of past sins and is blessed with Moksha or salvation.
Maha Shivaratri comes in Phalgun (February-March). Shivratri means “the night of Shiva”. The ceremonies take place chiefly at night. This is a festival observed in honour of Lord Shiva. Shiva was married to Parvati on this day.
People observe a strict fast on this day. Some devotees do not even take a drop of water. They keep vigil all night. The Shiva Lingam is worshipped throughout the night by washing it every three hours with milk, curd, honey, rose water, etc., whilst the chanting of the Mantra Om Namah Shivaya continues. Offerings of bael leaves are made to the Lingam. Bael leaves are very sacred as, it is said, Lakshmi resides in them.
Merits of Shivaratri Puja
According to Shiva Purana, sincere worship of Lord Shiva yields merits including spiritual growth for the devotees. It also provides extensive details on the right way to perform Shivratri Puja.
Shiva Purana further says that performing abhisheka of Shiva Linga with six different dravyas including milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water while chanting Sri Rudram, Chamakam and Dasa Shanthi pleases Lord Shiva the most. According to the mythology, each of these dravya used in the abhisheka blesses a unique quality:
Milk is for the blessing of purity and piousness, Yogurt is for prosperity and progeny, Honey is for sweet speech, Ghee is for victory, Sugar is for happiness, Water is for purity.
Besides, worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri is also considered to be extremely beneficial for women. While, married women pray to Shiva for the well being of their husbands and sons, unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband.
Getting Ready for Shivratri Puja
To perform the worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri, devotees wake up early and take a ritual bath, preferably in the holy waters of river Ganga. This is followed by worship to Sun God, Vishnu and Shiva in accordance with the purification rite observed on all-important Hindu festivals. Devotees then wear fresh new clothes and pay a visit to the nearest Shiva temple. As a tradition, devotees observe a fast on a Shivaratri day. Some do not consume even a drop of water.
Performing Maha Shivaratri Pooja
Following the method prescribed in Shiva Purana, priests perform ritual puja of Shiva Linga every three hours all through the day and night of Shivaratri Festival. During this pooja, chants of Om Namah Shivaya and sounds of bells reverberate in the temple. Following the bath with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water that helps in the purification of the soul a vermilion paste is applied on the Linga as it represents virtue. 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 is symbolic of longevity and gratification of desires. Some devotees also offer the auspicious betel leaves to Lord Shiva marking satisfaction with worldly pleasures. Garlanding of Linga with flowers and garlands is also a part of the ritual Shivaratri Puja.
Devotees also burn incense sticks as is said to yield wealth. Many also light lamps to symbolize attainment of knowledge. It is said that by offering water, hugging the Linga, lighting the diya and 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. Devotees stay awake and spent the night in Shiva temples by chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and singing hymns and verses in praise of Lord Shankar. Devotees observing vrat on Shivaratri break it only the next morning by partaking prasad offered to Lord Shiva.
Hymns in praise of Lord Shiva, such as the Lingashtakam, Shiva Manasa Puja, Shiva Mahimna Stotra of Pushpadanta, Shivashtaka, bhilvashtakam are sung with great fervour and devotion. People repeat the Panchakshara Mantra, Om Namah Shivaya. He who utters the Names of Shiva during Shivaratri, with perfect devotion and concentration, is freed from all sins. He reaches the abode of Shiva and lives there happily. He is liberated from the wheel of births and deaths. Many pilgrims flock to the places where there are Shiva temples.
Maha Shivratri Vrat :
“Om namah Shivaya”
In the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata, Bhishma, whilst resting on the bed of arrows and discoursing on Dharma, refers to the observance of Maha Shivaratri by King Chitrabhanu.
The story goes as follows….
Once upon a time King Chitrabhanu of the Ikshvaku dynasty, who ruled over the whole of Jambudvipa, was observing a fast with his wife, it being the day of Maha Shivaratri.
The Sage Ashtavakra came on a visit to the court of the king
The sage asked, “O king! why are you observing a fast today?”
King Chitrabhanu explained why. He had the gift of remembering the incidents of his previous birth.
The king said to the sage: “In my past birth I was a hunter in Varanasi. My name was Suswara. My livelihood was to kill and sell birds and animals.
One day I was roaming the forests in search of animals. I was overtaken by the darkness of night. Unable to return home, I climbed a tree for shelter. It happened to be a bael tree. I had shot a deer that day but I had no time to take it home.
I bundled it up and tied it to a branch on the tree. As I was tormented by hunger and thirst, I kept awake throughout the night. I shed profuse tears when I thought of my poor wife and children who were starving and anxiously awaiting my return. To pass away the time that night I engaged myself in plucking the bael leaves and dropping them down onto the ground. “The day dawned. I returned home and sold the deer. I bought some food for myself and for my family. I was about to break my fast when a stranger came to me, begging for food. I served him first and then took my food.
s “At the time of death, I saw two messengers of Lord Shiva. They were sents down to conduct my soul to the abode of Lord Shiva. I learnt then for the first time of the great merit I had earned by the unconscious worship of Lord Shiva during the night of Shivaratri.
They told me that there was a Lingam at the bottom of the tree. The leaves I had fasted all day and all night. Thus did I unconsciously worship the Lord. “I lived in the abode of the Lord and enjoyed divine bliss for long ages. I am now reborn as Chitrabhanu.”
GENERAL s – Through this website, an effort has been made to get us connected to our cultural and religious heritage with respect to our festivals by exhibiting the broad method of performing various pujas. As is well known customs, methods, sequence and pronunciation of these pujas differ from place to place located a few km’s apart. Hence the methods shown here are as per the system followed at the place where they have been recorded and may be different than perceived by many others. However these differences should not be taken as a mistake or deficiency. This may therefore be accepted as a broad outline and required changes/ modifications may be made as per requirement.