About Lord Shiva
He is highly revered and worshipped. He is addressed by many names and is known to be the Supreme Consciousness. Because of the attributes mentioned in the Holy Scriptures about Lord Shiva, not only Hindus but people belonging to various ethnic groups and religions too revere Lord Shiva and worship Him with true devotion. In order to celebrate the relationship between a devotee and a deity, many festivals are wisely calculated and perfectly mentioned in the Hindu calendar as per the incidents that occurred in the past. To revere Lord Shiva we celebrate the Shivratri and the Maha Shivratri with great fervor and devotion. Let us understand the difference between Shivratri and Maha Shivratri.
Difference between Shivratri and MahashivratriAbout Maha Shivratri
Shivratri – Shivratri is an auspicious time that occurs every month in a calendar year. This means that 12 Shivratris occur in a year. According to the Hindu calendar, the 14th day of each lunar month or a day before the day of New Moon Day is called Shivratri. Since this auspicious festival falls once every month it is also addressed as ‘Masik Shivratri’. There are many legends as to why Shivratri is celebrated every 14th day of the lunar month.
Let us look at two such legends:
Shivratri is the auspicious day when Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva tied the knot and were pronounced husband and wife. This day symbolizes the divine union of two Supreme powers. According to the legend, Goddess Parvati performed severe penance and underwent a lot of stress and hardships to appease Lord Shiva and to get married to Him. It was on this day that Lord Shiva was appeased by the severe penance and dedication of Goddess Parvati and got married to Her.
According to the second legend, during the episode of Samudra Manthan along with all the precious things that emerged out of the ocean even the deadly poison emerged out of the ocean. This poison was known as Halahala and was so fatal that a drop was enough to finish the entire existence of life in all the three lokas. All the demigods, demons, and other creatures were scared and this is when they ran to Lord Shiva to save the three worlds from the poison Halahala. It was at this time that Lord Shiva without any hesitation or thought consumed the deadly poison in order to save nature and its beautiful creations. Without being concerned about His own life, the Lord consumed the poison in order to safeguard all of us. Thus, this day is celebrated with great fervor and devotion by all the Hindus across the globe by staying up all night, visiting Shiva temples and by performing puja and aarti, and also singing bhajans of Lord Shiva. Now that we know what a Shivratri is let us understand what a Maha Shivratri is
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Maha Shivratri- Maha Shivratri is one among the twelve Shivratri but this Shivratri is addressed as Maha Shivratri because this Shivratri is dependent upon the positioning of the planets. During this period the Earth’s Northern hemisphere is positioned in a way that naturally boosts the energy levels inside a human and it is on this day that an individual seeks to explore his spiritual levels. Taking into consideration all these aspects this Shivratri is known as Maha Shivratri as it paves way for spiritual upliftment and makes one find himself and listen to his higher self. On the eve of Maha Shivratri people, Sadhu’s and other scholars prefer to meditate and concentrate on the inner self to unlock the doors to Higher Self. It is the perfect time of the year to overcome the darkness within and to step out of Maya (illusion) and see things. Many people observe fasts on the day of Maha Shivratri.
According to the South Indian Calendar known as the Amavasyant Panchang, the fourteenth day that falls in the month of Magha on the dark fortnight is celebrated as Maha Shivratri. Whereas, according to the North Indian Calendar known as the Purnimant Panchang, the fourteenth day that falls in the month of Falgun on the dark fortnight is celebrated as Maha Shivratri.
If we observe in both, the South Indian and North Indian calendars the names of the lunar months differ however both of these cultures celebrate the Maha Shivratri on the same day. Hence, the Shivratri date mentioned in the Gregorian calendar remains the same throughout India.
Now that you know the significant difference between Shivratri and Maha Shivratri, we hope you too accurately enjoy these festivities and do not forget to come closer to the Supreme by meditating on the Maha Shivratri.