Compiled By: M. Marzoccco (Clips from various websites)
Maha Shivaratri is one of the biggest and most significant among the sacred festival nights of India. This – the darkest night of the year – celebrates the Grace of Shiva, who is considered the Adi guru or the First guru, from whom the yogic tradition originates. The planetary positions on this night are such that there is a powerful natural upsurge of energy in the human system. It can be enormously beneficial for one’s physical and spiritual 'wellbeing". Every month on the 14th night of the new moon Shivaratri is celebrated. It is considered the darkest night of the month, and for many devotees, the best night of the month for spiritual work and Sadhana. Maha (great) Shivaratri takes place on the last new moon of the astrological new year before the sun enters Aries, which usually falls in the end of February or beginning of March. Maha Shivaratri is considered the darkest night of the year and considered by Shiva devotees the most powerful day of the year for spiritual work and transformation. This day is considered to be extremely auspicious by Shiva devotees - the grand night of Shiva. Legends of Mahashivratri: There are various interesting legends related to the festival of Maha Shivaratri. - According to one of the most popular legends, Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati marking the convergence of Shiva and Shakti. - Some believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction. - Another popular Shivratri legend in Linga Purana states that it was on Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga. A symbol of generative power and the closest representation of the formless aspect of the Divine. - According to another legend of Samudra manthan, Shiva saved the world from the disastrous effects of a poison that emerged as a by product of the churning of the sea (Samudra manthan), by consuming the whole of the poison. Shiva could arrest the poison in his throat by his Yogic powers and it didn't go down his throat. His neck turned blue due to the effect of the poison on his throat and henceforth he is also known as Neela Kantha or The Blue Throated.