When you wish to perform Maha Shivaratri pooja, the goal is to attain devotion through determination. It is to form an everlasting connection with the Gods and Goddesses, you heartily worship. This year Mahashivaratri falls on 11th March.
According to the Hindu Vedic scriptures, there are two parts to conduct a perfect Shivaratri pooja. And they are through offerings (Samagri) and the sacred hymns-chanting (Mantras). By adding in the heartfelt mantras as a form of devotion to the Samagri, there are more chances of positivity, blessings, and connections that a devotee can attain.
What is Shivaratri?
Shivaratri is a popular ritual among Lord Shiva’s bhakts, wherein they celebrate the religious ceremony all night long. The Ratri in the name refers to the night-long pooja and festivities in the name of God. During this festival, you need to wake up early in the morning and add black sesame seeds to the water you bathe in for complete purification. You can also take a Ganga-snan (bathing in the Ganges) as part of your religious ritual.
As the bath is to purify your body and soul, the next step would be to maintain a vrat (fasting) till the next day. It is advisable to have only 1 meal the day before keeping the vrat. While some ingest only milk and fruits, others commence the Maha Shivratri pooja while drinking water only.
How to Celebrate Maha Shivaratri?
You can visit a nearby temple to give your prayers and gifts to Lord Shiva. Before entering the temple, make sure to take a dip in the Ganges, or bathe at home in water infused with black sesame seeds. At the temple, the priests shall initiate the ceremony by chanting mantras such as “Om Namah Shivaya” and “Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra” every three hours during the ceremony.
The temples shall have bells ringing alongside beautifully aesthetic murmurs of mantra, to create a heavenly abode for the Lord to impart his blessings overall and everyone. On this day, the doors of the temples remain open to all as the celebration continues from morning to the next dawn. During this time, it is best to abstain from food and sleep to worship God, Shiva.
The temple adorns the beautiful lamp lights all around, with Shiva Chalisa mantras coming in from all corners. Hence, the ritual is ethereal to behold., However, you can complete the ritual at home as well. For this, create a Shiv Linga from mud to anoint it with ghee during the Abhishekam (hydration) ceremony.
What are the steps to perform the Pooja?
The Maha Shivaratri pooja at night takes place in 4 parts. It is crucial to check timings for all four parts km (Prahars). The four parts are:
- Water Avishektam
- Curd Avishektam
- Ghee Avishektam
- Honey Avishektam
Each of the ingredients mentioned has its implications in bringing out the devotees’ love for the Lord. For example:
- Water means purity
- Curd means prosperity
- Ghee means victory
- Honey means sweetness
- Sugar connotes happiness
- Milk is for purity and blessings
You can also offer white flowers, Bilal leaves, sandalwood, or the holy water from the Ganges as offerings.
During the Nivedhya (sacred food offering) phase post-pooja, you can offer various types of fruits and sweets. You can also donate food, prasad, and clothes to the needy. The time for breaking the fast would be best during the next day morning to the afternoon hours.
In conclusion, the Maha Shivaratri Pooja is a beautiful experience that fills everyone with the joy and blessings from Lord Shiva.