Mahashivratri Festival 2020

Mahashivratri (महाशिवरात्रि) is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honor of Lord Shiva, and in particular, marks the day of the consummation of the marriage of Shiva. There is a Shivratri in every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar, on the month’s 13th night/14th day, but once a year in late winter (February/March, or Phalguna) and before the arrival of Summer, marks Mahashivratri which means “the Great Night of Shiva”. Mahashivratri in the year 2020 falls on date 21st February. It is a major festival in Hinduism, and this festival is solemn and marks a remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life and the world. This is an ancient Hindu festival whose origin date is unknown. Having a great spiritual significance of the great and pious festival throughout the world, Siddha Spirituality of Swami Hardas Life System wishes our readers to know the history and significance.

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Festival 2020

Mahashivratri Description (महाशिवरात्रि का वर्णन)

Mahashivratri is an annual festival dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva and is particularly important in the Shaivism tradition of Hinduism. Unlike most Hindu festivals that are celebrated during the day, the Mahashivratri is celebrated at night. Furthermore, unlike most Hindu festivals which include expression of cultural revelry, the Mahashivratri is a solemn event notable for its introspective focus, fasting, a meditation on Shiva, self-study, social harmony and an all-night vigil at Shiva temples.

The celebration includes maintaining a “Jaagaran”, an all-night vigil and prayers, because of Shaiva Hindus mark this night as “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in one’s life and the world through Shiva. Offerings of fruits, leaves, sweets, and milk to Shiva are made, some perform all-day fasting with Vedic or Tantric worship of Shiva, and some perform meditative Yoga. In Shiva temples, “Om Namah Shivaya”, the sacred mantra of Shiva, is chanted through the day.

History and significance of Mahashivratri (महाशिवरात्रि का इतिहास और महत्व)

Many legends explain the significance of Mahashivaratri, one being it is the night of Shiva’s dance. The Mahashivratri is mentioned in several Puranas, particularly the:

  • Skanda Purana
  • Linga Purana, and
  • Padma Purana

These medieval era Shaiva texts present different versions associated with this festival and mention fasting, reverence for icons of Shiva such as the Lingam.

Different legends describe the significance of Mahashivratri. According to one legend in the Shaivism tradition, this is the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation, and destruction. The chanting of hymns, the reading of Shiva scriptures and the chorus of devotees joins this cosmic dance and remembers Shiva’s presence everywhere.

According to another legend, this is the night when Shiva and Parvati got married. A different legend states that the offering to Shiva icons such as the linga is an annual occasion to get over past sins if any, to restart on a virtuous path and thereby reach Mount Kailasha and liberation.

The significance of dance tradition to this festival has historical roots. The Mahashivratri has served as a historic confluence of artists for annual dance festivals at major Hindu temples such as at:

  • Konark
  • Khajuraho
  • Pattadakal
  • Modhera
  • Chidambaram

This event is called Natyanjali, literally “worship through dance”, at the Chidambaram temple which is famous for its sculpture depicting all dance mudras in the ancient Hindu text of performance arts called Natya Shastra. Similarly, at Khajuraho Shiva temples, a major fair and dance festival on Mahashivratri, involving Shaiva pilgrims camped over miles around the temple complex, was documented by Alexander Cunningham in 1864.

Different Names of Lord Shiva (भगवान शिव के विभिन्न नाम)

The Shiva Purana list 1008 names for Lord Shiva. Each of these names in Sanskrit signifies a certain attribute of the Lord. Given here are 108 names of Lord Shiva with their meaning:

  1. Aashutosh: One who fulfills wishes instantly
  2. Aja: Unborn
  3. Akshayaguna: God with limitless attributes
  4. Anagha: Without any fault
  5. Anantadrishti: Of infinite vision
  6. Augadh: One who revels all the time
  7. Avyayaprabhu: Imperishable Lord
  8. Bhairav: Lord of terror
  9. Bhalanetra: One who has an eye in the forehead
  10. Bholenath: Kind-hearted Lord
  11. Bhudeva: Lord of the earth
  12. Bhooteshwara: Lord of ghosts and evil beings
  13. Bhutapala: Protector of the ghosts
  14. Chandrapal: Master of the moon
  15. Chandraprakash: One who has moon as a crest
  16. Dayalu: Compassionate
  17. Devadhideva: Lord of the Lords
  18. Dhanadeepa: Lord of wealth
  19. Dhyanadeep: Icon of meditation and concentration
  20. Dhyutidhara: Lord of brilliance
  21. Digambara: One who has the skies as his clothes
  22. Durjaneeya: Difficult to be known
  23. Durjaya: Unvanquished
  24. Gangadhara: Lord of river Ganga
  25. Girijapati: Consort of Girija
  26. Gunagrahin: Acceptor of Gunas
  27. Gurudeva: Master of All
  28. Hara: Remover of sins
  29. Jagadisha: Master of the Universe
  30. Jaradhishamana: Redeemer from afflictions
  31. Jatin: One who has matted hair
  32. Kailas: One Who bestows peace
  33. Kailashadhipati: Lord of Mount Kailash
  34. Kailashnath: Master of Mount Kailash
  35. Kamalakshana: Lotus-eyed Lord
  36. Kantha: Ever-radiant
  37. Kapalin: One who wears a necklace of skulls
  38. Khatvangin: One who has the missile Khatvangin in his hand
  39. Kundalin: One who wears earrings
  40. Lalataksha: One who has an eye in the forehead
  41. Lingadhyaksha: Lord of the Lingas
  42. Lingaraja: Lord of the Lingas
  43. Lokankara: Creator of the Three Worlds
  44. Lokpal: One who takes care of the world
  45. Mahabuddhi: Extremely intelligent
  46. Mahadeva: Greatest God
  47. Mahakal: Lord of all times
  48. Mahamaya: Of great illusions
  49. Mahamrityunjay: Great victor of death
  50. Mahanidhi: Great storehouse
  51. Mahashaktimaya: One who has boundless energies
  52. Mahayogi: Greatest of all Gods
  53. Mahesh: Supreme Lord
  54. Maheshwar: Lord of Gods
  55. Nagabhushan: One who has serpents as ornaments
  56. Nataraj: King of the art of dancing
  57. Nilakanth: The one with a blue throat
  58. Nityasundar: Ever beautiful
  59. Nrutyapriy: Lover of dance
  60. Omkar: Creator of OM
  61. Palanhaar: One who protects everyone
  62. Parameshwar: First among all gods
  63. Paramjyoti: Greatest splendor
  64. Pashupati: Lord of all living beings
  65. Pinakin: One who has a bow in his hand
  66. Pranav: Originator of the syllable of OM
  67. Priyabhakt: Favorite of the devotees
  68. Priyadarshan: Of loving vision
  69. Pushkar: One who gives nourishment
  70. Pushpalochan: One who has eyes like flowers
  71. Ravilochan: Having sun as the eye
  72. Rudra: The terrible
  73. Rudraksha: One who has eyes like Rudra
  74. Sadashiv: Eternal God
  75. Sanatan: Eternal Lord
  76. Sarvacharya: Preceptor of all
  77. Sarvashiv: Always pure
  78. Sarvatapan: Scorcher of all
  79. Sarvayoni: Source of everything
  80. Sarveshwar: Lord of all Gods
  81. Shambhu: Abode of joy
  82. Shankar: Giver of joy
  83. Shiva: Always pure
  84. Shoolin: One who has a trident
  85. Shrikant: Of glorious neck
  86. Shrutiprakash: Illuminator of the Vedas
  87. Shuddhavigrah: One who has a pure body
  88. Skandaguru: Preceptor of the Skanda
  89. Someshwar: Lord of all Gods
  90. Sukhad: Bestower of happiness
  91. Suprit: Well pleased
  92. Suragana: Having Gods as attendants
  93. Sureshwar: Lord of all Gods
  94. Swayambhu: Self-manifested
  95. Tejaswani: One who spreads illumination
  96. Trilochan: Three-eyed Lord
  97. Trilokpati: Master of all the three worlds
  98. Tripurari: Enemy of Tripura
  99. Trishoolin: One who has a trident in his hands
  100. Umapati: Consort of Uma
  101. Vachaspati: Lord of speech
  102. Vajrahast: One who has a thunderbolt in his hands
  103. Varad: Granter of boons
  104. Vedakarta: Originator of the Vedas
  105. Veerabhadra: Supreme Lord of the Nether World
  106. Vishalaksha: Wide-eyed Lord
  107. Vishveshwar: Lord of the Universe
  108. Vrishavahan: One who has the bull as his vehicle

What to do on Mahashivratri day (महाशिवरात्रि के दिन क्या करें)

Mahashivratri is the day to honor and celebrate Shiva-honor’s life and celebrate existence. Most people spend the day of Mahashivratri in prayer, meditation, and celebration. Here are a few activities you could participate in:

Observe Fast (उपवास करें)

Fasting detoxifies the body and curtails the restlessness of the mind. A mind that is not restless slips into meditation easily. Therefore, fasting on Mahashivratri serves to detoxify the body and aid meditation. It is recommended to fast with fruits or easily digestible food.

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Detox Body With Fast

Meditate (ध्यान करें)

The constellations on the night of Mahashivratri are in a position considered very auspicious for meditation, and so, it is very useful for people to keep awake and meditate on Mahashivratri. In ancient times, people used to say, ‘If you cannot meditate every day, do so at least one day in a year, on this pious day; keep awake and do meditation’. Wake the Divinity that is deep within you – this is the message. The Divinity is within you, let it wake up!

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Chant the Mantra – Om Siddheshwaray Namaha (|| ओम सिद्धेश्वराय नमः || मंत्र का जाप करें)

‘Om Siddheshwaray Namaha’ is the perfect mantra to chant on Mahashivratri as it immediately elevates your energy.

‘Om’ in the mantra refers to the sound of the universe. It means peace and love. The five letters, ‘Si’, ‘Ddhe’, ‘Sh’, ‘Va’, ‘Ray’ indicate the five elements – Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether.

The easiest way to chant is to continue chanting within mind the day before you go to sleep, which will also help you sleep troublefree as well as the mantra chanting will continue even during sleep hours. The next day i.e. on Mahashivratri, the same mantra can be chanted even while working, doing household work, or any activity undertaken but also visit some Shiv Temple and avail the benefits of Darshana.

Attend Puja/Rudra Puja/Mahayadnya (पूजा / रुद्र पूजा / महायज्ञ में भाग लें)

Rudra Puja or Mahashivratri Puja is a special ceremony performed to honor Shiva. It involves singing of special Vedic mantras accompanied by certain rituals. Rudra Puja brings positivity and purity to the environment and transforms negative emotions. Participating in the Puja and listening to the chants helps the mind slip into meditation effortlessly.

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Rudra Pooja

Worship the Shivalinga (शिवलिंग की पूजा करें)

The Shivalinga is a symbolic representation of the formless Shiva. Worshipping the Shivalinga includes offering ‘Bel Patra’ (leaves of the bel tree) to it. Offering ‘Bel Patra’ represents offering three aspects of your being – rajas (the aspect of you that is responsible for activity), tamas (the aspect of you that brings inertia) and sattva (the aspect of you that brings positivity, peace, and creativity). These three aspects affect your mind and actions. Surrendering the three to the Divine brings peace and freedom.

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Shivalinga Pooja

Mahashivratri and Tantra (महाशिवरात्रि और तंत्र)

Mahashivratri is considered the day when Adiyogi or the first guru awakened his consciousness at the material level of existence. According to Tantra, at this stage of consciousness, no objective experience takes place and the mind is transcended. The meditator transcends time, space and causation. It is regarded as the brightest night of the soul when the Yogi attains the state of Shoonya or Nirvana, the stage succeeding Samadhi or illumination.

Mahashivratri festival in India (भारत में महाशिवरात्रि पर्व)

Mahashivratri is celebrated in Tamil Nadu with great pomp and fanfare in the Annamalai temple located in Tiruvannamalai district. The special process of worship on this day is ‘Girivalam’/Giri Pradakshina, a 14-kilometer barefoot walk around Lord Shiva’s temple on top of the hill. A huge lamp of oil and camphor is lit on the hilltop at sunset – not to be confused with Karthigai Deepam.

The major Jyotirlinga Shiva temples of India, such as in Varanasi and Somanatha, are particularly frequented on Mahashivratri. They serve also as sites for fairs and special events.

Mahashivratri festival in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana (आंध्र प्रदेश और तेलंगाना में महाशिवरात्रि पर्व)

In Andhra and Telangana, Shivratri Yatras are held at:

  • Mallayya gutta near Kambhalapalle
  • Gundlakamma Kona near Railway Koduru
  • Penchalakona
  • Bhairavakona
  • Uma Maheswaram amongst others

Special Pujas are held at Pancharamas – Amararamam of Amaravati, Somaramam of Bhimavaram, Draksharamam, Kumararama of Samarlakota and Ksheerarama of Palakollu. The days immediately after Shivratri are celebrated as Brahmotsavaalu at Srisailam, one of 12 Jyotirlinga sites.

Mahashivratri Utsavalu are held at the Rudreshwara Swamy’s 1000 pillar temple in Warangal. Devotees throng for the special poojas at Srikalahasti, Mahanandi, Yaganti, Antarvedi, Kattamanchi, Pattiseema, Bhairavakona, Hanmakonda, Keesaragutta, Vemulawada, Panagal, Kolanupaka amongst others.

Mahashivratri festival in Himachal Pradesh (हिमाचल प्रदेश में महाशिवरात्रि पर्व)

The Mandi fair is in the town of Mandi is particularly famous as a venue for Mahashivratri celebrations. It transforms the town as devotees pour in. It is believed that all Gods and Goddesses of the area, said to number more than 200, assemble here on the day of Mahashivratri. Mandi, located on the banks of Beas, is popularly known as the “Cathedral of Temples” and one of the oldest towns of Himachal Pradesh, with about 81 temples of different Gods and Goddesses on its periphery.

Mahashivratri festival in Kashmir (कश्मीर में महाशिवरात्रि पर्व)

In Kashmir Shaivism, Mahashivratri is celebrated by the Brahmins of Kashmir and is called, “Herath” in Kashmiri, a word derived from the Sanskrit word “Hararatri” the “Night of Hara” (another name of Shiva). Shivratri, regarded as the most important festival of the community, for instance, is celebrated by them on Trayodashi or the thirteenth of the dark half of the month of Phalguna (February–March) and not on Chaturdashi or the fourteenth as in the rest of the country. The reason for it is that this long drawn festival that is celebrated for one full fortnight as an elaborate ritual is associated with the appearance of Bhairava (Shiva) as a Jwala-linga or a linga of flame.

Mahashivratri festival in Maharashtra (महाराष्ट्र में महाशिवरात्रि पर्व)

Shaktidata, Pune is a pious place wherein Siddha Temple is established by Dr. Swami Hardas and various Pujas and Hawana, Homa, Mahaydnya are being performed regularly for the benefits of the devotees and betterment of the whole world. One among them is Siddheshwar Mahaydnya and Siddheswar Siddha Puja. Thousands of devotees avail of the benefits on this auspicious day of Mahashivratri.

Mahashivratri festival in Central India (मध्य भारत में महाशिवरात्रि पर्व)

Central India has a large number of Shaiva followers. The Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain is one of the most venerated shrines consecrated to Shiva, where a large congregation of devotees gathers to offer prayers on the day of Mahashivratri. Tilwara Ghat in the city of Jabalpur and the Math Temple in the village of Jeonara, Seoni are two other places where the festival is celebrated with much religious fervor.

Mahashivratri festival in Punjab (पंजाब में महाशिवरात्रि पर्व)

In Punjab, Shobha Yatras would be organized by various Hindu organizations in different cities. It is a grand festival for Punjabi Hindus.

Mahashivratri festival in Gujarat (गुजरात में महाशिवरात्रि पर्व)

In Gujarat, Mahashivratri Mela is held at Junagadh where bathing in the Murghi kund is considered holy. According to myth, Lord Shiva himself comes to bath in the Murghi kund.

Mahashivratri festival in West Bengal (पश्चिम बंगाल में महाशिवरात्रि पर्व)

In West Bengal, Mahashivratri is observed devoutly by unmarried girls seeking a suitable husband, often visiting Tarakeswar.

Mahashivratri Stories and Beliefs (महाशिवरात्रि की कहानियां और विश्वास)

There are several stories and beliefs associated with this auspicious event. One among includes:

Samudra Manthan (समुंद्र मंथन)

It is believed that on this particular day Lord Shiva gulped the Halahala produced during Samudra Manthan and beheld it in his neck which bruised and turned blue, after which he was named as Neelkanth. It is also believed that the famous Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is the place where this incident took place or where Lord Shiva consumed the poison as Dark matter and saved the universe.

Mahashivratri in Nepal (नेपाल में महाशिवरात्रि)

Mahashivratri is a National Holiday in Nepal and celebrated widely in temples all over the country, but especially in the Pashupatinath temple. Thousands of devotees visit the famous Shiva Shakti Peetham nearby as well. Artists from various classical music and dance forms perform through the night.

On Mahashivratri, married women pray for the well being of their husbands, while unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, considered as the ideal husband. Shiva is also worshipped as the Adi Guru (first teacher) from whom the divine wisdom originates.

Mahashivratri in Pakistan (पाकिस्तान में महाशिवरात्रि)

Hindus in Pakistan visit Shiva temples during Shivratri. The most important is the three-day Shivratri festival in the Umarkot Shiv Mandir. It is one of the biggest religious festivals in the country. All the expenses were borne by the Pakistan Hindu Panchayat. Shivratri Celebrations also occur in the Churrio Jabal Durga Mata Temple, which is attended by 200,000 pilgrims.

Mahashivratri Outside South Asia (महाशिवरात्रि दक्षिण एशिया के बाहर)

Mahashivratri is the main Hindu festival among the Shaiva Hindu diaspora from Nepal and India. In Indo-Caribbean communities, thousands of Hindus spend the beautiful night in over four hundred temples across the country, offering special jhalls (an offering of milk and curd, flowers, sugarcane, and sweets) to Lord Shiva. In Mauritius, Hindus go on pilgrimage to Ganga Talao, a crater-lake.



12 thoughts on “Mahashivratri Festival 2020

    1. So nice of you, Ankita! Did you observe fast on this day? Mahashivratri is a very pious and great day so that we come in contact with Lord Shiva, which gives us immense Ananda and Atmananda!

  1. Enjoyed reading the article above,really explains everything in detail.

    1. So nice of you, Gajanan! Your pleasure is my wealth. So keep enjoying and raising spiritual standards. Thanks for your appreciative words!

  2. There are numerous people celebrate festivals but not as supposed to be. Your post guides well about how to celebrate Mahashivratri festival. Thanks for precious information. I shall certainly follow and celebrate this pious festival.

    1. Sure, Ma’m! Most of the people don’t know about the real purpose of festivals. It’s my sincere effort to bring the real reasons/causes behind celebrating Mahashivratri. Likewise, I shall try to focus on other festivals, too! Thanks for your good words. Please be in touch!!!

    1. So nice of you, Saheb! Your good words encourage me to write great, greater, and greatest articles. Thanks for sparing your valuable time for me. Please be in touch!!!

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