Shivratri

This day usually falls on the 14th day of the dark half of the lunar month. However, once a year in the month of Magha (Feb -March) is the festival of Mahashivratri – meaning the great night of Lord Shiva.

At the beginning of the universe, Lord Shiva was born from the brows of Brahma. So, till the ultimate annihilation of the universe, Lord Shiva, like Brahma, remains in the same form. (There are no incarnations of Brahma and Lord Shiva). He is the third of holy triumvirate and responsible for the destruction of the universe. He is also known by other names as Shankar, Mahadev, Rudra, Sadashiv, Bholanath etc. As the result of the churning of the ocean, poison arose first from the ocean. Nobody was prepared to touch the deadly poison.

The Puranas contain many stories describing the origin of this festival. According to one, during the samudra manthan, a pot of poison emerged from the ocean. This terrified the gods and demons as the poison was capable of destroying the entire world, and they ran to Shiva for help. To protect the world from its evil effects, Shiva drank the deathly poison but held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. Because of it, his throat turned blue, and he was given the name Neelakanth, the blue-throated one. Shivaratri is the celebration of this event by which Shiva saved the world. Lord Shiva is very benevolent demigod. He is very easy to please, so demons used to do his penance to get boons from Him. Since then He has become known as the god of demons.

 

The birthday of Lord Shiva. In common with Ramnavmi and Janmashtami, Swaminarayan Bhagwan has asked us to observe the fast today (verse: 79). Short history of Lord Shiva At the beginning of the universe, Lord Shiva was born from the brows of Brahma. So, till the ultimate annihilation of the universe, Lord Shiva, like Brahma, remains in the same form. (There are no incarnations of Brahma and Lord Shiva). He is the third of holy triumvirate and responsible for the destruction of the universe. He is also known by other names as Shankar, Mahadev, Rudra, Sadashiv, Bholanath etc. As the result of the churning of the ocean, poison arose first from the ocean. Nobody was prepared to touch the deadly poison.

Lord Shiva, on the instruction of Narayan Bhagwan drank that poison without swallowing it beyond his throat. Thus He saved the world from the effects of the poison. As a result of this, His throat turned blue, and He became known as Nilkanth. (Nil means blue and kanth means throat). During the time in forest, Swaminarayan Bhagwan was known as NilkanthVarni. (Swaminarayan Bhagwan was of dark complexion). Shiv means benevolence. Lord Shiva is very benevolent demigod. He is very easy to please, so demons used to do his penance to get boons from Him. Since then He has become known as the god of demons. Swaminarayan Bhagwan mentions Lord Shiva at five places in Shikshapatri.

Lord Swaminarayan has recognised Lord Shiva as one of the five reverend demigods (verse: 84). In verse 47 He has asked us to consider Lord Shiva and Narayan as equals. Lord Shiva is also known for his great renunciation. He prefers to live in cemetery rather than in grand palaces. He smears ash on his body and wears skin of tiger rather than fancy cloths. He uses snakes as necklace and bracelet. Lord Swaminarayan praised him as the best of devotees in Vachanmrut. Once during the journey through the forest, Nilkanthvarni did not get anything to eat for three days. Lord Shiva along with his wife Parvati came to feed Nilkanthvarni.