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Maha Shivratri / Siwa Ratri

4 March

Shiva Ratri events in Australia

23/02/2019, Shiva Mahotsavam 23rd Feb to 6th March 2019 0 By: SVT, Helensburgh

28/02/2019, Maha Shiv Ratri Katha – By: AHMA NSW, Marsden Park

03/03/2019, Shivratri celebration – By: Vedanta, Croydon

04/03/2019, Maha Shivratri – By: Shiv Mandir Minto, Minto

04/03/2019, Maha Sivaratri – By: SSJT NSW, Castle Hill
04/03/2019, Maha Shivaratri – By: SVT, Helensburgh
04/03/2019, Maha Shivratri – BY: SSVK , South Maclean
04/03/2019, Shiv Ratri – By: HTCC, Florey

INDIA. Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivaratri
Shivaratri is a very auspicious day, symbolising the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. The festival comes sometime in February or March. It is the most significant festival for Kashmiri Pandits. People in the North keep fast on Shivaratri day and go to the Shiva Temple to worship by pouring milk and water on the Shiva Linga.

BALI. SIWA RATRI

Night of Siwa

Siwa Ratri, often referred to as the ?night of Siwa?, is an auspicious time for introspection and meditation, during which the Balinese pray for forgiveness of their earthly sins and for support and strength from the god Siwa (Shiva) in order to reach their higher selves. Part of these rituals involve fasting and staying awake all night, so Siwa Ratri is also known as the longest night. Siwa Ratri is celebrated during the new moon of the 7th month of the Balinese calendar and there are a series of ritual observances throughout the day.

The philosophy of Siwa Ratri can be traced back to a folk story of a lone hunter named Lubdaka. Lubdaka was out hunting and got lost in the wilderness. The sun set and he was in the dark, alone so he climbed a tree to avoid wild animals. He was afraid of falling from the tree if he fell asleep, so he began picking leaves and dropping them into a pond below while chanting prayers to god Shiva. He stayed awake all night and got home safely the next day.

When Lubdaka died, he was greeted by Shiva in the afterlife and his bad deeds were erased because he meditated to Shiva that night. Siwa Ratri (the night of Shiva) is remembered by meditating, staying awake and fasting. The meaning behind these practices is to remind the Balinese to remain vigilant and always keep the gods in mind when navigating through the symbolic darkness of the night.

Siwa Ratri begins with an early morning prayer, typically ending at 6:00am. The ritual typically consists of three fasting activities:

Upawasa: not eating or drinking for 24 hours

Fasting is a method of self-control and reflection to reach spiritual enlightenment.

Monabrata: not talking for 12 hours

Silence is a method to learn not to speak impulsively and to choose honest, kind words; not to speak evil or lie; and to learn to listen more attentively.

Mejagra: not sleeping for 36 hours

Not sleeping is a technique to train being awake and aware of our approach to life which should always be carried out with conduct of insight and wisdom.

The Siwa Ratri celebration also aims to overcome materialism and to build a closer connection with God through surrender and prayer. Each of these (non-)activities are methods to learn to be self-conscious at all times, to have self-control in all circumstances. When completed, each of them is followed by prayers and offerings in the house temple.———–

 

NEPAL. Maha Shivaratri

Legend has it that a poison came out of the ocean during Samundra Manthan. In order to protect the citizens, Shiva drank the poison, but it did not kill him. Instead, it caused his throat to ?burn blue.? The day is a public holiday in Nepal with offices, schools and businesses closed to honour Shiva.
Traditions and Celebrations

Thousands of visitors come to the Pashupatinath Temple to celebrate Maha Shivaratri and the Shiva Shakti Peetham nearby. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Pashupati, Lord of the Animals. Legend has it that Lord Shiva roamed as a deer in the forests in the area. The temple is open only to Hindus with several shrines and pavilions where yogis and priests chant or meditate.

In the days before the holiday, people fill the roads around the temple and there are vendors selling red tika powder or sacred beads. The day of the holiday there is a military parade to honour Lord Shiva as well.

Unlike most Hindu festivals which take place during the day, Maha Shivaratri is celebrated at night. There are all night vigils and prayers representing Shiva?s ability to overcome darkness and ignorance. Many spend the night around the temple, lighting sacred fires, singing praises to Lord Shiva and keeping vigil to welcome his descent to Earth.

The official celebration begins at midnight with priests offering items to Lord Shiva in the temple. People swim in the sacred Bagmati River, carrying water in cupped palms to offer it to the stone stele which is the symbol of Lord Shiva. In the morning, sacred texts are recited until noon when people begin singing sacred songs. Some of the finest musicians and singers come to Nepal to sing praises of Shiva.

It is not unusual to see yogis or sadhus sitting naked, covered with ash or smoking marijuana during the festival. Although marijuana is illegal in Nepal, it is permitted for religious rituals during the festival. It is believed that after Shiva?s consort died, he came to the forests near the temple, smeared with ash, wearing a serpent and draped in a tiger skin. While there, he smoked marijuana which grows wild in the forests.

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Date:
4 March
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