Mahashivaratri is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the country. The vrat (Vowed religious observance) of Mahashivratra is performed on the fourteenth day in the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Magh. This year Mahashivaratri is on 11th March 2021.
Fasting, worship and remaining awake the whole night are the three aspects of this vrat. The ritual of the vrat is as follows – one should have only one meal (ekabhukt) on Magha Krushna Paksha Trayodashi (Thirteenth day in the dark fortnight of eleventh month of the Hindu lunar almanac). On the next day, that is, Chaturdashi morning, the sankalp (Resolve or intent) for the vrat should be made. In the evening, bathe in a river or a lake according to religious restrictions. Wear a rudraksha mala and apply bhasma (Holy ash). At the time of Pradosh, go to the temple of Deity Shiva, meditate, perform Shodashopchar-puja (Ritualistic worship involving sixteen specific substances) and offer water to Shiva-Parvati. Deity Shiva should be offered 108 lotuses or bel leaves, accompanied by chanting. Then Arghya (An oblation of water to God) should be performed after offering flowers. After worship, recitation of verses and chanting of moolmantras (the primal mantra), the flower offered to Deity Shiva should be taken and kept on one’s head. Also, one should ask pardon for the sins committed.
This year, in some places due to the corona pandemic, there may be limitations on performing this vrat as usual. What should one do in such times? What are the steps to be taken to obtain the benefit of Shivatattva (Principle of Deity Shiva) on Mahashivaratri? Here are some helpful tips and perspectives on this.
Note : These tips are only for those who have restrictions or limitations for observing the vrat of Mahashivaratri at their locations as usual. Where it is possible to observe the vrat and visit temple as usual by abiding all the rules of administration, it should be done as per usual practice.
1. Alternate ways for worshipping Deity Shiva
A. Due to the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Corona pandemic, those who cannot visit the Shiva temple on Mahashivaratri should worship Shivaling at their home.
B. If Shivaling is not available, one should worship the picture of Deity Shiva.
C. If picture of Deity Shiva is also not available, then one should draw a picture of Shivaling or Deity Shiva on a platform for the worship.
D. If none of the above is feasible, then one can write Deity Shiva’s chant ‘ॐ नमः शिवाय ।‘ and worship it.
These points are also applicable to those who fast on Mondays in the Hindu lunar month of Shravan and perform ritualistic worship of Deity Shiva.
E. Mental worship : An important principle in spirituality is that subtle is superior to gross. Also, subtle is more powerful than the gross. This is similar to saying that atomic bomb is more powerful than an ordinary bomb in scientific parlance. According to this principle, if physical worship of Deity Shiva is not possible, one can also worship Him mentally.
2. Chant ‘ॐ नम: शिवाय ।‘ to the maximum
Chanting the Name of God is the recommended spiritual practice for Kaliyug. Chant ‘ॐ नम: शिवाय ।‘ (Om Namah Shivay |) as much as possible in order to avail spiritual benefit from the Principle of Deity Shiva which is 1000 times more active on the day of Mahashivaratri, One should possess spiritual emotion of paying obeisance to Deity Shiva while chanting.
3. Drawing rangoli design that attracts Principle of Deity Shiva
To obtain the Principle of Deity Shiva, one should draw rangoli capable of attracting Principle of Deity Shiva, in front of the entrance door. Seekers of Sanatan Sanstha have found through spiritual practice and research under the guidance of Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale, the specific rangoli design patterns that can attract Principle of Deity Shiva to the maximum extent.
In order to assist in the worship of Deity Shiva, holy text books titled ‘Spiritual interpretation of aspects related to Deity Shiva’ and ‘Spiritual science underlying worship of Deity Shiva’, and booklet ‘Shiva’ have been published and are available on the link https://www.sanatanshop.com
There is a fear of second wave of Corona pandemic everywhere right now. Natural disasters are occurring in many parts of the world. India-China relations are strained. These incidents are signs of coming adverse times. The calamity has begun, as many saints and astrologers have predicted. If you want to survive in these calamitous times, you need spiritual power. Therefore, even though there are limitations in performing the vrats as usual, one should not feel discouraged and should pay more and more attention to ones’ spiritual practice. On the occasion of Mahashivaratri, let us surrender ourselves to the holy feet of Deity Shiva and pray with submission, ‘O Shiva Shambho, give us strength, intellect and inspiration to do sadhana. Let the difficulties and obstacles that come in the way of our sadhana get eliminated.’
– Shri Chetan Rajhans, National spokesperson, Sanatan Sanstha.