Mahashivratri 8 March 2024: Significance & Auspicious Time

Mahashivratri is a festival of great importance, dedicated to Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati, which typically falls on a no-Moon night & when the Sun is in Aquarius in the months of February or March. Saturn & Rahu dominate Aquarius. Lord Shiva is the Pratyadi Devata of the Sun & the Jyotirlingam is associated with Aquarius.

Mahashivratri 8 March 2024: Significance & Auspicious Time

This day has a lot of spiritual and religious significance in Hinduism. Every luni-solar month, there is a Shivratri, the day before the new Moon. However, this Mahashivratri falls on Chaturdashi Tithi Krishna Paksha, also known as Padmarajarathri or ‘The Great Night of Shiva,’ in the month of Phalguni or Magha. It is believed that Lord Shiva wed Goddess Parvati on this day.

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It is believed that after Sati's death, Lord Shiva underwent deep meditation and later Sati was reincarnated as Parvati, and the day when Parvati became Lord Shiva's consort is celebrated as Mahashivratri. The celebration commemorates ‘overcoming darkness and ignorance.’


Mahashivratri 2024: 8 March

Puja Muhurta (Auspicious Time):

12:12 am till 1:01 am, 9 March

Steps to perform Mahashivratri Puja

DHYANAM: Begin puja by meditating on Lord Shiva in front of Shivalinga.
AVAHANAM: Invoke Lord Shiva by chanting a mantra (sacred verse) while doing the Avahan Mudra (by joining both palms and folding both thumbs inwards).
PADYAM: While reciting the mantra, offer him water to wash his feet.
ARGHYAM: Pour water on his head and recite the Rudram and Chamakam mantras.
ACHAMANIYAM: Offer water to Lord Shiva.
GODUGDHA SNAN: Take a bath with cow milk while chanting mantra.
DADHI SNAN: Take a bath with curd while chanting mantra.
GHRITA SNAN: Take a bath with ghee while chanting mantra.
MADHU SNAN: Offer a bath to Lord Shiva with honey while chanting mantra.
SHARKARA SNAN: Offer a bath to Lord Shiva with sugar while chanting mantra.
SHUDDHODAKA SNAN: Offer a bath to Lord Shiva with fresh water while chanting mantra.
VASTRAM: Offer Lord Shiva clothes while chanting mantra.
YAGYOPAVITHAM: Offer holy thread to Lord Shiva.
GANDHAM: Apply Sandalwood paste to Lord Shiva.
AKSHATAN: Offer Akshat (unbroken rice) to Lord Shiva.
PUSHPANI: Offer flowers and garland to Lord Shiva.
BILVA PATRANI: Offer Bilva Patra to Lord Shiva.
DHOOPAM: Offer Agarbatti or incense sticks to Lord Shiva.
DEEPAM: Offer an enlightened earthen lamp of pure ghee to Lord Shiva.
NAIVEDYAM: Offer different types of fruits and sweets to Lord Shiva.
ACHAMANIYAM: Offer Achamana to Lord Shiva.
TAMBULAM: Offer areca nut and betel leaf to Lord Shiva.
DAKSHINA: Offer money or gift of any kind to Lord Shiva.
AARTI: Offer lit camphor in puja thali to Lord Shiva.
PRADAKSHINAM: Take the Parikrama of Lord Shiva.
MANTRA PUSHPANJALI: Offer incantations and flowers to Lord Shiva.
KSHAMA PRARTHANA: Ask Lord Shiva forgiveness for sins.


Mahashivratri Fast (actions to follow):

  • Get up early in the morning, two hours before dawn.
  • Take a bath and dress cleanly. Make a ‘sankalp’ that you will observe the fast with commitment and dedication for the entire day. You can take the ‘sankalp’ by placing some rice and water in your hand.
  • Before beginning the fast, speak with your doctor if you are experiencing any health problems.
  • Chant ‘Om Namah Shivay’ aloud.
  • In the evening, take a second bath before doing the Shiva Puja. After doing puja at night, you should break your fast the next day.
  • To maximize the benefits of the fast, break it between sunrise and the end of Chaturdashi Tithi.

Mahashivratri Fast (actions to avoid)

  • Avoid eating anything that contains rice, wheat or pulses.
  • Avoid non-vegetarian food, garlic and onions.


Why is Mahashivratri Celebrated?

In the Shaivism tradition, Mahashivratri is celebrated by groups undertaking group prayers, singing ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, emphasizing fasting, meditation on Shiva, and offering ‘abhishekam’ (pouring holy water, milk, honey, and other items on Lord Shiva's linga form).

According to Shaivism, Shiva performs the divine dance of creation, preservation and destruction on this particular night.

Reading the Shiva texts and reciting hymns inspires you to achieve liberation.
There are historical origins to the importance of dance tradition during this festival. Mahashivratri has historically brought together performers for yearly dance celebrations in major Hindu temples like Konark, Khajuraho, Pattadakal, Modhera, and Chidambaram.

The Natyanjali event takes place in the Chidambaram temple which is well-known for its scriptures and mudras. Natyanjali is Sanskrit for ‘worship through dance.’ On Mahashivratri, a large fair and dance event is held at the Khajuraho Shiva temples. Another set of beliefs holds that Shiva vanquished all of his enemies on this day, and for ascetics, it marks the day when he completely united with Mount Kailash.

Shiva is referred to as Adi-Guru (the first teacher) or Dakshinamurty (benevolent teacher) rather than being worshipped as a god. Therefore, Mahashivratri is a day when Shiva is worshipped in order to maintain peace in life.


What is the Scientific & Spiritual Significance of Mahashivratri?

Festivals are strongly influenced by the calendar, which is created by analyzing the movements of the planetary system. We are connected to earth and our existence is infleunced by the planets, which are revolving like a potter's wheel. Hence, we are impacted by whatever happens in the solar system.

The axis of a planet does not simply spin; rather, it wobbles, and this wobble results in a particular condition on the planet. There is an increase in energy on the day of Maha Shivratri, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, which influences all bodily fluids.

After the winter solstice in December, the planetary configuration is such that it causes a natural upsurge of energy on this night in a massive way; if you lie down on this day, you are kind of blocking it, you are not only losing the benefit, but you may also harm yourself in a very sensitive way.

If you want to harness this energy for a healthy life, you must sit up straight and keep your back straight to encourage the energy to ascend even higher and awaken your kundalini. This is the day when you can triumph against ignorance, our enemy on the path of the soul.


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