Significance of Shivaratri
Shivarathri means ‘the night of Shiva’ and is observed in honour of Lord Shiva (The meditative aspect of the Universe). According to the legend from Shivapurana, when Shiva was asked by Parvathi what pleases him most, He is supposed to have replied thus: ‘The 14th night of the new moon, in the dark fortnight during the month of phalgun, is my most favorite day. It is known as Shivarathri’.
Shiva is the meditative aspect of the entire Universe. Shiva pervades the entire Universe. He is in every atom of the Universe. He has no form but is in every form, so full of compassion. Ling means symbol (chinha in Hindi) that is how it’s come to be used as in Striling, Pulling, (female and male gender) Chinha means that through which you can recognize the whole consciousness represented in the Ling. In Tamil there is a saying“Anbe Shivan, Shivan Anbe” means Shiva is love and love is Shiva, the soul of the creation called Isha or Shiva.
The devotees, in order to bring balance in the rajas (The primordial guna which brings forth activity) and Tamas(The primordial guna which brings forth inertia), and to uplift sattva (The primordial guna which gets the tasks accomplished), observe fast on this day. They keep awake at night and Shiva Lingam is worshipped throughout the night by washing it every three hours with milk, curd, honey, rose water, etc. whilst the chanting of Om Namah Shivaya continues. Bael leaves considered sacred to Lord Shiva are offered. Hymns in praise of Lord Shiva are sung. The traditional ritual is done to bring auspicious energy on the Earth and enriches the space within. However, the devotion plays the utmost role. The Om Namah Chanting is done to harmonize the five elements in the environment.