Mahashivratri is one of the greatest and the most celebrated Hindu festivals when Lord Shiva is glorified, worshipped and honored with sanctifying rituals throughout the night. The word Shiva means all-auspicious. Maha means great, and Ratri means night. Maha Shivaratri means The Great Night of Shiva.
For Lord Shiva devotees Maha Shivaratri 2015 is the most important and pious day of the year. It is believed that on the day of Mahashivratri whichever devotee of Lord Shiva worships Him with true devotion is absolved of all sins and is blessed with Nirvana (Moksha). On Maha Shivratri the Universal Spiritual energy is at its peak and thus the effects of the prayers offered to Lord Shiva on the day of Mahashivaratri gets magnified many folds.
Significance of Mahashivaratri
It is believed that on the day of Maha Shivratri, Lord Shiva revealed his Lingam form. So in order to pay tribute, devotees perform the Rudra Abhishekham at midnight of Mahashivaratri to worship the formless Sadashiv.
Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati got married on the day of Mahashivaratri. Thus from ‘Nirgun Brahman’ He became “Sagun Brahman” due to Maya power of Parvati.
Lord Shiva drank the poison Halahal that emerged during the churning of Kshir Sagar or the milky ocean and saved the world from humanity on this day. As an effect of poison the Lord Shiva’s throat turned blue and since then He is also known as Neelkantha.
Also on the night of Mahashivratri Lord Shiva is said to reveal Tandava, the dance of primordial conception, preservation, sustenance and destruction.
On the day of Maha Shivaratri, Maa Parvati performed strict penance for Lord Shiva.
Generally everyone fast during Shivrathri. Some fast the whole day and some do partial fasting( fast only in the night). After completing the Pooja, prasadham is offered to God and everyone breaks the fast with the prasadham.
At our home Pasi Paruppu Payasam ( Moong dhal Kheer) is made as prasadham ( prasad) for this festival.
Pasi paruppu ( moong dal) – 1 cup
Grated jaggery- 1 cup
Milk- 1 and 1/2 cups
Ghee- 2 tbsp
Badam flakes- 1 tbsp
Chopped Cashew nuts- 1 tbsp
Grated coconut- 1 tbsp
Cardamom powder- 1/4th tsp
Dry roast pasi paruppu till it becomes golden red.
Cool and wash well. Add 2 cups of water and cook till it becomes soft.
Dissolve the jaggery in a cup of water well. Strain to remove the dirt.
Add the strained jaggery syrup to the cooked dal and cook on a medium flame till the raw smell of jaggery goes.
Switch off the flame. Add 1 cup of milk and mix well.
Simmer on a medium flame for few mins.
Heat ghee in a pan. Add chopped cashew nuts, badam flakes, coconut and sauté till it becomes golden.
Add it to the payasam. Add cardamom powder and mix everything well.