Maha Sivarathri Celebrated @ Sri Meenakshi Temple


By Bhargavi Golla


Sri Meenakshi Temple celebrated Maha Sivarathri with devotion and religious fervor in the honor of Lord Shiva on Tuesday, February 13. Lord Shiva is regarded as the God of immense power and destroyer of evil.  This special day is not for celebrations and merry-making but to worship Lord Shiva, introspect and become meditative.


Maha Sivarathri is celebrated in the dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha at the 13th night or 14th day of the month Maagha or Phalguna (February or March). Sivarathri comes once every month, Maha Sivrathri or the “great night of Shiva” comes once in a year in the month of Maagha.  On this night, the northern hemisphere of the planet is positioned in such a way that there is a natural upsurge of spiritual energy in a human being.


There are several legends around Maha Sivarathri. According to a legend, Maha Sivarathri was the day when Shiva drank poisonous negativity to protect the world. Another legend says that it is the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation and destruction, while some believe that this is the night marking the convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Lord Shiva depending on his various qualities, have been recognized and called by 108 different names:  Bholeshankar, Parameshwara, Shiv Shambu, Mahadev, Shambhunath, Ardhnarishwar, Devadideva, Kailashnath, Nataraj, Mahayogi, among others.


There was a steady stream of devotees through out the day and swell to a big group for the evening’s main event.  Priests performed initial rituals of Sankalapam, Vigneswara puja and Punyahavachanam (purification).  It was followed by Ashtothra Satha (108) Sanku (conch) Puja and Homam while priests and devotees chant the most divine Sri Rudhram.  One could feel the spiritual vibrations from Rudra Japam inside the temple.   Priests performed Abhishekam to Lord Sundareswara in the sannidhi with the sanctified water from 108 sanku and decorated with beautiful Alankaram.

When the sanctum doors opened, going into raptures all the devotees started chanting loudly the sacred ‘Om Namah Shivaya’.  A special Archana was performed with gold Bilva leaves while the devotees’ recited Vedic mantra led by priests.  Nandi (vahana of Shiva) was beautifully decorated with fruits and flowers garlands.  Since pradosham also fell on the same day, Pradhosha moorthy on a Rishaba vahanam was taken in a procession around the temple with Chenda Melam performed by young MTS devotees.   The evening puja concluded with the Maha Aarthi and Aathmalinga puja where all devotees lined up to perform their own milk abhishekam to the Shiva Lingam.

This year the silpis, priests and volunteers worked hard to setup the magnificent special exhibit of Maha Pradosha Thandavam.  M.K. Sriram explained about the exhibit: At the holy Kailas Mountain, during the most auspicious time of Pradosham, Lord Shiva dances to the absolute delight of Sri Parvathy and all the Devas and Devathas assembled there.  Lord Brahma sets the beat to the heavenly music accompanying the divine cosmic dance, while Lord Indra plays the flute and Lord Vishnu plays the drums.  

Many children after the school gathered at the temple and participated in the cultural program at Nataraja Sannidhi.  Partha Krishnaswamy coordinated the cultural program on this auspicious day.  These children mesmerized the audience with their Carnatic talents and beautiful voice and dance.  All the dances were wonderfully choreographed on the theme of Lord Shiva by many of Houston’s dance schools including Abhinaya School of Dance, Silambam.  May Lord Shiva bestow all the blessings on these children and the gurus.

Temple stayed open through out the night and several ardent devotees observed jagaram at the temple by participating in Chaturkala Puja at midnight, 1:30AM, 3AM and 4:30AM and by chanting Shiva Bhajans.

MTS Chairman Dr. Padmini Ranganathan thanked the priests, staff, Board and volunteers.    M.K. Sriram, Muthukumar and Pandu N coordinated this blissful event.

A brief video of the event can be found at: