Shiv Shakti Mandir Celebrates MahaShivratri

Mahashivratri 2

By Vanshika Vipin

HOUSTON: This year, the Maha Shivratri festival was celebrated with great enthusiasm at the ‘Sanatan Shiv Shakti Mandir of Houston’ located on Harwin. According to sacred scriptures, the ritual worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri festival that falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalgun pleases Lord Shiva the most. This year it took place on the February 17, at the temple which also has the First Jyotir Lingam, a replica of God Somnath and Maa Shri Ambaji in Houston.

The festival of Mahashivaratri is the most important festival for the millions of devotees of Lord Shiva.  What made this festival a grand event was the number of devotees who came at the temple for Darshan; the figure exceeded 5000.

Shivaratri Pooja has been given tremendous significance in Hindu mythology. It is said that ritual worship of Lord Shiva on a Shivaratri day pleases Lord Shiva the most. Devotees further believe that by pleasing Lord Shankara on the auspicious Shivaratri day, a person is absolved of past sins and is blessed with Moksha or salvation.

Maha Shivratri 1

According to Shiva Purana, sincere worship of Lord Shiva yields merits including spiritual growth for the devotees. It also provides extensive details on the right way to perform Shivratri Puja. Shiva Purana further says that performing abhisheka of ShivaLinga with six different dravyas including milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water. Each of these dravya used in the abhisheka blesses a unique quality:

Milk is for the blessing of purity and piousness.
Yogurt is for prosperity and progeny.
Honey is for sweet speech.
Ghee is for victory.
Sugar is for happiness.
Water is for purity.

Keeping in mind all the above, the Maha Shivratri puja of four Prahar was performed with a lot of passion throughout the night. The Maha Shivratri puja started at 8:30 PM after the evening Aarti and ended the next day morning at 6:00 AM. The devotees were also allowed inside the front area of Garbhgruh to perform the Abhishek. The Mrutyunjya japa Yajna was also performed all day long. Devotees believe that sincere observance of Shivaratri puja and all night worship of Lord Shiva will absolve them of all their sins and liberate them from the cycle of birth and death.

Thandai, a drink made with bhang (cannabis), almonds, and milk, is essentially drunk by the devout on the day as cannabis is said to have been very dear to Shiva. Thus, the Milk Thandai and Prasad were served by temple and were relished by all.

Virat Mehta, Managing Trustee of the temple said, “We are very thankful to all our devotees who came for Darshan and would like to thank everyone for their support” .