How to celebrate Mahashivaratra in times of adverse times?

Mahashivaratra is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the country. The vrat (Vowed religious observance) of Mahashivratra is performed on the fourteenth day in the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Magha. This year Mahashivaratra is on 11th March 2021. Fasting, worship and remaining awake the whole night are the three aspects of this vrat. The ritual of the vrat is as follows – one should have only one meal (ekabhukt) on Magha Krushna Paksha 13 (Thirteenth day in the dark fortnight of eleventh month in the Hindu lunar almanac). On the next day, that is, Chaturdashi morning, the sankalp (Resolve or intent) for the vrat should be made. In the evening, bathe in a river or a lake according to religious restrictions. Wear a rudraksha mala (A rosary made with rudraksha seeds) and apply bhasma (Holy ash). At the time of Pradosh, go to the temple of Deity Shiva, meditate, perform Shodashopchar-puja (Ritualistic worship involving sixteen specific substances) and offer water to Shiv-Parvati. Deity Shiva should be offered 108 lotuses or bel leaves, accompanied by chanting. Then Arghya (An oblation of water to God) should be given after offering flowers. After worship, recitation of verses and chanting of moolmantras (the primal mantra), the flower offered to Deity Shiva should be taken and kept on one’s head. Also, one should ask pardon for the sins committed.

This year, in some places on the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, there may be limitations on performing this vrat as usual. What should one do in such a time ? What are the steps to be taken to obtain the benefit of Shivatattva (Principle of Deity Shiv) on Mahashivaratra ? Here are some helpful tips and perspectives on this.

(Note : These tips are only for those who have restrictions or limitations for observing the vrat of Mahashivaratra at their locations as usual. Where it is possible to observe the vrat and visit temple as usual by abiding to all the rules of administration, it should be done as per usual practice.)

1. Options for performing worship of Deity Shiva

A. Due to the restrictions imposed on the backdrop of the Corona pandemic, those who cannot visit the Shiva temple on Mahashivaratra should worship Shivalinga at their home.

B. If Shivalinga is not available, one should worship the picture of Deity Shiva.

C. If picture of Deity Shiva is also not available, then one should draw a picture of Shivalinga or Deity Shiva on a platform for the worship.

D. If none of the above is feasible, then one can write Deity Shiva’s chant ‘ॐ नमः शिवाय ।’ ( Om Namaha Shivay) and worship it.

These points are also applicable to those who fast on the Mondays of Hindu lunar month of Shravan and perform ritualistic worship of Deity Shiva.

E. Mental worship : An important principle in spirituality is that subtle is superior to gross. Also, subtle is more powerful than the gross. This is similar to saying that atomic bomb is more powerful than an ordinary bomb in scientific parlance. According to this principle, if physical worship of Deity Shiva is not possible, one can also worship Him mentally. Guidance on performing mental worship of Deity Shiv is presented on website on the link

2. Chant ‘ॐ नम: शिवाय ।’ ( Om Namaha Shivay) to the maximum extent

Chanting the Name of God is the recommended spiritual practice for Kaliyug. Chant ‘ॐ नम: शिवाय ।'( Om Namaha Shivay) as much as possible in order to avail spiritual benefit from the Principle of Deity Shiva which is 1000 times more active on the day of Mahashivratra, One should possess spiritual emotion of paying obeisance to Deity Shiva while chanting.

3. Drawing rangoli capable of attracting Principle of Deity Shiva

To obtain the Principle of Deity Shiva, one should draw rangoli capable of attracting Principle of Deity Shiva, in front of the entrance door. Seekers of Sanatan Sanstha have found through spiritual practice and research under the guidance of Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale, the specific rangoli design patterns that can attract Principle of Deity Shiva to the maximum extent.

In order to assist in the worship of Deity Shiva, Holy texts titled ‘Spiritual interpretation of aspects related to Deity Shiv’ and ‘Spiritual science underlying worship of Deity Shiva’, and booklet ‘Shiva’ have been published and are available on the link

4. Perspective

There is a fear of another wave of Coronavirus everywhere right now. Natural disasters are occurring in many parts of the world. India-China relations are strained. These incidents are signs of adverse times. The calamity has begun, as many Saints and astrologers have predicted. If you want to survive in these adverse times, you need the spiritual power. Therefore, even though there are limitations in performing the vrats as usual, one should not feel discouraged and should pay more and more attention to ones’ spiritual practice. On the occasion of Mahashivaratra, let us surrender ourselves unto Holy feet of Deity Shiva and pray with submission, ‘O Shiva Shambho, give us strength, intellect and inspiration to do sadhana. Let the difficulties and obstacles that come in the way of our sadhana get eliminated.

– Chetan Rajhans, National Spokesperson, Sanatan Sanstha