Mahashivaratra (8th March 2024)

Mahashivaratra is celebrated on the 14th day in the dark fortnight of Magha when the Shiva Principle is 1,000 times more active than on other days. Chanting II Om Namaha Shivaya II as much as possible is highly beneficial on this day. Fasting, worship and a night of devotional songs are the 3 aspects of this auspicious day.

On the previous day, that is on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of Magha, the devotees can eat one meal only. On the 14th day, they can make a resolve in the morning, and in the evening have a ritualistic bath. They can then visit a Shiva temple, meditate on Him and perform the Shodashopachar-pujan (Ritualistic worship involving 16 specific substances and actions) followed by tarpana (Offering water) to appease Shiva and Parvati.

108 lotuses or bel leaves are offered to Deity Shiva while chanting His Name and reciting mantras, followed by the offering of flowers and water, recitation of stotras and chanting of the mulamantra. Then one flower from the head of Deity Shiva is removed and placed on the worshipper’s head, who seeks forgiveness for any mistake committed inadvertently during the ritual.

Yaamapuja and its spiritual benefit

On Mahashivaratra, 4 worships, known as Yaamapuja, are performed during the 4 prahars (each prahar is equal to a 3-hour period). During every Yaamapuja, Deity Shiva is given abhyangasnan and smeared with sandalwood paste. Deity Shiva promised His devotees that all the desires of men will be fulfilled; spinsters will get grooms they desire; married women will have a long marital life.

Spiritual reason for offering bel leaves upside down

When the bel leaves are offered upside down on the Shivapindi, the vibrations at the nirgun level are transmitted in a greater proportion from them. The worshipper gets maximum benefit from the bel leaves. If fresh bel leaves are not available, old leaves can be used; however, the bel leaves plucked on a Monday cannot be used the next day.

Prayers that can be made to Deity Shiva

1. O’ Mahadev ! Let the spiritual emotion of detachment be created in me as is in You.

2. O’ Shivashankar ! Protect me from the distress caused by negative energies. I pray that a protective sheath of the chant of Your Name be present around me always.
Method of Shrungadarshan (Viewing the Shivalinga through Nandi’s horns)

1. ‘Shrunga’ actually indicates various Divine plays of Shiva. The Shivagans (Attendants of Shiva) participate in His various Divine plays and the presiding Deity of the Shivagans is Nandi, who leads the Divine plays. Through him, the iccha-shakti (Energy of will) of Shiva assumes an inherently Tej (Radiant) form and performs a task for the Universe. Nandi’s horns have the ability to lead various Divine plays of Shiva.

2. The radiance emanating from the Shivapindi is too powerful for an ordinary individual to tolerate. Due to the emission of the sagun-marak (Materialised-destroyer) waves of the Shiva Principle from Nandi’s horns, the Raja-Tama particles in the individual disintegrate and his sattvikata (Spiritual purity) increases.

Only then is it possible to absorb the powerful waves emanating from the Shivapindi. If the Shivapindi is viewed directly instead of through Nandi’s horns, the individual may be stuck by the radiant waves from the pindi and he may face physical problems such as sudden increase in body heat, numbness of the head, trembling of the body.

Correct method of Shrungadarshan

As per Shri Gurucharitra (49.44), we should sit or stand on the right side of Nandi and place our left hand on His testicles. This denotes learning how to control our sexual urge. Place the forefinger and thumb of the right hand on His horns. The horns symbolize ego, masculinity and anger; touching them denotes that we should control these traits. Due to this mudra, the devotee gets greater benefit at the spiritual level since the flow of Shakti emanating from the Shivapindi gets activated to a higher extent and it spreads throughout the body.

Mahamrutyunjaya Mantra

From this mantra, we acquire immense energy to ward off accidents, diseases or untimely death. A long life, prosperity, strength, contentment, Shanti (Peace) and Moksha (Final liberation) can also be attained through it.

Yama, the Master of the Southern direction, is the Deity of death, whereas Deity Shiva who is Mrutyunjaya (One who has conquered death) is the Master of the Northern direction. Shivapindi is also always installed facing the North. Yama is the Master of the smashan (Hindu cemetery), whereas Deity Shiva stays there, wearing a garland of skulls and engrossed in meditation. Through penance, the soul crosses Agni (Fire), Yama (Deity of Death), Varun (Deity of water) and Vayu (Air) Principles and reaches Shivatattva, the conqueror of death. The jiva (Embodied soul) is then granted protection by Deity Shiva and handed over to the Divine Principle – this is the time when the jiva and Shiv merge.

– Paratpar Guru Parashram Pande Maharaj

Deity Shiva – One who performs spiritual practice Himself and ascertains the spiritual progress of others Shiva meditates on the Kailas Mountain and keeps a watch on the entire world. He Himself performs spiritual practice and ascertains the spiritual progress of others.

– Paratpar Guru Parashram Pande Maharaj

To know more about Deity Shiva, read Sanatan’s Texts – ‘Spiritual interpretation of aspects related to Deity Shiva’ and ‘Spiritual science underlying worship of Deity Shiva’.

Sanatan’s Sattvik Name-strip of Deity Shiva

These Name-strips have inherent Chaitanya (Divine consciousness) due to a combination of sattvik letters and borders, in keeping with the Principle of Deity Shiva. The Name-strips attract and emit His Principle. Please see the subtle drawing depicting the subtle characteristics in it. The proportion of different vibrations in it include Shanti (Peace) and Shivatattva (Shiva Principle) – 4% each, Shakti and Positive vibrations – 2% each.

The roundedness of the letters obtains nirguntattva (Non-materialised Principle)to a greater extent. When you look at the Name-strip for long, the letters appear to move, and after some time it is perceived that there are no letters at all. The Name (of God) merges with the breath, or the mind is able to concentrate on the breath. These Name-strips are available at any Sanatan outlet or Online at :

Understand what is ‘subtle’

1. Subtle world : That which cannot be comprehended by the five sense organs, but whose existence is comprehended by the one who performs spiritual practice is known as the ‘subtle world’. Various Scriptures mention this subtle knowledge.

2. Seeing, hearing in the subtle, etc. : The subtle vision of some seekers is awakened – they can perceive what the physical eyes cannot see, some seekers can hear sounds or words in the subtle.

3. Subtle analysis : ‘Subtle analysis’ is that in which the chitta (Subconscious mind) understands about an event or a process.

Editorial Perspective

Through penance, the soul crosses Agni, Yama, Varun and Vayu Principles and reaches Shivatattva, the conqueror of death !