Shiva Ratri, the Night of Lord Shiva
Posted February 1, 2004
Shiva Ratri will be celebrated in the Krishna temple at Spanish Fork with storytelling, a sacred bathing ceremony of Lord Shiva, a power point presentation projected onto a huge screen, the chanting of Lord Shiva's 108 names, music, dance, and feasting. Devotee actors have prepared a multi media drama entitled "Marriage of Shiva & Parvati."
The characters and cast are : Jai Krishna Das, Lord Shiva: Karuna Dasi, Parvati: Jon Chavez, Lord Brahma & King Himavat: Sydhartha Mana, Narada Muni & Indra: Garuda Das, Kama Dev, or Cupid.
Shiva Ratri is one of the most auspicious of days in the Hindu calendar. It means literally "the night of Lord Shiva." In the Hindu pantheon, Lord Shiva is the "Destroyer of Evil". He keeps the forces of darkness and destruction in check until it's time for the annihilation of the universe. The Puranas (ancient scriptures in story form) explain the significance of this festival.
Once when everything in all the worlds was reduced to darkness, the goddess Parvati worshipped Lord Shiva with great devotion. The Lord was pleased by Her prayers and granted her a boon. She asked that in future whoever worships the Lord on the Shiva Ratri day with devotion, they should be blessed and given ultimate salvation.
The Puranas also narrate another incident. The gods argued between themselves as to "who is the greatest". Lord Shiva appeared before them as an unlimited pillar of fire, of which no one could find the beginning or the end. They realized the greatness of Shiva and worshipped the Shiva lingam which is the form of the flame.
There are many incidents told about the greatness of this day. Once a hunter in a jungle was chased up a tree by a tiger. The tree was a bilva tree, special to Lord Shiva. The tiger sat under the tree waiting for him to come down. The hunter to stay awake was plucking the leaves and dropping them on the ground, where there happened to be a mound of earth in the crude form of Lord Shiva. The whole night (which happened to be Shiva Ratri night) went on like this. Lord Shiva was pleased by the fasting and worshipping of the hunter even though it was unconscious. Both the hunter and the tiger were awarded "moksha", liberation.
Guests are invited, if possible, to bring some vegetarian preparation to augment the feast, or fruits or a flower. Admission is free, and to help the temple construction, there will be a $ 5 per plate fee for the feast, which traditionally comprises 20-30 different vegetarian preparations.
Next event: Festival of Colors (Holi) Saturday March 6 th, 4 pm
Caru das and Vaibhavi