Night of Shiva March 5th
Posted February 20, 2005
Shiva Ratri, the Night of Lord Shiva
Shiva Ratri will be celebrated in the Krishna temple at Spanish Fork with classical Indian dance, drama, 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, and feasting.
The Vaikuntha Players have prepared a multi media drama entitled "Marriage of Shiva & Parvati." The characters and cast are : Jai Krishna Das, Lord Shiva: Nirnaya Lohani, Parvati: Jon Chavez, Lord Brahma & King Himavat: Sydhartha Mana, Narada Muni & Indra: Divya Drsti Devi, Kama Dev, or Cupid.
Australian born Sri Keshava will present both dance and songs of devotion. Sri is a member of Taal Dance Co. of Los Angeles, a five member group which performs with noted artists such as DJ Cheb I Sabbah, Karsh Kale and DJ Nihal of the U.K.
Taking ancient songs and chants, some whose origins defy record, Sri blends the traditional sounds of tabla, sarod, violin and harmonium with driving beats & the story telling elements of classical Indian dance. Her latest CD release is called "The Avatar Sessions."
Her style of dance is Mohini Attam, from Kerala. Loosely translated as "the dance of the enchantress," Mohini Attam was developed to capture the soft swaying of the palm trees native to this south Indian beach-side state. She combines her dance with elements of Odissi, Bharata Natyam, Middle Eastern & Modern.
Shiva Ratri is one of the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar. It means literally "the Night of Lord Shiva." In the Hindu pantheon, Lord Shiva is the "Destroyer of Evil" & "the greatest Devotee of Lord Vishnu.". 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 should be blessed with unlimited devotion (bhakti).
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 "bhakti", devotion, and "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)/ Gaura Purnima Saturday March 26 th, 4 pm.
Visit our web site at www.utahkrishnas.com. One drama every hour on Krishna Internet radio, at the Web site --For more stories and twice, thrice weekly updates on the Utah Krishna temple, join the KrishnaKulture yahoo group.
Caru das and Vaibhavi