Skip to main content

Meaning of Maha Shivaratri: Significance of Tripurandaka, Vibhuti and Gangaajal

Maha Shivaratri is a festival of great spiritual significance to Hindus. Prayers are undertaken by devotees throughout the night. Yet how many of us understand what makes it a holy occasion? It doesn't have anyt marketing jazz or feel-great frenzy to it like many other festivals. Yet Maha Shivaratri is one of the most spiritually powerful festivals you just shouldn't miss.

According to Hindu scriptures, observing night long prayer has been declared by Lord Shiva himself. This is cited as His answer when Parvati Devi asked him which rituals performed by his devotees pleases him most. It is also believed that those who observe Maha Shivratri correctly will be greatly blessed and that they will attain moksha.



Here are some interesting points to explain the spiritual significance of Maha Shivaratri, .taken from various discourses rendered by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

1. Shiva means 'auspiciousness.' Maha Shivaratri should be spent in the constant contemplation of God.

2. According to Hindu scriptures, the moon is the presiding deity of the mind. It keeps waning. That is why all the Chaturdashis (14th days of the dark half of every month) are called Shivaraathris. The Chaturdashi of the Magha month is called Maha Shivaratri. This is a day of special dedication to Lord Shiva. 

3. On Chaturdashi day (14th day after the full moon), the moon sheds fifteen of its sixteen digits/aspects. This makes it a most auspicious time for contemplating on the Eternal Divine. 

4. Maha Shivaratri is an auspicious night because the mind can be made to lose its hold on man by night long prayer. The energy that is received by the devotee is tremendous and divine, particularly at midnight. 

5. The three horizontal ash lines across Lord Shiva's forehead has a spiritual significance for humanity. These lines are called Tripurandaka. As mentioned in the Brihajjabaalopanishad, the three lines represent the Trinity, the three fires and the three worlds.

6.  Vibhuti (sacred ash) is the mark of Lord ShivaAs per Hindu scriptures, Lord Shiva smeared himself with ash after he reduced Manmadha (demi god of Desire/Kama) to ashes.When one wears Vibhuti, the belief is that He (Lord Shiva) has applied it to our brow to remind us that we are Divine by nature and we should burn away material desires and ego.  

7. Also, wearing Vibhuti is a gentle reminder to give up desires, ego, sense of ownership over possessions/relationships and to prepare oneself for Moksha.

 8. The significance of Gangaajal is that it represents the controlled outpouring of life-sustaining holy waters for the benefit of all creatures in the Universe. 

♥♥  I thank you with all my heart for reading my post. I dedicate this post with love and gratitude to all those who chant the Mahamrirtyunjaya mantra with sincerity and faith. REQUEST: Please SHARE this article on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach out to more people who are in various phases of finding their own mantras to move and grow in life. I am grateful and I appreciate you for doing so. ♥♥

Comments

Ajith said…
nice writeup .Last yr i attended webcast of Sivarathri celebrations over nite and stayed till 3 AM ...Even via the webcast it was a profound experience as they were doing overnite chanting starting from 8 PM till next day morning 6 AM


https://www.facebook.com/events/1416161218632190/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming
Ajith said…
Link for the web cast is https://www.facebook.com/events/1416161218632190/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming
Pooja said…
Beautiful blog. I love the way you have brought out everything about Bholenath and Mahashivratri in whole. In a world where people give very less thought to devotion and everything. Here you are writing about it all Swapna. Thought I would share a few words about how I carry out my pooja. Every pooja is incomplete without aarti and every aarti is incomplete without the essence of incense sticks that has been prevalent since the ancient times. I light incense sticks not only because of my devotion towards God but also because it keeps me positive spirited throughout! Try out chandanam essence as a routine while you pray, you'll feel the difference! Happy Mahashivratri Swapna. :)
Asha said…
a very holy post, dear swapna. Loved the spiritual significance of vibhuti and the tripurandaka( did'nt know it was called so). I got to know so many things in this post. Thanks to you.

We make 'puttu' at home, we offer bilva leaves to god, visit temples and do puja. Generally, we go for the night concerts where bhajans and carnatic music is sung. But today we will avoid since the final exam of my children are starting from saturday.

Most Popular Posts

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

Many years ago, when I wrote this post on Kerala's caste system, I had not considered that I would receive such online abuse for writing this or that I would be seen as some one who was trying to insult other castes. The intention of writing is always to share an experience or a perspective, not to insult others.  My experience of motherhood and marriage would be different from yours. When I write about my experience, it is illogical to abuse me because our journeys are entirely different narratives. My life and yours are not the same at any given point of time.

My question is - why do you ABUSE any caste or person here? You are free to disagree but why do you ABUSE? How does that reflect on YOU?

In my article, I shared what trials I went through, without any intention to insult any community.A new book 'Ants among Elephants' written by Sujatha Gidla, who writes about herself as being born 'an untouchable in India' teaches you everything you probably want to know abo…

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

Mahadmrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra nee

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. Do read my post: Does Mahamrityunajaya mantra really work?Of course, it does but you need to undertstand the meaning and significance of the mantra first.
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. [ Do READ: THE POWER OF LOVE]
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he becam…

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! 

[DO READ: The POWER OF LOVE]

Earth Angels have amazing superpowers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions and  becoming invisible at will.
[MUST READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He loves]
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in …

Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer

Come summer, and we women worry a lot about how the sun lashes out on our skin. True, skincare tips for the summer are plenty but what about the hushed secrets - yes, those tried and tested family secrets that are passed on from mother to daughters? [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

FOLLOW MY BOARDS ON PINTEREST

Here are some that are totally easy to do. Best of all, these are effective and bring on a feel-good factor in the peak of summer.

1. Replace water with rosewater. It keeps your skin luminous and fragrant throughout the day. It's a good toner too.

2. Cleanse your skin by combining these ingredients - honey, milk, rosewater/rosepetals and turmeric. Add a dash of olive oil and yes, it feels wonderful.

3. Almond oil body baths are a must-have! You will smell delicious all day. This summer, skip all those body lotions & moisturizers! You will love the way almond oil pampers your skin all day!

4. Use a mixture of almond oil and olive oil for your fe…

Balanced diet for ladies: Eat according to your body’s age

Experts say that as years roll by, your body’s ability to absorb nutrients decline, so it is even more important to formulate a balanced diet and eat according to one’s age.

The following age-specific information (excluding the details given under ‘Expectant Mothers’) is a summary from an article I read in the popular UK food magazine called Delicious and the article is titled “Eat your age: Wise up to your changing needs.” It is written by Anna Montague and published in  March 2011. 

[READ: Why Salad is Good for you ]


FOLLOW MY BOARDS ON PINTEREST

Balanced Diet during Teen Years Iron deficiency is seen as a predominant condition in most teenage girls and this trend is increasing. Teenage girls are not getting enough iron from their diet.

200gm of low fat yoghurt every dayLean meat, fish, pulses and eggsDried fruitsLeafy vegetablesFresh fruitsSay no to sugary drinksHaving a daily sufficient calcium intake is important for girls as it is like having ‘bone in the bank’ for the future.
Balanced…

A Book Review: The Test of my Life by Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh’s book ‘The Test of My Life’ has been summed up accurately by ‘Master Blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar in two words – ‘Pure Inspiration.’ I can’t think of a better word for this book.
Yuvraj Singh’s ‘The Test of My Life’ takes us through a tumultuous, personal account of Yuvraj’s life as a cricketer and cancer survivor. The best and most interesting part is where Yuvraj talks about his ‘deal with God.’ He told God something on the lines of ‘Take my life but give us the World Cup’ and it almost became true in his life, according to Yuvraj. All of this is just an icing on the cake. There’s so much to learn and look forward to in Yuvraj’s book. You should buy the book - it's pure inspiration. ABSOLUTE HONESTY Throughout the book, you will marvel at Yuvraj’s honesty. It isn’t easy to write so openly about a difficult childhood because of parents who couldn’t get along with each other. It isn’t easy to confess how one’s parent would throw ice cold bucket of water on an early winter m…

Why chant Ramayana during the month of Karkidakam

For Keralites across the world who follow the Malayalam calendar, today marks the beginning of the month of Karkidakam. This month, which, decades ago, was known and slightly feared for its torrential rains and negative impact on the health, wealth and well being of Kerala's rural community. 
Why chant Ramayana during Karkidakam To ward off the negative energy unleashed by Nature and its possible repercussions on one's family's overall well being, the wise elders introduced the timeless tradition of every family reading the Ramayana as an oral, spiritual tradition. Thus, it goes without saying that for Keralites who embrace these traditions, the act of reading the Ramayana is as much a spiritual cleansing as it is a kind of tradition they can pass on to bond with their loved family members, particularly children.
In the Ramayana, there is no 'preaching of principles' but you are taken through the Avatar's journey as a human being. Lord Rama depicts how a man shoul…

A Dad's advice to the daughter he loves: Be yourself, remember you are special and treasure your strengths

Just a week ago, Dad gave me a very emotional pep talk at the Bangalore airport. The good thing is that whenever I feel emotionally vulnerable or stressed out, I replay Dad's conversation. It lifts me up and instantly brings a huge smile to my face. That's my Dad - yeah! 




As a teenager, Bangalore used to be one of my favorite cities though the garden city was not as ''global'' and ''vibrant'' as it is today. It was a pretty cool place to go shopping for stylish accessories, not that I could splurge and go crazy with shopping but I could do so on a limited budget. So, I used to look forward to our summer trips to Bangalore, from where we would head out to Whitefield. 

The busy, broad streets, the scent of street food and the vibrant atmosphere had always perked me up every time I reached Bangalore. Be it heading to Puttaparthi or Whitefield, my parents and I have traveled to Bangalore so many times that it became a kind of ''routine'…

Five ways to take charge of your anger

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.” ― William Arthur Ward
Every day, the newspaper headlines are full of scary stories of people killing each other over trivial things - mostly these incidents happen when individuals lose their temper and turn violent. In traffic jams across Noida in the evenings, people don't hesitate to walk out and hit each other.  At workplaces, colleagues lose their temper and say things that they regret later. During holidays with loved ones, small things set us off and we say things that damage relationships forever. No one stops anyone. Everyone likes a big, bad fight. It's great to vent. After all, what's the big deal about getting angry? After all, if you cannot express what pisses you off, how can you call yourself human? 


Does anger solve your problems? You know the answer!

If anger solved all the problems in the world, this world would have been a perfect place centur…

Why Om is powerful and important

Summers are here and I love to bask in the sunshine. We all do, don't we, especially after a brief spell of gloomy, dark winters? The last three months have been challenging for me on the path of Sadhana - many slip ups that I am not proud of. These are gentle reminders to maintain steadfast self-discipline. 

You may wonder, ''Why should one be disciplined on the spiritual path?"



FOLLOW MY BOARDS ON PINTEREST


Can you study any subject and master it without exercising discipline? Whether you are a doctor, a lawyer, a stock exchange broker or a blogger, can you accomplish important milestones without sticking to a certain level of discipline in the way you work? The most successful people across all spheres of life are known to be highly disciplined.

As Swami often points out, even sports, which is meant for enjoyment, cannot have champions unless they are highly disciplined. If you are a blogger, don't you ensure a certain degree of discipline in your approach to findi…