Generally I like writing topical blogs and traditions and folklore concerning Festivals is an area of special interest. Therefore, I ran series of blogs on Diwali and then on Christmas. Mahashivratri has lots of religious significance but is not a festival in a sense Diwali, Holi and Christmas are! However, one of my readers actually enquired whether I would be writing a blog on Mahashivratri and also very generously sent me some material on the significance of the day! I thank my blog follower, an erstwhile colleague and a friend Sanjit for his coaxing me and inspiring me to writing this blog!
Lord Shiva or Bholenath, Shankar, Mahesh, Shambhu, Mahadev and hosts of other names by which he is known as and worshipped by his devotees, is amongst the most popular of the Gods. Forming part of the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, who are creator, operator and destroyer respectively, the question arises that why is the destroyer most popular and more popular than creator and operator? Because he is not destroyer in the sense we understand destruction. He is destroyer of everything negative – energy, thoughts, karma. He is also the easiest to please and therefore fondly addressed as Bholenath or Bholebaba for his this innocence.
Interestingly, Mahashivratri is celebrated not only to herald birth of Lord Shiva, but also his marriage to Goddess Parvati that was solemnised on this day. The long queues out side Shiva temples bear testimony to his popularity amongst his devotees. In fact, Mahadev is a holistic god, who combines the truth and beauty for the larger good giving birth to the phrase Satyam Shivam Sundaram.
His enigma is his charm. While his abode in Himalaya on Mount Kailash is inaccessible (having never been climbed ever), his other abode at crematoriums ( where aghoris worship his destructive form through various rituals) only add to his enigma, endearing him more and more to his devotees.
All the festivals, apart from their religious significance and folklore associated with them, give us a message of peace, sacrifice, brotherhood, frugality and unity and the underlying message should not be lost in the frivolities of celebrations.