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Shiva Practices

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Maha Shiva Ratri or Great Night of Shiva. For the glory of Shiva and for the benefit of all, a few words about this holiday.

This night is especially favorable for curbing the mind, for prayers and rituals that will help overcome or realize the cause of psychological, spiritual or material obstacles that lead to suffering and lack of freedom. Any spiritual practice will be favorable for this day: yoga, mantra recitation, meditation, as well as fasting and others.

Shiva (Skt. शिव, śiva, “Supportive”, “Gracious”, “Good”).

He is the one who creates, supports and destroys creation, the defender of righteousness, the conqueror of demons, the bearer of all blessings and the ruler of all things, to which all other gods obey, in one direction of Hinduism, his hypostasis of the destroyer of the Universe at the end of the world cycle - Mahayugi, comes to the forefront. with the goal of creating space for a new creation.It is considered the creator of the sacred sound "Ohm" and Sanskrit. - the language of worship. He has the hypostasis of a healer and deliverer from death (Mahamrityunjaya). His retinue is spirits and demons, By selflessly serving him, they get the opportunity to work out their karma and find a better incarnation..

Also known by the names of Rudra, Shankara, Shambhu, Mahadeva, Maheshwar (The Great God), Nataraja, and other names Shiva's names.

It is most often depicted sitting in a lotus position, with white skin (covered with ashes), with a blue neck, hair tangled or twisted into a bun on the crown (jata), which means the union of spiritual, physical and mental energies, wearing a crescent on the head - a symbol control of the mind, entwined with snakes, like bracelets (on the neck and shoulders), symbolizing the evolutionary power embodied in the human body, the spiritual power that can be developed through yoga. He is dressed in tiger or elephant skin and sits on them, which represents hidden energy and victory over lust. On the forehead is the third eye, which means its ability to see in depth, and three horizontal lines, which are interpreted as three sources of light - fire, the sun and the moon, or Shiva's ability to see the past, present and future. Mahadev holds in his hands a trident that reminds him of his role in the creation process.

Shiva is the highest consciousness of man.

Shiva is the cosmic male principle.

Shiva is called the force that destroys our delusions in the process of spiritual perfection.

Shiva Nataraj - The embodiment of the cosmic mystery of creation. A god with flying hair dances in a fiery halo, destroying and creating new worlds and forms. This process is endless, as the Universe itself.

There is a legend that Shiva in the form of Nataraja performed the great dance of destroying the false Reality.

The poses that he performed in the process of this Cosmic dance became the basis of the yogic asanas of Hatha Yoga.

In conversations with his wife, Parvati Shiva revealed the subtle aspects of other areas of yoga.

Shiva and Parvati

Mahashivaratri

On the fourteenth night of the month of Margh, the Great Night of Shiva is celebrated - Maha Shivaratri.

That night, according to legend, Shiva performed the tandava - a dance of primary creation, preservation and. destruction.

Yogins and various practices venerate the manifestations of Shiva as the Father of the World and Shakti as the Mother of the World. In their essence, Shiva and Shakti are a single beginning.

In one of the legends, Shiva promises his help to someone who devotes this night to spiritual practice, this is perhaps the most significant factor that distinguishes this night from all the others. Symbolizing the aspect of transformation, Shiva helps to overcome obstacles on the way and experience inner bliss and peace.

Shiva is contacted throughout the night by Shivaratri, performing Abisheka (abhiṣeka, “bathing”, “sprinkling”, usually accompanied by recitation of Vedic mantras and / or kirtans), chanting mantras and performing other rituals and practices.

Shivaratri usually has four pujas dedicated to various aspects and manifestations of Shiva in order to encompass various methods and moods of worship, both Vedic and Tantric. In addition, such veneration symbolizes the various stages of spiritual growth, the transitions from one achara to another on a single path of Shiva-realization.

In the 9th century, the Kashmir holy poet Utpaldeva, describing Shivaratri, wrote: "When the Sun, the Moon and all the stars are set at the same time, the shining night of Shiva comes, spreading its own radiance."

Kashmiri pandits usually celebrated Shivaratri for 23 days. At first, six days were devoted to cleaning the house and buying items for Puja. Then, 2-3 days were spent in pious prayers. One day was intended for giving gifts. For two days the Bhairavas were worshiped. One day was intended to worship Shiva. The next day, the oldest person in the family gave gifts to all family members. Then is the day of veneration of Shiva.

The next day, prasadam from walnuts and rice cakes was distributed. In the past, the festival often continued until Ashtami (8th lunar day). The last day is also celebrated as the end of winter and is celebrated by burning kangri. It was before, in the modern world everything is different.

Shiva

Today, Maha Shivaratri falls on the night of the new moon. Thanks to the influence of the moon on Shivaratri, the activity of the mind calms down. The wandering of consciousness through the vastness of the future or immersion in the depths of the past is suspended. There is a unique opportunity to “fix” the moment of the present.
At Shivaratri it is recommended to devote some time to spiritual practice in the evening or at night:

  1. Meditation. If you have the opportunity, be sure to devote at least an hour of your time to meditation, reading mantras dedicated to Shiva or any other prayer close to you. This night is recommended for beginning a long sadhana, taking a vow, since Shiva is the patron of all spiritual practices.
  2. Favorable is fasting during this period, this asceticism gives the desired transformation and deliverance from spiritual problems, dogmas and delusions. Fasting is not only refusal to eat, it includes abstinence from intimate relationships and participation in cultural events (except those with a spiritual content). An amazing opportunity to devote time to your inner world!

Legends of shivaratri

As the Puranas say, once two gods from the Hindu Divine Trinity, Brahma and Vishnu fought each other to prove their valor. Other gods were horrified by the scale of their battle and asked Shiva to intervene. To enable them to realize the futility of their struggle, Shiva took the form of a flaming Lingam between Brahma and Vishnu and challenged both of them, asking them to measure the giant Lingam (symbol of Shiva).

Overwhelmed by awe of its size, Brahma and Vishnu decided that each of them would find one edge to find out the superiority of one over the other. Brahma took the form of a swan and flew up, while Lord Vishnu took the form of Varaha - a boar and went underground, to the lower worlds. Both searched for thousands of miles, but none of them could find an end.

On his way up, Brahma went to the Ketaki flower. Weakened and confused after his efforts to find the upper end of the column of fire, Brahma enlisted the consent of Ketaki to lie about the fact that he saw the top of the column where this flower was at that time. Accompanied by his accomplice, Brahma appeared before Vishnu and stated that he had in fact found the beginning of a cosmic column.

At this moment, the central part of the column opened, and Shiva appeared in all its splendor. In awe, both Brahma and Vishnu bowed before Shiva, recognizing his superiority. Shiva explained to them that both of them came from himself, and then divided into three different aspects of divinity.

However, Shiva was angry with Brahma because of his false statement. The Lord cursed Brahma so that no one would ever pray to him. (This legend explains why there are so few Brahma temples in India). Lord Shiva also punished the Ketaki flower for false testimonies and forbade offering flowers to the gods during worship.

Shiva

Since this happened on the fourteenth day of the dark half of the month of Phalgun, when Shiva first appeared in the form of Lingas, this day is very auspicious and it is celebrated as Mahashivaratri, the great night of Shiva. To mark this event, practitioners fast, stay awake, and offer their prayers to the All-Good throughout the day and night. The Puranas say that worship of Shiva on Sivaratri gives a person happiness and prosperity. This day is very favorable for spiritual practice, since on such special days any efforts in the sadhana bring hundreds of times greater effect than on ordinary ones.

MANTRA SHIVE

1) Shiva Shadakshara Mantra (6-syllable mantra of Shiva):
Om Namah Shiva
Glory to Shiva (to the Good Lord) is a mantra that cleanses all elements.

2) Shiva Panchakshara Mantra (5-syllable mantra of Shiva):
Namah Shiva
Glory to Shiva (to the Good Lord).

3) Maha-mritiunjaya mantra - mantra of the Victory of death
Om Triambakam Yajamaha

We worship the three-eyed Lord (Shiva),
Sugandhim Pustivardhanam
filled with a sweet aroma that nourishes all creatures.
Urvarukam willow bandhanan
Just as a ripe cucumber is separated from the stem,
Mrritor muksia ma mritat
may he set me free from the shackles of samsara and death, and may he strengthen me in immortality.

This mantra is able to prevent accidents, protect from incurable diseases and misfortunes. It bestows health, long life, peace, wealth, prosperity, satisfaction, long life and liberation. This mantra is recommended to be read on your birthday.

4) Shiva Moksha Mantra:
Shivo Ham
I am Shiva. Moksha mantra, granting liberation and divine consciousness.

Shiva

5) Rudra Gayatri:
Om Bhur Bhuwah Matchmaker
Ohm. O Earth, Airspace and Heaven!
Tatpurushaya Widmaha
May we comprehend that Supreme Spirit!
Mahadeva Dhimahi
We contemplate in all manifestations of the Supreme God.
Tanno Rudrah Prachodayat
That Rudra will direct us to the comprehension of Truth!

6) Shiva Gayatri:
Om Bhur Bhuwah Matchmaker
Ohm. Oh, Earth, Airspace and Heaven!
Mahadeva Widmaha
May we comprehend the Great God!
Rudramurtai Dhimahi
We contemplate in all manifestations of God in the form of Rudra.
Tanno Shivah Prachodayat
May Shiva direct us to the comprehension of Truth!

7) The mantra of resorting to Shiva for protection:
Ohm. Namah Shivaya Shantaya
Worship Shiva, complete peace,
Karana-traya-hetave
The prop and cause of the Three Worlds!
Nivediami Chatmanam
I surrender to you with all my soul
Gatism of Parameshvara
I am running to you, O Supreme Lord!

8) Mantra of devotion to Shiva:
Shive bhaktish-shive bhaktish
devotion to Shiva, devotion to Shiva.
Siva bhaktir-bhave bhave
devotion to Shiva in birth after birth.
Anyatha Sharanam Nasti
I have no other refuge and protection,
Twameva Sharanam Mom
only you alone are my refuge!

9) Mantra invocation of Shiva:
Ohm. Namaste Astu Bhagavan Visvesvara Mahayaeva Triambakaya Tripurantaka Trikagnalaya Kalagni-Rudrai Nilakanthaya Mrityunjaya Sarvesvaray Sadashiva Shriman-Mahadevaya Namaha.
Worship of the Lord, Lord of the Universe, Great God, Three-Faced, Destroyer of three demonic cities (three types of evil: anger, lust and envy), personification of the three sacred fires, the Fire of Eternity and Destruction, Blue-eyed, Great Victorious death, Vsevladok, Everlasting good! Holy Great God - worship!

Good practice for the benefit of you and all living things!
OM NAMAH IS SHIVAYA!

Astrologer Tips

According to the scriptures, and astrological indicators are the same - the night from March 7 to March 8, the night of Mahashivaratri, should be devoted to spiritual practice. Prayer Meditation. The lunar tithis that fall this night are called “empty hands”, which means: the time has come for liberation and purification. What is worth taking this night?

Shiva is considered the patron and signifier of the moon. If the Moon has an unfavorable location in your horoscope, or the Moon is going on now, if Saturn has an unfavorable location or you have a Sade Sati period, this night gives you the opportunity to receive blessings and harmonize the influence of Chandra (Moon) and Shani (Saturn). We can say that fasting, meditation, prayer on this night allows you to accumulate a positive potential that compensates for the unconstructive influence of the Moon or Saturn.

Fasting and wakefulness on this night is recommended to representatives of the lunar Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius and Taurus. Your austerity this night will help to solve health problems, reduce the number of obstacles in your way. Why exactly for these constellations? Saturn, in its movement through the sky, is now passing through the constellation Scorpio and casts its gaze (aspect) on the constellation Taurus. Representatives of these signs can feel the restraining influence of Shani in all areas of their lives. For representatives of the lunar Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius - now comes the period of "Sadi Sati", and although many of the nuances depend on your personal horoscope, you can still feel the general uncomfortable context.

Fasting - the first practice on the night of Shiva

For fulfillment, desire or liberation from desires (whoever likes it better) during the Mahashivaratri period, they fast, do not eat or drink (you can’t watch TV either, you need to spend the evening of March 7 without a computer, this is a good post for a modern person).

  • Traditional post accounted for the fourteenth lunar tithi. The beginning of the post on March 7 at 10:50, the end of the post on March 8 at 8:05.
  • Strict post - if health allows, you can keep a strict fast (without water and food). The beginning of the post on March 7 at 10:50, the end of the post on March 9 at 4:50.
  • Simple post - fasting from sunset on March 7 to sunrise on March 8 (meaning sunset time and dawn time in your city).

Shiva is the patron of ascetics, so this night suggests that you give up any attachment, even for a while. If you cannot refuse food, you can take a vow of silence and remain silent for the indicated periods of time. Or quit smoking and drinking alcohol. Perhaps you are prone to bouts of anger and be rude to other people, give up aggression on this day and spend the day alone. you can also refuse your favorite dish - it is also considered a kind of fasting.

The rituals of Mahashivaratri

The Siva Purana instructs you to do puja every three hours associated with a particular aspect of Shiva - you can follow these tips to simplify the ritual a bit. For this you need:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt without flavoring additives (kefir)
  • Melted butter
  • Honey
  • Candles
  • Clean plate and spoon
  • Figurine of Shiva or Lingam, if not available - then any red flower

Buy all products in advance. On the evening of March 7th, after you have completed all your work, take a bath and put on clean clothes of yellow or white color. Prepare all the products - it would be nice to put each of them in a separate bowl. Light candles and incense on the altar. Place a figurine in the center of the plate or put a red flower. Sit down and lay next to the foods you are about to serve. Take three deep breaths and exhale to calm down and put your thoughts in order. Begin the ritual by chanting the Ganesha mantra - OM GAM GANAPATAYE NAMAHA

Read the mantra at least 9 times, and preferably 108. After reading the mantra, proceed to the Mahashivaratri ritual. You can stay awake all night or choose a certain amount of time to stay awake.

"Sattva-guna" - March 7th from 19 to 22 hours

First puja - vaidika (Vedic) - has a sattvic orientation, in it Shiva is revered as Rudra and Lingam. You can listen to Sri Rudram by meditating on harmonizing the situation around the world. “Sri Rudram” is one of the greatest Vedic hymns aimed at the comprehensive benefit and the removal of all obstacles. "Rudram" is a hymn dedicated to Rudra, the incarnation of Shiva. You can also just repeat the mantra: “OM NAMO RUDRAJA!” - the mantra must be said at least 108 times.

Anthem of Lingastakam

The word "lingam" in Sanskrit has several meanings: sign, label, characteristic. In the Shiva Purana it is said: “Linga is the distinguishing mark by which one can recognize one's nature.” The lingam statue is a short cylindrical pillar with a rounded top. The veneration of Shiva in the form of a lingam has been common in India since ancient times. Many believe that the lingam is a phallic symbol in a cult, but this is not indicated either in the Linga Purana or in the Shiva Purana. According to them, Shiva, who is sexless and colorless, with the absence of any qualities, changes and movements, has no form - therefore, such a simple form was chosen for worship.

Prayers in this period of time on March 7 from 19.00 - 22.00 should be pronounced only with good intentions, no selfish desires and petty material requests. It is useful at this time to pray for others: “Lord! Grant healing, protection, blessing to our planet, to people living on earth, may conflicts be resolved peacefully ... ” The puja ends with the offering of milk to the flower or shiva's murti.

"Raja-guna" - March 7 from March 22 to March 8, 1:30

During this period, you can repeat the mantra: “OM NAMAH SHIVAYA”

The second puja is gooseberry (Puranic) - rajasic, Shiva is revered as Sadashiva. Now you can pray for prosperity, for wealth, fame, career, with personal (selfish) motivations. Но это совсем не значит, что обязательно о чём-то просить Шиву. Можно просто славить его, наслаждаться самим процессом поклонения ему. Ритуал молитвы завершается подношением йогурта цветку или мурти Шивы. Бодрствование и молитва в это время поможет вам преодолеть материальные проблемы. С астрологической точке зрения рекомендует в том случае, если в вашем гороскопе неконструктивно располагается Венера, Солнце или Юпитер.

“Tama-guna” - March 8 from 1:30 to 4:30

Third puja - tantrika (tantric), correlated with the tamas guna. Here, the veneration of Shiva in His formidable aspects is performed together with His wife Mahakali. During this stage, one must meditate on the obstacles and problems that stand in your way. Even if you have not been awake all night and you have problems from the above list, be sure to take some time to pray or read the mantra and make an offering.

  • Health problems, especially in chronic diseases.
  • Psychological health problems: phobias, depression
  • Saturn, which has an unfavorable status, is located in the 1st house.
  • Your pet has health problems - one of the forms of Rudra (Shiva) Pashupatinath or master of animals.
  • Problems with conception.
  • You are worried about world problems: such as war, famine, cataclysms and you want to pray for the well-being of our mother Earth.
  • In your horoscope, the Moon, Mars, Lunar nodes (Rahu and Ketu) or Saturn are unfavorably located.
  • Shiva is your “Ishta Devata” (personal deity patron).
  • You are busy with self-development, but you cannot overcome problems.
  • You have mental problems: depression, no peace of mind, you cannot find yourself.
  • Meditation is difficult for you - thoughts constantly interfere.
  • It’s hard for you to control your impulses.
  • You have devastating habits that are difficult to overcome.
  • You have material difficulties that impede your development.
  • Difficulties in your children (up to 7 years). It is believed that parents can influence the fate of a child under the age of seven.
  • Relationship problems.
  • There are many ill-wishers around you, you are faced with such unpleasant aspects of relationships such as envy, gossip, fraud, hatred, violence.

If this is acceptable for you, you can read the Kali mantra - you need to repeat the mantra at least 108 times. Finish the ritual by offering ghee.

Transcendental Puja March 8 from 4:50 a.m. to 8:40 a.m.

The fourth puja - brahma - is transcendental, inner-meditative, it is performed in the predawn time. The last, 4th puja is associated with the veneration of Shiva as the Absolute, which is beyond all qualities, names and forms. What matters here is not so much external veneration as deep meditation and the discovery of inner unity with Shiva. You can read the Shiva bijana mantra - HAUM. "HA"Points to Shiva, and"AU"- on the Garden of Shiva, the OM mantra, or just meditate, pray or practice contemplation. Focus on the throat or the tempech.

It is believed that this time allows you to enter a higher state of consciousness - that which is above thought, above mind. At this time, it is easiest to feel Shiva inside your heart, because a particle of divinity arrives in each of us, to feel your Higher Self. During this period of Mahashivaratri, you can write on your foliage all your requests, problems, both spiritual and material, and then burn their scattering ashes. End your practice by offering honey.

You can stay awake all night or choose a time for prayer and meditation according to your needs and requirements:

  • from 19 before 22 - this is the time when you pray for the common good, for our planet, humanity, living beings
  • from 22 (March 7) until 1:30 (March 8) - you can pray for material wealth.
  • from 1:30 before 4:50 - worship the angry form of Shiva and Shakti, pray if you have serious obstacles and problems.
  • from 4:50 before 8:40 - time for meditation, if you want to feel unity with divine energy, suitable for all spiritual seekers

The Mahashivaratri Night ends with a prasadam tasting - for this you can pre-cook sweet rice or Shiva's favorite dish khir.

How to meditate on Shiva

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