Sivaratri literally means ‘the night of God Shiva’ and unlike other festivals in Hinduism there is no fun or joyfulness on Mahashivratri day. But this night could be an opportunity to cleanse the sins by worshiping God Shiva in more and keep open the door for his blessings.
The Mahashivratri fasting begins on the morning of Shivratri and ends on next morning or on the Amavasya morning. Since it is a long Upvaas or Vrat, many people prefer to eat a special food known as ‘phalhar.’
Mahashivratri vrat or Shivratri fast is one of the most important fasts of Hinduism. By observing this fast one can have blessing or divine grace of God Shiva.
Apart from that, by observing this fast, the person can have a control over the “Rajo” and “Tamo” guna, the important natural forces that affects on the human being.
The ‘Rajo’ guna literally means the quality of passionate activity. The supernatural force like lust, anger and jealousy are born to be from ‘Rajo’ guna.
Thus as a human being always try to get rid of these evils activities to attain the salvation. It is strongly believed that by observing the Mahashivratri vrat, a person can keep away himself/herself from affecting “Rajo and Tamo” gunas.
So, keep ready to observe the Mahashivratri vrat. Following are some ethics to be followed while observing this fast.
1. Early Morning Bath:
According ethics in Hindu, the person observing the fast should take an early morning bath with warm water mixed with some black sesame seeds. This could clear the body impurities before beginning of the fast.
2. Abhisheka or Bathing The Linga:
The person observing the fast should either visit the nearest God Shiva temple or perform the Abhisheka (bath) to ‘linga’ (divine representation of God Shiva) at home with Panchmrut (Milk, Honey, Dahi, Ghee and Sugar)
After Abhisheka offer gandh, haldi, kumkum, ‘Bilva’ leaf or the Belpatra, dhatura flower or fruit, Akanda flowers to the ‘linga’. Applying of sacred ash, Vibhuthi, to Shivalinga can please to him and also is an important aspect on the Shivratri day. Devotees also use to wear a Rudraksha Mala on this day.
Offer Naivedyam made of extremely fond of milk items,like Kheer and other sweets made of milk to Shiva Lingam a form of God Mahadeva.
Then sit in calm and Chant with the mantra “Om Namah Shivay” as a prayers to the “Shivlinga”.
Then a lamp a lit before the “Shivlinga” with devotional hymns (praise to God, Aarti, Harathi) sung by the devotees.
There are no any hard and fast rules that one should stay completely without food during the vrat. The person on fast can have Fruit juices, Fruits and other special Upavas, vrat dishes like Sabudana, Bhagar Rice, Nuts, etc.
The devotees observing fast should stay up thought the night listening to stories about God Shiva or singing Bhajans in His praise.
The fast is to be broken in the next morning after “Lingaabhisheka” again with offering prayers to it. Break the fast by eating the ‘prasad’ or food offered to God Shiva.
This year in 2014 Mahashivratri is on 27 February Thursday.