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Difference Between Shivaratri And Maha Shivaratri

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By Author: AstroVed
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Shiva is a major figure in the Hindu pantheon of gods. He is also part of the holy trinity, along with Brahma and Vishnu.

He is a protector as well as a destroyer. As Kaala Bhairava, he is the master of time. He is also linked to creation. Hindus believe that the universe regenerates in cycles. Shiva destroys the universe when each cycle ends, so that things can be created anew. He is a great ascetic, who abstains from all pleasure, and meditates to find perfect bliss. He is the protector of the sacred Hindu texts called the Vedas.
His consort is Goddess Parvati, and their children are Ganesha and Muruga. Devotees of Shiva are called Shaivites.


Shivaratri is celebrated every month in a year as an auspicious time to worship Shiva. Thus, there are 12 Shivaratris in one year. The 14th day of a lunar month, or the day before the New Moon day is Shivaratri. It is also called Masik (monthly) Shivaratri. There are legends that explain why Shivaratri is celebrated on this day.

There are some legends that explain the origin of Shivaratri.

It is the day when Shiva and Parvati supposedly got married. Thus it is a symbol of the union of two supreme powers. Legend says that Parvati did intense penance and suffered great hardships to woo Shiva and marry him. Shiva had been deep in meditation after a period of intense grief following the death of his beloved wife, Sati. Finally, Shiva relented, and the two got married. This is one legend.

The second legend talks about Samudra Manthan when the gods and the demons came together to churn the Milky Ocean for the divine elixir called Amrit, which could give immortality. As they were churning the ocean, many things emerged from it. One was halahala, a very dangerous poison that could destroy the entire universe. Frightened, the gods and demons ran to Shiva and begged him to protect them. Shiva agreed and drank the poison. But Parvati ensured that he didn’t swallow it by keeping her palm on his neck. The poison stayed in his throat, and his throat turned blue. For this reason, he was called Neelkantha. The gods were very grateful to Shiva for saving the world. To express their gratitude, they sang and danced before him, which pleased him greatly. This day came to be celebrated by all Hindus as Shivaratri, the great night of Shiva when he made the supreme sacrifice to save the universe by drinking the deadly poison.

On the night of Shivaratri, devotees stay up all night to keep vigil. They sing bhajans, do Pooja and arti, recite Shiva mantras, and observe vrat or fasting. They also do meditation and visit Shiva temples.

What is Maha Shivaratri?

Maha Shivaratri is one of the 12 Shivaratris that occur every year. It is called so because it depends on some planetary positions. During this time, they affect the earth’s northern hemisphere, which results in a surge in energy levels in the human body. This surge in energy levels enables the devotee to attain a higher level of spirituality, which in turn helps them to connect with the Supreme Consciousness that is Shiva. By observing vrat and meditating on Shiva, one will be able to access one’s higher self. By concentrating on our inner selves, we will be able to remove the darkness within us, and become free of Maya or illusion, and see the truth behind everything.

In the south Indian calendar, Maha Shivaratri falls on the 14th day in the month of Magha (Feb – March) during the dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha. In the north Indian calendar, it falls on the 14th day during the dark fortnight in Phalgun month. In 2021, Maha Shivaratri will be celebrated on March 11.

For those who are on the spiritual path, Mahashivratri holds great significance. But it is also important for householders and ambitious people. Those who have families observe this day as Shiva’s wedding anniversary. People with worldly ambitions regard it as the day Shiva overcame his enemies. Ascetics believe that on this day, he merged with Mount Kailash and became absolutely still, like a mountain. After meditating for many millennia, he became completely still on the day of Maha Shivaratri.

More About the Author

AstroVed offers you Vedic Astrology Services that can provide answers related with any area of your life. Our tools will help you understand and evaluate your life. This will help to trouble shoot the areas that you need assistance with, by performing remedies and then maximizing the future potential. Connect to the success vibes with our special astrology services.

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