Deciphering Maha Shivaratri And Shivratri: What Sets Them Apart?

Wed, Mar 06, 2024
Team Astroyogi
  By Team Astroyogi
Wed, Mar 06, 2024
Team Astroyogi
  By Team Astroyogi
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Deciphering Maha Shivaratri And Shivratri: What Sets Them Apart?

The pious festival of Maha Shivratri is a spiritually significant night in Hinduism. 

Nevertheless, people still wonder, "What is the difference between Shivratri and Mahashivratri?" Although these two auspicious festivals are for Lord Shiva, they are not the same. 

Before, moving into the difference between Shivratri and Mahashivratri, check out the Maha Shivaratri 2024 dates and timings. 

About Maha Shivaratri

Maha Shivaratri is observed annually to honor Lord Shiva, the destroyer, one of the three main Hindu gods that make up the Trimurti. Maha Shivratri's meaning is 'the Great Night of Shiva', making it a crucial festival for the devotees of Lord Shiva. 

According to the Hindu calendar, this colossal festival is observed on the 14th day or Chaturdashi of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Phalguna or Magha. Generally, the occasion falls in February or March. This grand festival commemorates Lord Shiva's marriage to Goddess Parvati, which is why Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva are worshiped on this day.   

2024 Maha Shivaratri Date And Timings: Get to Know!

  • Maha Shivratri 2024 Date - 8th March 2024 (Friday)

The other relevant Maha Shivaratri Pooja timings are given below. 

  • Nishita Kaal Pooja Timing - From 12:07 AM to 12:56 AM (IST), 9th March 2024

  • Chaturdashi Tithi (Starts) - 09:57 PM, 8th March 2024

  • Chaturdashi Tithi (Ends) - 06:17 PM, 9th March 2024

  • 1st Prahar Pooja Time at Night - From 06:25 PM to 09:28 PM

  • 2nd Prahar Pooja Time at Night - From 09:28 PM to 12:31 AM, 9th March 2024

  • 3rd Prahar Pooja Time at Night - From 12:31 AM to 03:34 AM, 9th March 2024

  • 4th Prahar Pooja Time at Night - From 03:34 AM to 06:37 AM, 9th March 2024

On 9th March 2024 (Saturday), the Maha Shivaratri Parana timing will be from 06:37 AM to 03:29 PM. 

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The Relevance of Mahashivratri 

The Significance of Mahashivratri is deeply rooted in Hindu mythology. This holy day is believed to commemorate the union of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. It is also thought to be the point of convergence of Lord Shiva's energy with that of Goddess Parvati, which symbolizes the union of female and male energies. This also becomes the cosmic dance of destruction and creation. 

Mahashivratri is important for individuals on the spiritual path. On this occasion, due to the positioning of the planet's Northern Hemisphere, there is a natural upsurge of energy in everyone. On this day, nature is pushing people to reach their spiritual peak. Therefore, it is believed that people can have unique spiritual experiences. 

As this festival is night-long, people have night-long chanting and meditation sessions to embrace their spiritual inclinations. The devotees stay awake with their spine vertical so that natural energies can find their way. 

 Apart from being a destroyer, Lord Shiva is considered the greatest of the givers. Hence, Mahashivratri is an occasion for receiving his blessings. This is also the perfect occasion for devotees to attain liberation and spiritual awakening. 

Worshiping Lord Shiva on this day can help bring sweetness and harmony to devotees' married lives and remove any sorrow. Maha Shivratri is a good opportunity to accelerate your progress towards enlightenment. 

Mythological Relevance of Maha Shivratri

It's the myriad of mythological legends and stories behind Maha Shivratri that renders this occasion important. 

Here are some Maha Shivaratri stories.

  • One popular belief based on Lord Shiva's history is that this day commemorates when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava or Tandavan Natyam. This cosmic dance is associated with creation, preservation, and destruction. 

  • As mentioned above, ancient literature denotes that Mahashivratri is when Lord Shiva and Parvati married. 

  • Mahashivratri is associated with the legend of Lord Shiva consuming the poison during the churning of the ocean (Samudra Manthan). As a result, the festival stands for the victory of good over evil and the essence of sacrifice in the spiritual journey.

  • For many ascetics, this occasion is believed to be when Lord Shiva became one with Mount Kailash. In the Yogic tradition, Lord Shiva is considered the Adi Guru. On Maha Shivaratri, he became absolutely still, which is why ascetics regard this festival as the night of stillness. 

  • According to our scriptures, Maha Shivaratri is also a pious day on which people wash away all their sins, pray for forgiveness and blessings, and become closer to the divine force. 

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About Shivaratri 

Shivratri stands for the 'night of Lord Shiva'. The significance of Mahashivratri is such that it is considered the most significant of all Shivratris. Even though the divine deities Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are worshiped throughout the year, Shivaratri holds special importance for the believers of Lord Shiva. 

Unlike Mahashivratri, which is a once-a-year festival, Shivratri is celebrated on the 14th day of every Lunar month, during the Krishna Paksha Tithi. We can also understand that this occasion falls before the day of the New Moon. 

Shivratri is considered important for revering Lord Shiva. The primary difference between Shivratri and Mahashivratri lies in the nature of their occurrence. Shivratri is a monthly event that occurs 12 times a year and is known as 'Masik Shivaratri'. As per the Hindu calendar, Badi Shivaratri is observed when Pradosh falls in the Lunar month of Shravan.

Shivratri is the darkest day of the month. On Shivratri, devotees pray by keeping Lord Shiva in mind and surrendering themselves to him. 

Worshiping Lord Shiva on this day can help you attain his choicest blessings. Unmarried devotees who observe a fast on Masik Shivaratri and dedicate themselves to praying to Lord Shiva are blessed with their desired life partner.

Out of all the Shivaratris, the Mahashivratri is considered noteworthy due to its connection with significant mythological legends. While the monthly Shivratri is celebrated with reverence, it differs in grandeur and spiritual magnitude of Mahashivratri.

Rituals And Traditions Associated with Mahashivratri And Shivratri 

Shivratri and Mahashivratri share common rituals, such as fasting, night-long prayers, and hymn recitation. However, Mahashivratri elevates these rituals to a more intense level with elaborate practices. 

  • Devotees prepare for Mahashivaratri by cleaning and decorating temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Many devotees also visit these temples. The same is also done during the Shivratri. 

  • Devotees believe that observing vigil and praying on the holy night of Mahashivratri and worshiping Lord Shiva can absolve their sins. Doing so can also grant them freedom from the cycle of birth and death. Usually, ardent devotees stay awake throughout the night.

  • Praying to Lord Shiva, chanting mantras and hymns dedicated to him, and fasting can bring you closer to Him. 

  • Doing Rudrabhishek is a crucial ritual on Mahashivratri. This Pooja is done to perform to please Lord Shiva. The ritualistic bathing of the Lingam, representing Lord Shiva, with milk, honey, water, and yogurt. Then, the offering of fruits, flowers, and Bel leaves is made. Lord Shiva's 108 names should also be recited on this occasion. It is believed that by doing Rudrabhishek on this day, every wish and desire of the devotee can be fulfilled. 

  • On the 14th day of the Krishna Paksha in the Lunar month of Magha, Lord Shiva is believed to have appeared in the form of Shivling. Hence, Rudrabhishek of the Shivling is done on this day, along with the chanting of Sri Rudram. Sri Rudram can purify the environment around us. 

  • The devotees chant various mantras dedicated to Lord Shiva to seek his blessings. 

  • Fasting, conducting Pooja to honor Lord Shiva, and praying to Lord Shiva are all a part of this festival. 

Shivratri and Maha Shivaratri are festivals for showing your devotion to Lord Shiva. 

Do you want information about Maha Shivratri or its rituals? Just call or chat with the professional astrologers on Astroyogi.

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