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There are various interesting legends related to the festival of Maha Shivaratri. According to one of the most popular legends, Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Some believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction. Another popular Shivratri legend stated in Linga Purana states that it was on Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga. Hence the day is considered to be extremely auspicious by Shiva devotees and they celebrate it as Maha shivaratri – the grand night of Shiva.
Many of us are aware of the love story of Lord Shiva. His love for Goddess Sati was extremely intense and pure which denied his heart to fall for any other beauty even after Sati’s demise. Goddess Parvati – an unmarried beautiful girl then with huge devotion and love for the Lord was waiting for Shiva to accept her love. After sever penance and extreme meditation Goddess Parvati was finally able to win the Lord’s heart. This was the day when Lord Shiva and Parvati got married and united as one. Hence, on this day Unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband.
Most of you must be aware of the story of the great Samudra Manthan among the asuras and the devtas. This fight had for sure produced the immortal Amrit but along with it had also produced the most poisonous venom ever known as the haalaa hala. The poison had the capacity to destroy the universe and hence only Lord Shiva could destroy it my drinking it. The poison was so potent that Lord Shiva was suffering from immense pain and his throat had also become blue. For this reason Lord Shiva is famously known as ‘ Neelakantha’. As part of the therapy, doctors advised gods to keep Lord Shiva awake during the night. Thus, Gods kept a vigil in contemplation of Lord Shiva. To amuse Shiva and to keep him awake, the gods took turn performing various dances and playing music. As the day broke out, Lord Shiva, pleased with their devotion blessed them all. Shivaratri is the celebration of this event by which Shiva saved the world. Since then, on this day and night - devotees fast, keep vigil, sing glories of Lord and meditate the entire night.
This was the day when Lord Brahma and Vishnu were fighting over each other’s powers. Lord Shiva decided to make them realize their mistake and hence took the form of a flaming Linga in between Lord Brahma and Vishnu and challenged them to measure the start and end of it. Lord Brahma came back lying that he found the origin which enraged Lord Shiva and he had punished Brahma. That day it was proved that Brahma and Vishnu were also Lord Shiva’s part and hence he was the supreme of all. This makes the Lingam the most potent emblems in Hindu ideals.