Why do we celebrate Maha-Shivratri(Big Night)?
A story in Lingam Puran(book) describes the transformation of Shiva into Lingam from an invincible form & day celebrated as Maha-Shivratri since then.
Maha-Shivratri brings lots of joy and enthusiasm among Shiva devotees. Many stories describe the Maha-Shivratri festival and its importance, but I share it here in the order it happened.
Maha Shivratri is celebrated, in the month of Magh(During February-March in the English Calendar), on the 14th darkest night each year.
Usually, each darkest 14th night of the month is celebrated as a Shivratri, but Maha Shivratri has an enormous significance.
Story in Lingam Puran
A chapter in Lingam Puran describes Shiva and his transformation into Lingam from an invincible form. A narration in Lingam Puran dates back to the formation of this universe, and other stories happened after Shiva took Lingam form.
Shiva took a formation of a Jyotirlingam on Maha Shivratri.
Devotees celebrate Maha Shivratri for Lord Shiva's birthday too.
Story of Shiva & Parvati's marriage
Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married on the auspicious day of Maha Shivratri. Maha Shivratri is also celebrated Shiva & Parvati's marriage day since then.
Shiva and Parvati got married at Triyuginarayan in the Mandakini area of the Himalayas.
Story of a Hunter
On a Maha Shivratri, a hunter sat on a tree looking to find an animal for eating and taking home for his family. He waited on a tree for long hours but couldn't find any animal to kill. He lost hope to find an animal because it almost turned dark. Instead of going back home, he decided to spend the night on a tree.
While half asleep, he heard some noise coming from nearby.
He took his arrow and set a target, and in the meanwhile, a deer appeared from behind the trees. He got excited looking at a hunting animal after waiting for so long the whole day.
Hunter took an arrow & targeted towards deer. Deer looked at a hunter and felt her life at the end. Deer asked hunter in a weeping voice, allow me to meet my family for the last time, and I promise to come back soon after meeting them.
Not believing what deer says, he replied in an authoritative voice. I spent my whole day on this tree hunting for an animal & found you in the middle of the night. How can I allow you to go? Even if — I allow — what guarantees can you provide that you come back?
Deer replied swiftly, believe me, it's my promise that I come back after meeting my family. I want to meet my husband for the last time, and then I promise to return. So, trust me if you can. Begging to go back home many times, hunter agreed at last. But asked deer to come back soon.
The hunter allowed the deer to go back home and meet her husband for the last time.
Deer ran to meet her family. The hunter took a bael leaf out of the tree and threw it below. Unknown to the ancient Shiva lingam below the tree, he repeatedly throws bael leaves below for so long. He kept throwing bael leaves continuously the whole night.
That night, fortunately, was Maha Shivratri. Ignorantly, he prayed to Shiva that night.
After a while, the deer returned with her husband, and looking at his hunt, the hunter got excited.
Looking at two deers, he couldn't resist his excitement to kill them for a living.
He took his arrow and set the target towards the deer. Meanwhile, a light appeared below the tree and got into a more oversized shape. Lord Shiva emerged from the light and asked the hunter not to kill the deer.
Shiva said that one king performed yajna to please the lords once upon a time many years ago. A monk came there asking for some food & water. Because the king was busy with yajna, he asked to wait until he finished yajna. Monk got angry with the king and cursed him & his family immediately to become a deer & be an animal forever.
King and his wife panicked and asked for mercy. Monk said you would regain your originality after a certain period on Maha Shivratri night. Today is Maha Shivratri night, and I emerged to bless this king & give his family their original identity.
Hunter bowed down to Shiva and asked to shower blessings on him as well. Impressed with the hunter's words, Shiva blessed him till eternity.
On Maha Shivratri, we all can ask for forgiveness for the knowing or unknowing sins we committed in the past.
The story shows the importance of Maha Shivratri & by keeping faith in Shiva. We can all get the lord Shiva's blessings forever if we pray.
Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् ।
Om Tryambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pustivardhanam
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्मृ त्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् ॥
Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaan Mrutyor-Mukssiiya Maa-[A]mrutaat ||
Chanting of Maha Mrutyunjay mantra can help you to overcome fears of death.
I share below the meaning of the shloka and its importance.
Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
I pray and bow to Lord Shiva, who possesses three eyes.
O! fragrant lord & caretaker of the whole universe. You nourish all living creatures.
We pray to you for releasing us from worldly possessions.
Please relieve us from the fear of life & death.
Maha Mrutyunjay mantra removes Kal Sarpa Dosha(all the planet comes in the trap of Rahu & Ketu in your birth chart) too from your horoscope.