It is said that one of the way to reach Lord Siva is Shivratri. Major Shivratri or Maha Shivratri is observed once a year, whereas Masik Shivratri falls every month. It is celebrated every month on the Chaturdashi Tithi of Krishna Paksha. Like Maha Shivratri, Masik Shivratri is also observed with devotion. The day is dedicated exclusively to worship Lord Shiva. The belief behind Shivratri celebration is associated with the legend of Samudramanthan. It is said that on this day, Lord Shiva drank the deadly poison, which otherwise had the potential of destroying the whole world. Another belief is that Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati were married on this day.
Masik Shivratri holds immense importance for married women as well as young girls. On this day, women observe fast and worship Lord Shiva for the welfare of their husbands and sons. Unmarried girls, on the other hand, observe fast and worship Lord Shiva to seek His divine blessings for a right match.
The Rituals of Masik Shivratri
For Shiv Ratri puja, a three-tiered podium (raised platform) is built using wooden planks. The top plank represents heaven (Swarga), middle plank represents space (Antariksh) and the bottom plank signifies earth (Bhuloka). On the top plank i.e. the Swarga plank, eleven Kalash are kept which symbolizes the 11 forms (Avatars) of Lord Shiva. The Kalash are then decorated with bel leaves after which a coconut is placed on it, which represents the head of Lord Shiva.
The devotees observe fast on Shivratri. Throughout the day and night they chant “Om Namah Shivaya” and worship the Lord. Fast is broken the next morning by having the Prasad.
As per Shiv Mahapuran, one who observes the fast with pure devotion and sincerity attains divine grace and blessings of Lord Shiva.
~~ Om Namah Shivaya~~