He is the third member of the Hindu trinity. He is believed to be the Destroyer God, his destructive leads ultimately to good for he removes impurity for the sake of protection. He is also known as "Nataraj" - Lord of the Dance - who dances the world into and out of existence.
The Lord's attributes represent his victory over the demonic activity, and calmness of human nature. As is seen in other places in Hindu religion, Shiva shows the union of opposite principles which make him a representation of the totality of life. He is at the same time -- the Creator and Destroyer; ascetic and erotic ; life denying and life affirming; spiritual and material.
Lord Shiva has matted hair that holds the flowing Ganga river and a crescent Moon ; a cobra snake coiled round his neck, a Trishul(trident) and Tiger skin cloth and ashes all over his body. Shiva-Linga, a sign of the Lord is adored instead of him and Shiva temples have ShivaLinga as the main deity. In ShivaLinga, God is sought to be represented as having form as well as without form; Saguna as well as Nirguna.
The symbolic significance of Shiva's body :
· His arms: In one of his upper arms, Siva holds the kettle drum( damroo) whose sound symbolizes creative energy. The other upper arm holds the fire pot of destruction. The lower right hand shows abhaya (Do not fear) mudra . The lower left hand points to the Lord's lifted foot saying "Your salvation lies in worshipping my feet !"
· At the base of the crown of hair on Siva's head is a skull - this is symbolic of Siva's destroying energy.
· River Ganga on his head denotes fertility.
· The crescent moon on his head ( Siva is Chandrasekhara) signifies Siva's grace and also Time.
· The cobra on his head indicates Kundalinishakti at Sahasrara-chakra
· His third eye stands for omniscience or wisdom.
· On his right ear, Siva wears makara-kundala, signifying the male principle and on the left, the tatanka ( being Ardhanarisa) denoting the female principles.
· His necklace of skulls of Brahma, Vishnu and others proclaim that he is the arbiter of numberless creations and destructions
· The ashes smeared all over his body are symbolic of purity. It reminds us that in the love of transient Samsara we should not lose sight of the God. The body will end up in ashes.
· Beads of Rudraksh he wears represent the solidified tears of pity Shiva sheds at the woes of his bhaktas.
· He wears the Upavita or the sacred thread consisting of 96 strands representing the 96 tatvas , this represents that he is the arbiter of all actions.
· The Tiger skin he wears on his loins tells us that we must strip ourselves of ahankara or pride which is equated to the tiger.
Siva's Nataraja according to some is the same as Pancha-kshara.
His feet is Na,
Navel - Ma;
Shoulders - Si;
Head -- Ya
Siva as Dakshinamurti is another beautiful concept. He becomes the cosmic preceptor. His chinmudra where the right thumb and first finger meet while the other three stand away has great philosophical significance.
· The thumb represents God
· The forefinger the individual self
· The other three fingers are delusion, toil and egoism.
The meaning is : relieved of these three doshas, the individual self unites with the cosmic self
His wifes include Parvati and Sati and his sons are Ganesh(elephant headed) and Kartikeya(many headed). His vehicle is a bull (Nandi) - which is a symbol of happiness and strength
The Shiva's revelation of the five-fold duties and the Omkara mantra to Brahma and Vishnu the permanent cycle of the five-fold duties consists of creation, maintenance, annihilation, concealment, and blessing.
These activities are observed in the five elements by devotees- Sarga (creation) in the Earth, Sthiti (maintenance) in the waters, Samhara (annihilation) in the fire, Tirobhava (concealment) in the wind and Anugraha (liberation, the blessed state) in the fulfillment.
3. Hence, whenever, you start reciting the mantra Omkara to acquire the knowledge of the Lord Shiva. This will stop your false pride as well.
4.The syllable "A" comes from the northern face; the syllable "U" from the western; the syllable "M" from the southern and the Bindu (dot) from the eastern face.
The Nada (mystical sound) comes from the middle face. This makes the complete set of five-fold form. This unites in the syllable of "OM".
size="2">5.The two sets of created beings - Nama (name) and Rupa (form) are pervaded by this mantra. It indicates Shiva and Sakti.
From this also is born the five- syllable mantra "Namahsivaaya". This indicates all knowledge. The syllables "NA" etc. follow the order of the syllables "A" etc.
From the five-syllable mantra the five mothers were born. The Siromantra is born of that. The three-footed Gayatri also came out of the four faces.
The entire set of Vedas and crores of mantras were born of that.
Different things are achieved through Omakara alone. By this root- Mantra, theOn the Chturdasi day (the 4th lunar day) and on the day with Ardra star the recital of this mantra will give you everlasting joy.
enjoyment as well as salvation is achieved. All the Royal mantras are auspicious and directly accords enjoyment. Your knowledge shall be stabilized. Permanent
fortune shall stand by you.
The recital of this mantra at the time when the transit of the Sun is in the Ardra star is million times effective.
In the context of worship, Homa and tarpana, the last quarter of the star Mrigashira and the 1st quarter of the Punarvasu must always be considered on a par with Ardra.The person shall take bath, and sit in a comfortable position in a clean place. He shall mediate on the Ishat Dev with his heart. He should sit face north or east, with concentration of the mind, purifies the five principles by means Dahana and Plavana rituals.
The vision is to be had at early dawn and within three Muhurtas (two hours and 24 minutes) thereafter.
Chaturdasi is to be taken when it continues up to midnight. When it is early part of the night and joined with another star, it is also recommended.
While the worship of the Shiva Linga is excellent to attain any Artha. The Omakara has the same equal form.
Anything done with no specific desire in view yields the region of Shiva directly. Of the three periods of the time, rites shall be performed in the morning, rites performed during the midday, gives fulfillment of desire, rites done in evening gives suppression of the evils.
THE GLORY OF THE FIVE- SYLLABLE MANTRA OF LORD SHIVAAUM NAMAH SHIVAAYA. In the Shiv Purana, Lord Shiva explains the five – syllable Mantra Aum Namah Sivaya affords protection from the fear of disillusions, defiled by unimaginable and inexpressible faults, mental verbal and physical. Even fallen men may become liberated through this Mantra, when he has faith in Lord Shiva.
As long as one lives he shall repeat the Mantra 108 times every day with full faith and devotedly. One attains the greatest goal in life.
Mental Japas is excellent, reciting in low voice is half-fruitful. The verbal Japa gives the least of all.
The Japa with the Lord Rudra as the presiding deity is the most excellent; that with Vishnu as the presiding deity are half and that of Brahma is less.
Reciting of the Mantra with high, middle of low tone, the words and the letters being clear or otherwise are called the verbal Japa.
Upamsu Japa is the one where the tongue throbs and there is slight utterance. Others may not hear this or it is soft tone.
Mental Japa is that where the series of letters are thought well and the words and there meanings are thought over and over.
Direction of Worship of Mantra
He shall perform the mantra nayasa, make his body worthy and pure, and mediate the Lord. Then he shall perform the Japa of the five-syllable mantra.
The rosary contains 108 beads is the most excellent. The 100 beads is excellent and 50 beads is good but the one with 54 beads is very good.
A rosary contains 30 beads of Rudraksha for the Japa gives wealth.
A rosary containing 27 beads of Rudraksha give good health and vitally.
A rosary of 25 beads gives salvation.
The Use of the hand and fingers:
The use of the thumb in counting the number of mantras gives salvation. The use of the index finger destroys enemies. The middle finger bestows wealth. The ring finger brings calmness and peace. The use of the index and little finger in the Japa shall be avoided as this is said to be for Maya or ego.
The Japa shall be performed by means of the thumb in contact with other fingers as required excepting the use of first finger.
The Japa performed in the holy places and temple is more fruitful. Japa performed in the presence of the Sun, fire, Moon, lamp, water, and one’s Ishata Deva is to be desired.The south position gives the result of the black magic.
The west position gives riches and the north is mainly for the peace
One should never perform Japa with the turban on, or wearing an Armour, in the nude, or with the hair not combed, or the neck covered, or without the Pavitra in the hand or while impure or while lamenting. While performing Japa the following must be avoided- anger, drinks, sneezing, spitting, yawning etc. If they happen, Acanmana shall be performed.
One should not perform Japa without a seat to sit on nor shall it be performed lying down, or standing up and walking. One shall not perform Japa in the open street or in an inauspicious place or in darkness.
Japa shall not be performed when one is worried. If one is competent one shall perform many Japas. Weak persons shall perform Japa according to one’s capacity.
A person of good conduct, performing Japa and meditating purely attains welfare. Good conduct is the greatest virtue. It is the greatest wealth, knowledge and the greatest goal. Faith is the conviction that happiness and misery are attained by means of good and evil deeds hereafter too just as in this world.
In the case of this mantra, the auspicious hour, date, star, day of the week etc. need not be taken into consideration too much. And this mantra shall not be used for the trivial benefits or against opponents.
Thus the Lord Shiva himself for the benefit of the worlds explained the mode of repeating this mantra of five syllables. He who glorifies this with devotion or listens to it with a pious mind is liberated from all sins and attains the greatest goal
“AUM NAMAH SIVAYA”.
The Mala should not be visible to you or others. Cover it with a towel or Cloth, which must be pure and washed daily OR AT LEAST WEEKLY.
Do not cross the head of the Mala while rolling the beads of the Mala.
Turn when you finish one Mala.
Hold the Mala in your right hand, hanging it over the three fingers, the middle finger, ring finger and the little finger.
Count the beads by pushing them one by one by the Thumb and the middle finger, but as a rule, the index finger is avoided in chant.
The reason is that index finger represents the individual ego which differentiates.
Take bath before commencement of chant. If due to climatically conditions or other reasons, one cannot have a bath, one can simply wash hand and feet. Wear white clothes if possible.
Sit in a posture and lit incenses; close the eyes and meditate in between eyebrows (Bhru Madhya), or the hearts lotus (Hrt Padma) or the thousand-petal lotus (Sahasrara Chakra).
One can meditate on light (Jyoti) or on a sound (Nada).
Number of Mantras to be chanted at a stroke:
Exact number of times of chanting a particular Mantra has already been indicated against each Mantra.
Generally any one particular Mantra can be repeated for 11 times or 108 times or multiple of 108 or 1008 times or 10008 times or 100008 times. Once you start chanting a Mantra for any of the times mentioned above, you couldn’t decrease the number in the subsequent times/days, but you can always increase the number as per your convenience.
Initially you can have a session of 15 minutes and slowly increase the intervals as also from one time to two or three times a day, if you wish.
Direction for chant:
The sadhaka or the chanter should sit facing either the East or the North, if chanting is during day sit facing East and facing North if chanting is at nights.
GENERAL RULES FOR THE RITUALS AND ESSENTIAL FOR RECITING MANTRAS.
1. IT IS ESSENTIAL BEFORE BEGINNING ANY MANTRAS - ONE SHOULD START THE TASK OF WORSHIP AFTER TAKING BATH. IF ONE IS UNCLEAN ALL EFFORTS WILL GO IN VAIN.
2. THE PLACE OF WORSHIP SHOULD BE QUITE AND CLEAN AND INCENSE ( DHOOP OR AGARBATTI ) BURNING IN ROOM AND IT SHOULD BE FULL OF ITS FRAGRANCE.
3. IT IS ALSO VERY NECESSARY THAT AN IDOL OR PHOTO OF THE DEITY SHOULD BE BEFORE THE PERSON IN ORDERS TO OFFER THE PRAYERS.
4. THE PERSON SHOULD FACE EAST WHILE RECITING MANTRAS.
THE ASANA ON WHICH YOU MAY BE SEATED SHOULD ON BLANKET.
6. IT SHOULD BE ON THE FLOOR AND NOT ON ANY KIND OF BED.
A PITCHER OF WATER SHOULD BE KEPT BEFORE HIM.
THE RECITATION OF MANTRAS SHOULD NEITHER BE IN LOUD VOICE OR IN A WHISPER. THE MANTRAS SHOULD BE PRONOUNCED CORRECTLY. FOR THIS A LITTLE PRACTICE WILL BE NECESSARY.
IT IS ALSO ESSENTIAL THAT THE NUMBER OF RECITATIONS OF A MANTRA SHOULD BE THE SAME EVERY DAY UNTIL THE PRESCRIBED NUMBER IS COMPLETED. IF ONE HAS TIME, ONE CAN INCREASE THE NUMBER OF RECITATIONS BUT THEN THE SAME INCREASED NUMBER WILL HAVE TO BE ADHERED TO ON FOLLOWING DAYS.
ONCE THE NUMBER IS INCREASED ITS REDUCTION IS NOT PERMISSIBLE.
ONCE A MANTRA IS STARTED, THE RECITATIONS HAVE TO BE DONE EVERY DAY WITHOUT FAIL UNTIL THE PRESCRIBED NUMBER IS COMPLETED.
WHEN FOR ANY REASON, THERE IS A BREAK IN THIS ROUTINE; THE WHOLE ROUTINE HAS TO BE STARTED AFRESH.
ANOTHER VERY IMPORTANT REQUIREMENT IS THAT THE PERSON WHO HAS TAKEN UP A PRESCRIBED COURSE OF MANTRAS SHOULD.
DURING THE WHOLE PERIOD OBSERVE CELIBACY ( BRAHMACHARYA ) AND SHOULD NOT TAKE NON-VEGETARIAN FOOD.
Start by picking some aspect of your life you wish to improve or problems you would like to solve. If possible, obtain a rosary of special kind and do your mantras in some multiple of 108.
It can be five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes or even an hour. For your first experience, any time up to twenty minutes is advice able. The reason for taking things easy for the first 40-day commitment is due to the cumulative action of the mantra.
For the first few days, all will probably go smoothly. Then as you progress, you may find that things start to get in the way of your doing the discipline:
You oversleep; there is some minor emergency; you get a cold, white. This means that you are beginning to effect the inner 'something' for which you undertook the mantra. You are beginning to encounter inner resistance. That inner resistance manifests as outer obstacles to your discipline
Mantra AUM NAMAH SIVAAYA
What Is the Holy AUM Namah Sivaaya Mantra?
AUM Namah Sivaaya is among the foremost Vedic mantras. It means "adoration to Shiva," and is called the Panchakshara, or "five-letters.
Within its celestial tones and hues resides all of the intuitive knowledge of Saivism.
Na is the Lord's concealing grace, Ma is the world, and Shi stands for Shiva, VA is His revealing grace, and Ya are the soul.
The five elements, too, are embodied in this ancient formula for invocation.
Na is earth, Ma is water, Shi is fire, Va is air, and Ya are ether, or akasha.
Many are its meanings. AUM Namah Sivaaya has such power; the mere intonation of these syllables reaps its own reward in salvaging the soul from bondage.
AUM Namah Shivaaya quells the instinct, cuts through the steel bands and turns this intellect within and on itself, to face itself and see its ignorance.
Sages declare that this mantra is life, that this mantra is action, this mantra is love and that the repetition of mantra, japa, bursts forth wisdom from within.
AUM Namah Sivaaya is our souls, our bodies and possessions.
AUM Namah Shivaaya can be performed on Rudraksha beads over and over when the Sun is setting, when the Sun is rising or high noon day. The duly initiated audibly repeats "AUM Namah Sivaaya," and when japa is performed silently, mentally chants "AUM Namah Sivaaya"
"His feet are the letter Na.
His navel is the letter Ma.center aloft is Ya.
His shoulders are the letters Shi. His mouth, the letter Va.
His radiant cranial
Thus is the five-lettered form of Siva. AUM Namah Sivaaya.
The Panchakshara Mantra is the word of God, the name and total essence of Shiva.
But to chant AUM Namah Shivaaya and to be empowered to chant AUM Namah Shivaaya is likened to the difference between writing a cheque without money in the bank.
God Shiva is Immanent Love and Transcendent Reality
We strengthen our mind with positive affirmations that record the impressions of the distilled and ultimate truths of our religion so that these memories fortify us in times of distress, worldliness or anxiety.
These sacred words we say as we bathe to prepare to face the day, His immanent love protects us, guides us, lifting our mind into the arena of useful thoughts and keeping us from harm's way.
From all knowledge, yoga practice and meditation, all that relates to the AUM sound is to be meditated on as the only blissful (Shiva).
With the syllable AUM as his sole support, the wise man attains that which is peaceful, ongoing, deathless, fearless--the Supreme
Note: the exact pronunciation and intonation of the mantra requires personal instruction.
The mantras are not something to be merely toyed with but requires entering into the stream of transmission of Vedic knowledge.
THE ABOVE ARTICLES HAS BEEN COMPLIED FROM SEVERAL SOURCE AND WE ARE GREAT FULL FOR THEIR RICH CONTRIBUTION TO THE VEDIC KNOWLEDGE. ALL THE INFORMATION'S IS FOR THE GENERAL USAGE'S ONLY
ONE MUST OBTAIN PROPER GUIDANCE FORM THE ONE'S GURU
IN ORDER TO PRACTICE THEM AND TO ACHIEVE THE FULL RESULTS OF YOUR SADHANAS AND YOUR PROBLEMS.
LORD SHIVA AND PRADOSHA / SIVARATRI
VRAT OR FASTS
How God and the Gods Help Us
Visiting a Hindu temple, receiving the Shakti from the majestic Gods of our religion, can all together change the life of an individual. It alters the flow of the pranas or life currents within his body.
Shakti coming from the great temples of our Gods can change the patterns of karma dating back many past lives, clearing and clarifying conditions that were created hundreds of years ago and are but seeds now, waiting to manifest in the future.
If a temple or shrine is not available for worship, then it is possible to establish a communication with the Deity through visualization. Take for example, Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed governor of nature, dharma, science and knowledge. Worship of Lord Ganesha is immediate; to think of His form is to contact Him. Close your eyes for a second visualize His murthi or form.
According to Vedas, to worship of Lord Vishnu in the Morning and Lord Shiva in the evening Especially during Pradosha Kaala is highly beneficial to the Sadhaka. When the 12th tithi (Dwaadashi) in Krishna Paksha or Shukla Paksha ends before midnight.
When the 6th tithi (Shashti) ends before 1.5 Prahara (one Prahara is equal to ¼ duration of night) of night or 3rd (Tritiya) Tithi ends before 1 Prahara of Night, it is called Pradosha.
But generally people observe Pradosha Vrata on every Trayodashi tithi (i.e. 13th Lunar day falling in Krishna and Shukla Pakshas) during Sandhya Kaala (ie. During or after sunset).
The Lord of 13th Trayodashi Tithi is Kaama Deva whereas the Lord of the succeeding Tithi i.e. 14th Chaturdashi is Lord Rudra (Shiva) himself.
The 14th day of the dark half of every month – is called Sivaratri or Masa – sivaratri. The one in the month of Magh (Feb-Mar) is called Mahasivaratri, since it is the greatest of all.
The origin of Mahasivaratri
When Brahma and Vishnu were disputing each other’s greatness to establish their own supremacy, a huge Linga or pillar of fire appeared suddenly that who ever finds the starting or ending point of this Linga would be the greatest of all.
Neither of them succeeded and was hence obliged to accept the greatness of Siva who had manifested as that pillar of light. This was the origin of Sivalinga and Mahasivarati.
It is also attributed as being the day of marriage of Siva with Parvati.
The other example of the Siva’s Greatness
Siva Mahadeva, drank the halahala posion that emerged out of the milky ocean (ksirasagara) when it was being churned by devas and the danavas (gods and demons), and thus saved the worlds from destruction.
This vrata is open to all human beings. The basic disciplines to be kept up on this day are:
1. Ahimasa (non-injury)
· 2. Satya (speaking the truth)
· 3. Brahmacarya (continence)
· 4. Daya (compassion)
· 5. Ksama (forgiveness)
· 6. Anasuyata (absence of jealousy).
So also jagarana or keeping vigil in the night.
Worship of Siva throughout the night, bathing the Sivalinga with pancamrta (five tasty things – milk, curds, ghee, sugar and honey), homa, japa of the mulamantra (basic mantra – Aum Nama Sivaya) and prayer for forgiveness are the other items involved in its observance.
The person can then, at the end of vrata, do parana (breaking the fast by partaking of the offerings)
One may take a vow to observe this varta for 24 or 14 or 12 years. At the end of this period the person has to perform the udyapana, a concluding rite indicating the completion of the vow.
In the modern days, fasting, visiting Siva temples and keeping awake in the night are common.
There are five types of SIVARATRI:
1. NITYA SIVARATRI-
The evening time on all days, between just 3 ghatis (72 minutes) before sunset and the time when the stars rise or become visible in the sky.
2. Paksha SIVARATRI-
Sandhya (evening) time of Shukla Paksha Chaturthi (4th Lunar day after New Moon) every month.
3. Maasa SIVARATRI-
Sandhya Krishna Paksha Trayodashi (13th Lunar day after Full Moon) every month.
4. Maha SIVARATRI-
Sandhya time of Krishna Paksha Trayodashi which falls on a Saturday.
5. Pralaya SIVARATRI-
The time when the entire universe gets annihilated of merged with Lord Shiva.
Pradosh Vrat is observed on every 13th Lunar day after full and new Moon, by the wife and husband jointly with the hope of being free from, miseries or for gaining material prosperity.
They should bath early in the morning, adore Lord Shiva, and fast during the day, and after bath in the Evening, perform Pujas to Lord Shiva and his consort Pravati with the offerings of flowers and Naivedyams.
They then take their supper or meal. This Vrat is brought to a close at the end of a year.
All the four Purushaarthas, i.e., Dharma (good deeds), Artha (wealth), Kama (material pleasures) and Moksha (emancipation) are attained by any person who performs good deeds like observing Vratas, constructing temple, etc.
Reciting AUM NAMAH SHIVAYA devoutly for 108 times during this period will enable the devotees to gain a lot of mental peace and material benefits.
PRADOSHA VRATA By SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA
ALL THINGS in this vast creation function upon definite cosmic laws or laws of God. There is always a beautiful system and sound rationale governing every phenomenon and process, mundane or mystical.
Just as the gross elements and physical forces operate differently under different states and conditions, so also the subtler and higher forces respond and react in the inner mystic planes, and in the purely spiritual processes like meditation, prayer, worship, etc.
Therefore, you will find definite injunctions for performing certain types of worship in the morning, certain other injunctions for the midday prayers, and still others for the evening worship.
Again, some observances are performed during certain phases of the moon, some when a particular star is in the ascendant, or at the time of a particular conjunction of planets.
The Pradosha worship is to be done in the evening twilight on the thirteenth day of each lunar fortnight. It is the worship of Lord Siva for victory and success in all undertakings, and the fulfillment of all your heart's cherished desires.
Pradosha is the worship of Lord Siva and Parvati when they both are in an extremely propitious mood. Repeatedly worsted in war by the demons, the gods approached Lord Siva to bless them with a leader for their celestial hosts.
They came to the Lord at twilight on the thirteenth day of the lunar fortnight and found Him in the blissful company of His consort, Parvati. Hymned and glorified by them, Siva immediately granted their prayer’s. Hence, the importance of the period.
The Skanda Purana relates how Sandilya Muni prescribed this Vrata to a Brahmin lady. She came to the sage with two boys, her son, Suchivrata, and an orphan prince, Dharmagupta, whose father was slain in battle and the kingdom overrun by enemies.
Acting upon the advice of the sage, the woman and the boys performed the Vrata with great devotion.
After four months, that is, in the eighth Pradosha, Suchivrata obtained a pot of nectar and drank the divine ambrosia.
Prince Dharmagupta won the hand of a celestial princess and, as ordered by Lord Siva, with the help of the celestial king himself, his enemies were slain and his kingdom restored to him. Then Dharmagupta attained the Lord's supreme abode.
One who takes this Vrata fasts on that day, and keeps vigil at night after the fast is over. Bathing an hour before sunset, the worshipper first performs a preliminary worship of Lord Siva, together with all the others of His divine family, namely, Parvati, Ganesha, Skanda and Nandi.
After the worship of Ganesha, Lord Siva is invoked in the special kalasha placed on a square mandala with a lotus drawn in it and spread over with darbha grass. After the formal worship has been completed, a Pradosha story is read and heard by the devotees.
This is followed by the recitation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra 108 times. In the end the sacred kalasha water is partaken of, the sacred ash is applied to the forehead, and the water which was used to bathe the Lord, is drunk. A gift of a pot, a cloth and an image of the Lord are given to a Brahmin to conclude the worship.
A very important point to be remembered in this connection is that during this auspicious period all the hosts of celestial beings and gods come down from the heavens and attend the worship in their subtle forms. This adds immensely to the sanctity of the worship.
The mere sight of the Deity in a temple during this period will destroy all sins and bestow bountiful blessings and Grace upon the fortunate beholder. Even a single bael leaf offered to the Lord at this unique, auspicious moment equals a hundred Mahapujas. It is usual to have special additional lights in the shrine during the Pradosha.
To light even a single wick at this juncture is highly meritorious and productive of untold benefits, spiritual as well as material. Most fortunate and blessed is the person who performs the Pradosha Vrata, for upon him Lord Siva showers His choicest Grace and blessings in a very short time.
Here is the Yogic interpretation of the Pradosha:
According to the Siva-Raja Yoga, concentration is directed towards the central point in the middle of the eyebrows, where the spiritual light can be perceived by the Yogi who turns the vision inwards. The Yogi passes through various stages, all of which are subdivisions of the four states of waking, dreaming, deep sleep, and the Super conscious State or Samadhi.
Each one of these states is further sub-divided into four states, for example, the waking-dreaming, waking-sleep, waking-fourth, and waking-waking. It will be seen that when the states are sub-divided in this way, the first three states comprise a total of twelve sub-states.
The thirteenth is the fourth waking. There is correspondence between this and the thirteenth day of the lunar fortnight, either bright or dark.
Those who worship Mother Shakti have certain beliefs of their own, one of which is that the Goddess that is worshipped acquires one ray on each of the days of the bright fortnight, starting from the first day.
Thus, on the full moon night, the Goddess would have received fifteen rays and would be ready for the final form of worship intended to benefit the devout worshipper in all ways.
The moon is believed to have a direct influence on the mind. Incidentally, the word mati means both the moon and the mind.
According to Siva-Raja Yoga there are two channels through which the Prana flows. These are the Ida and the Pingala, ruled respectively by the moon and the sun.
Midway between these two there is a third, known as Sushumna. The Yogi is asked to start the practice of Yoga when the breath is passing through the lunar channel.
This coincides with the flow of the breath through the left nostril. If, however, at the time of practice the flow is through the right nostril, the Yogi is asked to perform a special exercise by which to change the flow to the left.
When the Yogi concentrates on the point between the eyebrows, he transcends, stage by stage, the first twelve sub-states.
The current of breath continues flowing through the lunar channel. The "moon" is gaining more and more strength. When the thirteenth day is reached, the spiritual power of the Yogi has correspondingly increased, and he is in a condition to see the lights, which appear in the nerve center in between the eyebrows.
In inverse proportion to the increase in concentration is the duration of the Yogi's breath. At the start of the practice, the breath will occupy a space of 16 fingers (inches approximately).
The moment the concentration has led him from the waking to the Dream State, the length of the breath becomes only 12 fingers. In this way, when he reaches the thirteenth stage, only 4 fingers of breath would remain. As this breath now circulates only within the nostril, no breath is noticeable at the tip of the nose.
From that moment the light is fixed permanently at the center between the eyebrows, and the Yogi would have realized the object of his practice.
Let me now describe the actual process of Siva-Raja Yoga.
The Yogi sits in utter darkness, with the head and body erect, eyes open, and the gaze directed to the center of the eyebrows.
He utters the Mantra in his mind and, without restraining his breath, concentrates his gaze at the middle of the eyebrows, ever on the thought of the appearance of the lights. The deep concentration resulting thereby yields the following fruits, in order.
First, he overcomes the distractions of his mind. He reaches a stage wherein he seems to hear somebody talking somewhere in the distance. The words are not distinct, but a sort of murmur is heard. Nevertheless, since his mind is elsewhere, he pays no attention to it. In fact, the sound comes from nowhere outside.
It is one's own mind that produces these sounds. The mind is actually functioning in its form as sound. Soon afterwards, this sound ceases, and he begins to see all sorts of visions, in the same manner as we see pictures in a movie.
It appears (as if in a dream) that he is passing through hills of varying degrees of beauty, through seas and lakes of all sorts of colors and shapes, and through clouds of different hues. The clouds appear dark and thick at first and thin out gradually.
These are scenes, which are very pleasant to witness. But they are only thought-forms; imagery created by the mind as it is functioning as a form. It is in this stage that the Yogi may hear musical notes as well—of the flute, violin, cymbals or any other instrument.
The Yogi then passes through an entirely different experience. He suddenly awakens from a deep sleep. He does not remember when he got into the Sleep State, but he is conscious of the sudden awakening.
The truth is that he had not slept at all. His mind became a complete blank; he lost consciousness of the workings of the mind, which was nonetheless still active all the time. When he regained consciousness, he suddenly felt his awareness once again.
He is now tempted to examine himself to ascertain if his posture is still erect and if his eyes are still fixed between his eyebrows. Finding no change in these he realizes that the temporary loss of consciousness was only a stage which he passed through in his Yoga.
Next comes the stage when he feels as if something of the nature of a hot nail is pricking him at the center of his eyebrows. In the earlier period of his practice there will only be this sensation, but as he advances, this is followed by the appearance of the lights. Even then there are various stages which have to be passed before the lights get their proper shape.
At first a yellow and a red light appear the red being in the center and two yellow flame-like lights on either side. After a few days, all these colors pass away and he begins to see a steady light of the shape and color of the moon.
As his practice advances, this grows brighter and brighter, and the whole room in which the Yogi sits is gradually illumined, starting with the intensity of twilight until it becomes a flood of bright light.
Yet in this state nothing that is in the room is seen; other things which are not there, begin to appear. They come and go with amazing rapidity, and reveal many things to him.
Thus far, we have dwelt upon only the first four stages of the entire series of sixteen stages, which have to be passed through by the Siva-Raja Yogi before he finally attains union with Lord Siva. The details of the experiences at each stage vary from man to man, as also from day to day. But, in the main, these are the stages:
At first, the Yogi is aware of what transpires about him. He is in the waking part of the waking state. Then the pictures come in the dream part of his waking state. The feeling of overpowering sleep occurs in the deep sleep part of the waking state. The appearance of the light occurs in the fourth part of the waking stage.
The dream and the deep sleep states also have their four sub-divisions, which have to be passed. When the Yogi comes to the thirteenth stage, he is in the waking part of the fourth state. The vision of Lord Siva in the form of self-consciousness now begins.
The form of the Lord appears before him as though coming out of the lights, which began at stage four of the sixteen stages. From this stage onwards the mind loses its sense of separate activity. It becomes deeply absorbed in the Self within.
On the thirteenth lunar day nature assists the worshipper in waking up from his mental deep sleep and in becoming aware of the fourth state. The Yogi who practices his Yoga on the Pradosha day gets these experiences of Lord Siva quite readily.
Similar to the above is the significance of the worship of Lord Ganesha on the fourth day of the lunar fortnight. This corresponds to the fourth part of the waking state, when the lights are first seen.
On the eighth day or the Ashtami, Mother Durga is adored. This corresponds to the fourth part of the Dream State.
Ekadashi or the eleventh day corresponds to the deep sleep part of the deep Sleep State.
In this state there is complete unawareness of the mind. This is the most favorable moment for a direct contact with God, the indweller.If we fast and pray on this day, we can reduce our bodily activities to the minimum and can have the vision of the Lord who resides in our heart.
The five alphabets (Panchaksara) of AUM Nama Sivaaya represent:
1. Esaana 2. Tatpurusha 3. Aghora 4. Vaama 5. Satyojaat.
Lord Shiva has 5 faces- 2 faces on the left. 2 on the right and 1 in the middle
Dakshineshwara It is the extreme right face, which is showering love and compassion upon the created beings.
Ishaana- the face next to the right- is responsible for controlling all the jeevas, individual beings, with meticulous care.
Kalyaanasundaram- the supreme controller which controls all the individual’s desire for action.
Vaamadeva- face on the extreme left: it is terrible- Rudra, Rudraatirudra or Rudropirudrah- one who teaches others by making them shed tears.
Kaalaagni – the face next to extreme left- this also subjects people to excruciating torture, but there also the main purpose is to teach them to promote their welfare.
The Two faces of Vaamadeva and Kaalaagni are controlled by the central face- Kalyaanasundaram
There are 12 MAIN Jyothir Lingas of Lord Siva in India. Most of them are located in Northern parts of India.
1. Sri Soma Naath- in Sourashtra, located in Prabhas Patan, VERAVAL.
2. Sri Mallikaarjuna –This is in Srisailam –on the banks of the Krishna River.
3. Sri Mahakaaleshwara – This is in Ujjain in Madya Pradesh.
4. Sri Omkaareshwara This is in Malwa on the banks of the river Narmada. M.P.
5. Sri Vaidhyanaatha- in Santhaal Paragna. This place is also known as Chinta Bhoomi.
6. Sri Bheemsankara- It is east of Mumbai and North of Pune on the banks of the river Bheema. It is located 120 kms from Nasik.
7. Sri Rameshwaram – located in Ram Naath district of Tamil Nadu.
8. Sri Naageshwara- located in Dwarka near the Gomati River.
9. Sri Vishwanaatha- in Varanasi “also known as Kaashi”
10. Sri Trayambakeshwara- in Nasik district on the banks of the river Goutami in Maharashtra.
11. SRI Kedaareshwara- in Himalayas on the banks of the river Mandaakini in BADRINATH.
12. Sri Ghusameshwara- near Berut village which is 12 km away from Daulatabad station in Nizmaabad
Karma Yoga leads to detachment from desires and action done devotedly and whole heartily, without attachment to its results.
Victory or defeat does not disturb him as it is willed by the Supreme and Universal Spirit.
Whatever happens, the individual accepts without attachment or aversion and has love even for his enemy. Devoted each to his own duty, man attains perfection.
Lord Shiva’s has presence in 5 more temples in South India. These temples represent the five elements “Panch Bhootha” of Prithvi, Jala, Tapas, and Vaayu, Aakash (Nether
These Temples are:
PRITHVI KSHETRA: this is located in kaanchipuram (Tamil Nadu) This is know as Ekaambareshwara temple, here the Swayambhu Linga of Lord Shiva is of Natural Mud from the Earth- which is now covered with Kavacha for preforming Poojas and Abhisheka (bathing purpose).
Apa Kshetra (Jala Khetra): This is in Thiruvaanaikaavu near Trichirappally or Trichy in Tamil Nadu. This is near Srirangam temple. The Swayambhu Shiva Linga is below the bhoomi level and the Linga is surrounded always by water.
Agni Kshetra (Tejas Kshetra): This is located in the Thiruvanna Malai of North Arcot district of Tamil Nadu. Here Lord Shiva is present in the form of Agni (fire).
Vaayu Kshetra: This is in Kaalhasthi, which is located in Chitoor district of Andhra Pradesh near the famous Tirupati temple. This is also known as Dakshina Kalisha. In this temple presence of Lord Shiva Vaayu as it can seen that the Jyothi (light) emitting from the Diya (lamp) always vibrates or dances due to presence of wind inside the temple. This temple is famous for conducting Poojas to reduce the bad effects of Kalsarpa yoga and for Rahu Shanti also.
Aakasha Kshetra: This is in Chidambaram located in South Arcot District of Tamil Nadu. Here its is believed that the Lord Shiva used to dance in the form of Nataraja in many happier moods. The various poses used in his dances are used as basis for famous dances in India like Bharatanatyam, Kutchipudi, etc.
One should perform
'SIVARATRI KALA SHIVA POOJA’ to get rid of all sorts of afflictions. Poverty, miseries, calamities, adversities, grief, debt and diseases.
Pradosh means Trayodashi, Tithis falling in the evening of both Shukla and Krishna Paksha.
When the above coincides with Saturday it is known as ‘SHANT PRADOSH.
It is said that on this day all Gods and goddesses assemble at Mount Kailesh to worship Lord Shiva. This bestows all kinds of wealth and comforts to Sadhaka
Bathing an hour before sunset the worshipper first performs a preliminary worship of Lord Shiva together with all the others of the divine family, namely, Pravati, Ganesha, Skanda and Nandi.
After the Ganesha worship, Lord Shiva is invoked in the special Kalasha placed on a square Mandala with drawn lotus spread with Darbha grass.
After formal worship has been completed, the SIVARATRI story is read. (OR SHIVA PURANA IS READ)
This is followed by the recitation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra 108 times.
AUM TRYAMBAKAM, YAJAAMAHE, SUGANDHIM PUSTIVARDHANAM, URVAARUKAMIVA, BANDHANAAN, MRITYOR, MUKSHEEYA, MAAMRITAAT.
In the end the sacred kalasha water is taken, the sacred ash is applied to the forehead and the sacred water, which is used to bathe the Lord, is drunk as prashad.
A gift of a pot, a cloth and an image of god have to be given to a Brahmin or in charity to conclude the worship.
Even a single BILVA leaf (leaf taken from the wood-apple tree) offered to the Lord at this unique auspicious moment equals a 100’S OF Mahapujas.
HAVE SPECIAL ADDITIONAL LIGHTS IN THE SHRINE DURING THE SIVARATRI.
To light even a single Diva at this time is very meritorious and productive of untold benefits, material as well as spiritual.
This is the most favorable moment for a direct contact with god. When we fast and pray on that day, we can reduce our bodily activities to the minimum and can have the vision of the lord who resides in our heart.
When we analyze the rationale of our holy days, we discover that our ancients took particular care to effect a synthesis of Yoga- Karma, Janana and Bhakti.
On Astami days (8th day) meals should only be taken at night after worship of Durga.
Astami the 8th lunar day which falls on Monday, Chaturdasi the 14th lunar day in the dark half are sure to bring success for the person.
On the 11th day in the bright and dark lunar fortnights, food during the day is forbidden. Meals should be taken at night after the worship of Lord VISHNU.
On all Mondays and the 13th day in the bright or dark half fortnights, food shall be taken at nights after following Shiva's Pooja.
In all this rites, the Brahmin or poor people shall be feed according to one's ability for the completion of the sacred rites.
HOW TO OBSERVE THE SIVARATRI FAST OR VRAT
On the Sivaratri day the person should wake up early in the morning and shall perform his daily routine of taking the bath and pooja. Then he should go to the temple of Lord Shiva for worship.
THE WORSHIP ON SIVRATRI DAY
Every 3 hours of the period on the day or night the devotee shall worship with great devotion the Linga shall be worship.
Lord Shiva shall always be worshipped with the five materials on the outset. These articles of worship shall be separately offered with their respective mantras.
After offering the materials the dhara of steady water shall be poured over the Linga.worship of Shiva shall be performed with Sandal- paste, with unbroken rice grains and black Lotus and Karavira flowers shall be offered with reciting of the 8 names of Lord Shiva.
The worshipper shall worship Lord with both Nirguna and Saguna, by the steady pouring of the dhara of the water, with the reciting of the 108 mantras.
AUM NAMAH BHAVA, AUM NAMAH SARVA, AUM NAMAH RUDRA, AUM NAMAH PASUPATI, AUM NAMAH UGRA, AUM NAMAH MAHAT, AUM NAMAH BHIMA, AUM NAMAH ISANA.
Then the dhoop of incense and diva shall be made and offered.
Cooked rice and half a coconut and Pan shall be offered. The food offering shall be made thereafter.
At the end of the first 3-hour period the ritualistic farewell shall be performed.
Samkalpa rites shall be performed duly as before.
Or the Samkalpa shall be performed once for all the four 3-hour periods. Worship shall be performed as before.
Jaladhara shall be offered. The devotee shall worship Shiva with gingerly seeds, barley grains and lotus flowers.
leaves of the Bilva tree.
The Arghya shall be offered with citron fruit.
The Naivedya shall consist of milk pudding. And the repetition of the mantra shall be twice as that of the previous one.
Other rites shall be performed as before till the end of the second 3-hour period of the time.
In the 3rd period of the 3-hour period the worship the worship shall be done as before. But instead of barley, wheat grain shall be used and the Sunflower shall be offered.
Incenses and Divas shall be of various types. The Naivedya shall consist of fried pies and various vegetable dishes.
The Arti shall be performed as part of the worship, with Camphor. The Agrhya shall consist of the Pomegranate. The Japa should be repeated 3 times then the pervious.
When the 4th PERIOD comes the 3-hour period, the ritualistic dismissal of the pervious worship shall be performed. The worship shall be performed duly with due ritualistic gestures.
The devotee shall worship Lord Shiva with black gram, green gram, Priyangu grains or any of the 7 cereals, the flowers of Sankhi and the Bilva.
The Naivedya shall be offered with different sweets or cooked black grains and rice in order to propitiate Sada-Shiva.
Arghya shall be offered to Shiva with Banana or with different type of fruits.
Perform the mantras Japa twice the number of the previous puja.
Till day- break the devotee shall pass the time with songs and prayers.
When the sunrises the person shall take his bath and then worship Lord Shiva. The Jal-dhara shall be performed of the deity. And the flowers should be offered with the mantras.
By performing this Vrat, the Lord Siva, the destroyer of all miseries grants all desired benefits, pleasures and salvation.th lunar day only one meal should be taken and complete fast shall be observed on the 14 On the Sivratri day after performing the routine, the devotee shall go to the temple of Shiva and perform the worship.
Yantra puja should be done in the middle of the mystical diagram Lingatobhadra and Sarvatobhadra shall be delineated.
Gauritilaka, Lingatobhandra and Sarvatobhandra are the circular diagrams of particular type depicting the positions of the deities to be invoked therein for offering worship and propitiation.
As in the Prajapatya rite, auspicious water-pots shall be placed wrapped in cloth, with a coconut above and the Daksina placed in.Uma shall be placed on the left and Siva on the right.
The pots shall be carefully placed at the sides of the altar. In middle either a discus or a gold-pot shall be placed.
The devotee shall worship the idol at night.
He shall keep awake during the night performing worship in the different 3-hour periods and singing songs of prayer with devotion.
After performing the worship thus in accordance with the injunctions he shall propitiate the lord. He shall worship again in the morning and perform Homa duly.
O Rudra, this Vrat is performed by me according to my ability. O lord, if it is deficient in any respect let it become perfect by your COMMAND.