“Om Namo Shivaya”. This mantra will be sung throughout India today to honor the god Shiva. For today is Maha Shivatri, the night of Shiva. According to the Hindu Moon Calendar, this Hindu feast day is always on the 14th day of the New Moon.
There is disagreement about the exact occasion of the holiday. Some celebrate the wedding of Shiva with his wife Parvati, others honor the day when Shiva is immersed in deep meditation on Mount Kailash, others believe that Shiva danced the dance Tandava on that day, a wild cosmic dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution.
Shiva is one of the three main deities Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva, who stand for these three energies of creation, preservation and destruction. Shiva is not only regarded as the God of destruction, but above all as the God of universal consciousness that sits in our third eye.
Shiva is one of Hindu’s favorite deities. He is regarded as the most powerful god. He is also considered the god of yoga and the first yogi ever. Together with Parvati, the mother goddess and his two sons Ganesha and Kartik, he forms the divine family.
Today, at Maha Shivatri, the followers honor him all day and all night with fasting, taking holy baths in the Ganges, singing in Shiva temples, meditating, drinking Bang Lassi (a marijuana yogurt mixture) and the priests in Shiva temples pour every three hours among other things water, milk, ghee, sugar and honey over the Fallus of Shiva- the Shiva Lingam, a stone.
Especially women pray for their husbands and not yet married for a good husband, because Shiva is considered a perfect partner.
Whoever honors Shiva at Maha Shivatri is said to cleanse him or her self from all sins and comes closer to immortality.
Overall, Maha Shivatri is considered to be particularly high in energy, as the planets are in a very energizing relationship.
More about Shiva and a fun Yoga Sequence related to Nataraj Asana you can find here.