MAHASHIVARATRI - March 2, 2011

Nataraj,The Lord of Dance is a depiction of the Hindu god Shiva as the cosmic dancer who performs his divine dance to destroy a weary universe and make preparations for god Brahma to again start the process of creation. 

This year, on the 14th night of the waning moon,the dark moon night before the new moon, this 2nd of March, Mahashivaratri is celebrated throughout India, Nepal and the world by devotees of Shiva. Mahashivaratri means "the great night of Shiva". There are a number of legends connected with the origin of Shivaratri- one such is that Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva were married on this day. The divine union of male and female in the Cosmos.

On this day devotees aim to please Shiva through fasting and prayer.  The main prayers are usually conducted during the night at temples of Shiva. Every three hours devotees worship Lord Shiva in the inner sanctum of the temple in the form of a Lingam which is bathed with milk, ghee, honey, curd, rose water, bilva leaves etc at auspicious hours. 
Adorned Shiva Lingam
Devotees spend much time chanting the Vedic Rudram, or the five-syllable mantra of Shiva -  Om Namah Shivaya - and spend the whole night meditating on Him by remembering one's own ultimate goal which is God Realization - the absolute purpose of this fortunate human birth. Ascending to the top of the mystical and holy Mount Kailash within oneself in meditation, the devotee may experience the presence of God Shiva within one's self and simultaneously flow into the formlessness of the Universal Self which permeates the entirety in all dimensions.