What are the Benefits of Shivaratri Fasting & What is the Right Way to do it?
Are so many doubts and questions regarding Shivaratri fast troubling you, then this article will answer all your questions including what is the right way to observe Shivaratri fasting, why should we do it, or should we mandatorily fast, and what would be the consequences if we are not able to observe fast?
Maha Shivaratri Rituals
The three important rituals to be performed on the occasion of Shivaratri includes:
- Vigil (Jaagaram)
On Maha Shivaratri, the ardent devotees of Mahadev, observe fast, performs puja, and practice meditation, which leads to health, wealth, success, and awakening. Fasting detoxifies the body and aid meditation. It helps your body feel lighter and relaxes your mind. Fasting also raises the power of your prayers.
The word “Shivam” means Shubh or good. The word Rathri is descended from the primary element of the words “Ra” which in summary gives the meaning of good and happiness together (Shubh and Sukh). As per writings in Shiva Purana, it is mentioned that who observe Shivaratri fast will be blessed with results which are equivalent to the blessings received by doing highly respected “Ashwamedha Yagna”, the grandest of the Vedic religious rites of ancient India, performed by a king to celebrate his paramountcy.
It is also believed that those who observe fasting and be vigil wholeheartedly are blessed with prosperity and moksha (release from the cycle of rebirth impelled by the law of karma)
There are also traces of few scripts where Lord shiva himself said to Parvathi that if a devotee can observe the fast with sincerity, Lord Shiva absolves him of all his sins and blesses him with abundant prosperity.
Maha Shivaratri Shloka to Chant:
Sivanthu pujayathwa yojaa garthicha chathurdeesam !
Mathu : payodhara rasam napibeth kadhachana!!
Scripts are saying whoever performs the Shiva puja on the auspicious day of Shivaratri, that is Magh Krishna Chaturdashi, 14th day of Mahgmasa will attain moksha – the transcendent state attained as a result of being released from the cycle of rebirth.
Fasting on Shivaratri?
Upa Sameepe yo Vaasa : jeevathma paramathmano :
Upavasa : savigneya sarvabhogh vasarjith ||
The above sloka from varahopanishat explains the clear meaning of fasting. Fasting is a stronger sense of your connection with God by chanting and denying our carnal nature. It is to self – centre our vision on God completely.
How to Fast on Shivarathri?
- Traditionally, people who observe fast on Mahashivaratri would take bath early in the morning, with warm water and black sesame seeds. However, nowadays, people prefer to take a hot water shower, in the morning.
- On the day, they would abstain from food made with rice, pulses, or wheat. However, the devotees may eat fruits and drink milk during the fast, if they have not observed nirahar vrat (fast without the consumption of any form of foodstuff).
- Apart from concentrating on the food cycle, one needs to chant and recite lord shiva’s name dedicating your thoughts and actions to the lord
- Mahashivratri vrat is optional, pregnant women, children, sick people, and the elderly are advised not to keep the fasts
- There is a saying “Sariram adyam khalu dharma sadhanam” which means – the body is the means of fulfilment of dharma”. This was the expression of Lord Shiva indicating the importance of the body for any penance.
Siva kripa kataksha sidhirasthu … !!
Maha Shivaratri 2023 Muhurtam