Mahashivarathi Vrat according to Hindu mythology, observance of vrat with discipline helps a devotee to control the great natural forces that afflict a man, rajas guna ( the quality of passionate activity) and tamas guna ( the quality of inertia). When a devotee spends an entire day in the feet of Lord and worships with sincerity, his motion is controlled and evils like lust, anger and jealousy, born of Rajas are
ignored and subdues. Besides when a devotee observes vigil throughout the night (jaagarn) he manages to conquer the evils of Tamas Guna too. It has also been mentioned that when a devotee observes a round of worship every three hours, the Shivarathri Vrata becomes perfect.
Shivaratri Fast is considered to be the most important fast for the devotees of Lord Shiva. Shiva purana goes on to say that if a devotee observes Shivaratri Vrata with sincerity, pure devotion and love he id blessed with the divine grace of Lord Shiva Every Year devotees observe Maha Shivaratri fast with devotion and sincerity. Many go on diet of fruits and milk, some do not consume even a drop of water all through the day and night of Shivaratri Festival. Devotees of Lord Shiva believe and consider Shivaratri fast to be extremely auspicious and rate it equal or more than performing on Ashwamedha Yagna. Some believe that a devotee who observes a Shivaratri Fast with sincerity and utter the LOrd Shiva with perfect devotion is absolved from all sins. Such a devotee reaches the abode of Lord Shiva and lives there
happily. He is also liberated from the cycle of birth and death.
Cutoms and Traditions of Shivaratri Fast
As a tradition, devotees who are on a strict fast on Shivaratri take bath with the water that is boiled with black sesame seeds to wash away bodily impurities. After putting on fresh new clothes, a devotee visit the nearest Lord Shiva temple to perform the ritual Shiva Linga bath with milk, honey etc. While bathing the Lingam a devotee prays, “O Lord! I will bathe Thee with water, milk etc. Do Thou Kindly bathe me with the wisdom. Do thou Kindly wash me of all my sins, so that the fire of worldliness which is scorching me may be put out once for all, so that i may be one with Thee-the One alone without a second.”
Following a sacred bath, devotee applies haldi-kumkum on the lingam and place a garland of white and pink lotus flowers on it. Bel leaves are also placed at the top of the Lingam. Aarthi and bhajans in praise of Lord shiva are also sung to invoke his blessings.Devotees light incense sticks.
The Shivaratri fast continues all throught the day and night. Devotees observe an all night vigil while chanting the mantra, “OM NAMAH SHIVAYA” and by singing devotional hymns and songs shiva lingas are given a holy bath every three hours. An offering of fruits is also made a diety.
The food items you can consume on Maha shivaratri vrat:
1. Milk-based food
Milk based dishes like curd, barfi, makhane ki kheer etc are some food items you can enjoy today.
When on fast you can feast on fruits! You can consume any fruit or prepare a custard out of all fruits and enjoy it. However if you wish to make a fruit chat keep in mind that you avoid salt in it.
3. Dry Fruits
One of the best way to keep your self stacked with nutritious way is by consuming dry fruits. It helps you stay satiated throughout the day .
4. Sweet potatoes
Potatoes are one of the best food items to consume during the Maha Shivarathri fast as they keep you full for a long time. simply boil the potatoes add milk and eat it.