MAHASHIVRATRI,SHIV BARAT AND VARANASI

The word Kashi
(Benares,Varanasi) has its origin from the word Kash. Its means light. Here light does not mean just light. Light here means “Light of knowledge”. Nalanda, Taxila, and Varanasi were the major centers of education in ancient times.

Shivaratri is a major religious festival of Hindus. This festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the deity of Hindus. It is believed that on this day, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were married. It is a tradition to celebrate this auspicious day in the name of Shivaratri. Since when this festival started, it is unknown.

The mention of this festival is found in the major Puranas of Hinduism, Skanda, Linga Purana, and Padma Puranas. Skanda was the son of Shiva and Parvati. also known as Murgesh in South India. A lot has been written in the Puranas on the religious beliefs of Varanasi and the history of Shiva worship. Although Shivaratri is celebrated all over India, Varanasi is the city of Shiva, so the excitement of Shivaratri is seen here a lot more. On this day, after taking a bath in the Ganges, people visit the Shiva-temple. All Shiva temples in Banaras are full of people, the decoration of the major Shiva-temples is unique.

When, wearing only the Kaupina, Lying on the sands of the holy Ganges in Benares,(Varanasi) When shall I weep aloud, “O Lord of ghouls”, Saying this, and whole days shall pass like moments?(Swami Vivekananda -The Complete Works)


There is also a tradition of fasting on the day of Shivaratri. As Shivaratri is the day of the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and it is described in the Puranas, similarly the practice of fasting on this day has been going on since ancient times. And Shiva Purana mentions the practice of fasting. Shivaratri and fasting is a description of glory.

This ancient story shows the importance of non-violence in the teachings of Hindus, Buddhists, and Jainism. With the development of time, the concept of non-violence became stronger. Gandhi’s imagination of Ramrajya and his attachment to non-violence was based on the Hindu religious tradition that has been going on for thousands of years.

SHIV RATRI KATHA

Shiva Ratri Katha:-——– According to this legend mentioned in Shiva Purana, there was a hunter. His name was Chitrabhan, due to economic circumstances he had to take a loan from a businessman. Chitrabhan could not repay the loan at the appointed time, due to which the merchant took Chitrabhan captive. After some time Chitrabhan released him from prison on the promise of repaying the loan.

The hunter went to the jungle to hunt for money and with the desire to be debt-free. There was a pond in the forest. The hunter climbed a tree near the pond and eagerly waited for the wild animals to come to the pond to quench the thirst. While waiting for the arrival of the wild animal, the hunter fell asleep on the tree. It is believed that on that day it was Shivaratri and due to being hungry the fast of the hunter was completed.

After waiting for some more time a pregnant deer came to drink water. Seeing him, the hunter raised his bow and arrow and aimed at the pregnant deer. Then the deer got noticed on the hunter’s movement deer said, I am from the womb, I will give birth soon. Will you kill two creatures together? It would not be appropriate. I will come to you soon after giving birth to my child, then you can hunt me. Hearing deer the hunter took off his bow and the deer also left from there.

After a while, another deer came to drink water near the pond. The hunter carefully targeted this deer. Deer pleaded with the hunter and said, “I have gone in search of my husband. I will come back to you after meeting my husband. The hunter also let this deer go. hunter Began to think about the events. a little more time passed.

Now the third deer appeared. This deer was with her little children. The hunter raised his bow thinking of aiming. deer spoke “ I will return these children to their father. Let me go now The hunter refused to do so. He told me that I have left two deer. deer said that hunter believes me, I promise to come back. The hunter felt pity for him, he also let him go. hunter again started waiting for a wild animal. It was morning while waiting. The hunter was amused when he saw a deer again. Then that deer sadly said to the hunter, if you have killed three deer and children coming before me, kill me too. Do not delay. Because I can not bear this sorrow. I am the husband of those deer. If you have given them life, then leave me too. I will come back to meet my family. The hunter let him go as well. Despite being hungry and worried about his future, the hunter felt very good. The hunter found that his heart was now filled with compassion.

DEER FAMILY WAS PRESENT IN FRONT OF THE HUNTER
This short, simple, beautiful story teaches the importance of non-violence, it is rare.

SHIV-BARAT:-

HAR-HAR MAHADEV

Shiva Barat also comes out of many temples of Varanasi on Shivaratri. Anyone can join this procession. The Shiva Barat is a way of depicting events related to Shiva’s life in the tableau. I thought of becoming part of the Barat emanating from the ancient Shiva temple (Mahamrityunjaya) of Varanasi described in Kashikhand. By six o’clock in the evening, I was in the courtyard of this very ancient temple in the most ancient region of Varanasi. There was a long queue of visitors, I bought something to anoint Shiva from a nearby shop. Ganga- Jal (water of Ganges ) in a small clay cup some BEL- PATRA , some flowers. I got sandalwood paste, on my forehead from the priest at the shop. Now, like a true Shiva devotee, I joined the queue to enter the temple. The crowd was echoing with Har-Har Mahadev slogans. After about forty-five minutes I entered the temple. People said that due to corona, this time the crowd is very less, due to which the number of aged people in the devotees was seen quite low. Came out after the divine darshan of Mahadev. It was hearing from the people that the Barat is still an hour to come out, and one should go on the main route to see the Barat well. The path of the temple is narrow, so I intended to go to Maidagin, the main road. Knowing that Maidagin is five minutes away, I intended to have a look at other ancient temples (mentioned in Kashi Khand) near Mahamrityunjaya temple.

Almost all the temples were smaller than the Mahamrityunjaya temple. The temples were also comparatively less crowded. One thing surprised me a lot – the visitors to these temples were completely unaware of the historical aspect of the temple. The importance of the temple was only religious to him. Many of the youths were also unaware of the religious aspect, only due to tradition, they were there. This locality of Varanasi is like a time machine that can throw you in ancient times in one stroke. Many sacred texts of Hindus mention this area, &temples but school books are silent on this subject. The fake Marxist historians at school and university are busy teaching imported history. Suddenly the music playing in a loud voice was a gesture of the Barat, I too departed to Madaigin with fast steps.

A lot of tableaus was seen at the Maidagin Crossroads. The events related to Shiva’s life were depicted in all the tableaux. Some old-fashioned horse-car was also seen. People told that the dignitaries of the city are sitting on them. In the crowd, all the hands were mobile, all were engaged in capturing this memorable event on mobile. I enjoyed the tableaux for about half an hour and decided to enjoy another practice.

Thandai ,Bhaang & paan .

JAI-JAI SHIV SHANKAR KAANTA LAGEY NA KANKAD KI PYALA TEREY NAAM KA PIYA.

Thandai a popular soft drink in Varanasi. Thandai is made from a mixture of natural things, including rose petals, almonds, fruit seeds, milk, etc. Cannabis is also added to it on Mahashivaratri. I also came to enjoy a famous, Thandai shop at the Maidagin. Nearly a dozen people were at the shop. Surprisingly almost all the people reached there only after seeing the Shiva-baraat. Thandai was being served in a clay -cup(kullhada) naturally. Cannabis was also kept in a vessel. People were adding cannabis to the thandai according to their capacity. I told the storekeeper that this is my first time to tell me the right amount to drink cannabis. take suggestions from the shop owner or else this experience can be overwhelming. The practice of drinking cannabis in Shivratri is also very old. At one time, there was elaborate preparation in temples as well. SIL-BATTA sil (flat -stone) batta (a cylindrical grinding stone) was used to grind cannabis before the arrival of electricity. In a Shiva temple (In the seventeenth-eighteenth century, many temples were built by the Marathas in Varanasi.) I saw a sil equipped with geometric art. This Shiva temple is located on Panchkoshi Marg.

After thandai , I reached a paan shop. I felt a wave (BHANG KI TARANG) while chewing the betel leaf. Different experience. With small steps, I walked towards the house with this memorable experience. (If you come to Varanasi and want to experience cannabis, then go to any famous thandai shop. It is best to eat cannabis in thandai. Before drinking cannabis(bhaang) keep some points in your mind.

  1. Before consuming cannabis, make sure to know its quantity from the shop owner.
  2. Never drive after drinking cannabis.

MAHADEV KRIPA

Author: nitinsingh

Postgraduate in International relations. Experience in writing in various journals, from BBC WORLD NEWS SERVICE to India's one of the oldest hindi daily. I like to write on international relations, religion, religious conflict. Social media has bridged the distance between writing and reading. Now writing is not just the expression of one's own thought, but also knowing the expression of people on various subject.

2 thoughts on “MAHASHIVRATRI,SHIV BARAT AND VARANASI”

  1. Like all your posts, this one was insightful too. Nice to read your experience of Shivaratri from Varanasi, only the chosen lucky ones are fortunate to have this experience.

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