Many of us used to think or still think, as to why we celebrate this festival of Maha Shivratri. Well there are many legends that are associated with the celebrations of Maha Shivratri. The stories that are associated with the Shivratri celebrations are given below.The stories that are associated with the Shivratri celebrations are given below.
History tells that once a hunter was wandering in a jungle on the banks of Kolidum River. The hunter was following a deer and suddenly heard roar of a tiger. The hunter got scared and climbed a tree, the tiger came chasing the hunter and stood at the foot of the tree. The hunter was very afraid and did not sleep because he thought he would fall. The whole night was spend on the tree by the hunter and suddenly he threw the leaves from the bael tree and at the foot of the tree was the Shiva lingam about which he did not know in the morning the tiger was not there and only Shiva lingam was there. The hunter was very happy and thankful to Lord Shiva and so people remember Lord Shiva the entire night of Maha shivratri.
Another legends of shivratri tells that during samudra manthan, a container filled with poison appeared. This container scared all the Gods and evil spirits, as this poison could ruin the whole world. Lord Shiva was asked for help and in order to save the entire world the whole poison was drunk by Lord Shiva to safe the world. Lord Shiva never swallowed the poison but hold it in his throat because of which his throat turned to be blue and he is also known by the name of Neelkantha for this. People thereby celebrate Shivratri because Lord Shiva saved the world.
A legend in Ramayana tells that once King Bhagirath left his kingdom to intercede for the rescue of the souls of his intimates. He offered forfeit to Lord Brahma for several years, asking Ganga to come on earth from heaven. The reason was that he wanted Ganga to wash the ashes of his intimates and free them from curse so that they can visit heaven. Lord Brahma asked him to pray to Lord Shiva, as he was the only one who could hold her fall. The wish was finally granted and Ganga came down and was stored by Lord Shiva in his tangled hair. This legend thereby makes people to offer water to Shiva lingam on Maha Shivratri.
According to a legend in Shiva purana the other two Gods that form the trinity, Lord Brahma and Vishnu were fighting as to who was superior among the two. Lord Shiva was asked to interfere between the two by other Gods. The reason for Lord Shiva interfering between them was to make them realize the vainness of their fight. Shiva developed the form of fire between Brahma and Vishnu. Both of them decided to find an end and so Brahma as swan went up and Vishnu as Varaha went into the earth. Light has no end and searching for several miles no one could find it. While going up Brahma came across Ketaki flower and asked her where was she coming from? Ketaki replied that she was placed at peak of the fire. Brahma thought to take this flower along with him as a proof since he could not find the fire end. Lord Shiva got angry on Brahma for telling a lie and told him that no one would worship him and Ketaki flower will also not be used for any rituals. This day was the fourteenth day of the Phalgun month when Lord Shiva was visible in form of Shiva lingam and therefore it is celebrated as Maha Shivratri.
The above legends thereby mark the celebrations of Maha shivratri .