In every destruction,
There lies a creation.
The dead and decayed green,
Gives life to new leaves.
For who dares to look past
The terror of the intense.
Only he may find the knowledge,
And the glory of his reveal.
There is no single God as prominent and inseparable an aspect of Hinduism as Shiva. Throughout history, he has been regarded as a supreme being. The God of gods and the preserver of things. But that was not always the case. During the early Vedic era, Shiva hadn’t gained any recognition, and his identity was dispersed into several different incarnations. Even his very nature was different. Back then people didn’t hold him as a benevolent god but as a god of anger, death, and destruction. He instilled fear in people.
In Rigveda, three hymns are dedicated to him. Even there, he is mentioned as Rudra. A vengeful god, whom everyone feared. To appease him, they made sacrifices as they believed that the only way to save themselves from Rudra’s wrath is Rudra himself.
Then as centuries passed, Rudra’s image underwent a significant change. Benevolence was imbibed into his overall character to give his persona a sort of balanced outlook. It is around this time that he began to show in popular literature like Ramayana and Mahabharata. He came to be known as Shiva and the philosophy surrounding it came to be known as Shaivism. It is intriguing to notice that Shaivism is older than Brahmanism and Jainism.
Nonetheless, the rise in the popularity and stance of Lord Shiva continued, which put him along the lines of Brahma and Vishnu and made him an invaluable member of the Holy Trinity. His popularity didn’t end there.
Lord Shiva’s charisma and the mystery surrounding him proved too irresistible for the writers and they couldn’t keep themselves from penning his glory onto their pages. The most notable being Immortals of Meluha. Through these pages, Lord Shiva entertained the reader with his valiance and adventures. The people too hold Lord Shiva in high regard today. Several festivals are dedicated to him, and the most celebrated one is Maha Shivaratri, an annual festival.
There are different legends that describe the reason behind Maha Shivaratri celebrations. According to Shaivism legend, this festival is celebrated because on this night Lord Shiva performed the heavenly dance of creation, preservation, and destruction.
Apart from the aforementioned legend, it is also believed that on this day, to save the Earth, Lord Shiva consumed Halahala that was produced during Samudra Manthan and held it in his throat which turned it blue, and thus he was given the name of Neel Kanth.
This auspicious day is not only celebrated in India, but in Nepal, Pakistan, and even in Mauritius and as far away as in Indo-Caribbean. On this occasion, people worship Lord Shiva in the hope that he will curb their agony and problems. They participate in different activities. Rituals are performed in the praise of Lord Shiva, who was, is, and will always be a paragon of Hindu deities.