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Hindu community celebrates Maha Shiv Raatri

Published: 
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Dr Kharamath Dayanand, Surujdaye Dayanand, Kiran Dayanand and Pandit Ramesh Kissoon offer milk to the Shiva Lingam. PHOTO: RIVALDO DASS

The Hindu community celebrated Maha Shiv Raatri on February 17. Maha Shiv Raatri is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva (the destroyer who destroys the universe in order to recreate it) and is celebrated on the 13th lunar night into the 14th day (one day before the new moon) during the Hindu month of Phagun. 

Lord Shiva is the third God in the Hindu triumvirate (three God heads). The Hindu triumvirate consists of three gods responsible for upkeep, creation and destruction of the universe. The other two are Brahma (the creator of the universe) and Vishnu (the preserver). 

Devotees spent the entire night at mandirs throughout the country making special offerings and performing ling puja. A lingam is a stone object that represents Lord Shiva. The lingam is used in Hindu temples throughout the world. 

According to spiritual leader of the La Plaisance Road Hindu Mandir, La Romaine, Pandit Ramesh Kissoon, “Shiv Raatri is the night of Lord Shiva and he (Lord Shiva) said “Those who are desirous of me do ling puja. 

“The Shiv linga here is a non-human shape and is worshipped as Lord Shiva because it is formless and attribute-less,” the Pandit said. 

“The lingam also signifies satya, janana and ananta (truth, knowledge and infinity) and is made up of three parts: the lowest part (called the Brahma pitha), the middle (called Vishnu-pitha) and the upper (Shiva-pitha or Rudra bhag),” Kissoon said. 

Shivaratri night is divided into four pahars (parts). At the end of each pahar offerings and puja are done. At the La Plaisance Road Hindu Mandir, devotees were seen pouring milk and honey on the lingam while offering other items. 

The pandit explained to the T&T Guardian that in order to get amrit (nectar of life) from the bottom of the ocean, gods and demons churned the ocean and many things came up—precious gems, animals, gold, silver and poison called Halalal. When this poison came up it threatened to destroy the entire world and everyone had to pray to Lord Shiva to ask him to destroy it. Lord Shiva took the poison and stored it in his neck. 

“He wore the ganga and the moon on his head to cool the heat of the poison,” Kissoon said. “And he has the fiery third eye. Constant abhishek (offering) cools this eye. The greatest and the highest abhishek is to pour the waters of pure love on the atma ling of the lotus of the heart. The external abhishek (what is offered by devotees on Shivaratri) with various objects (ganga water, milk, ghee honey, dahee, cane juice) will help the growth of devotion and adoration for Lord Shiva and eventually lead to the internal ‘abhishek’ with pure devotional love.” 

Many devotees who performed puja and made offerings admitted their love for Lord Shiva and insisted that performing devotion to this Hindu God holds great rewards.

The purpose of the Ling Puja 

“Lord Shiva is really formless,” Pandit Kissoon said “He has no form of his own and yet all forms are his forms. All forms are pervaded by Lord Shiva—every form is the form or Linga of Lord Shiva—there is a mysterious power of indescribable shakti (power) in the Linga. To induce concentration of the mind just as the mind is focused easily in crystal gazing so also the mind attains one-pointedness when it looks at the linga. That is the reason why the ancient rishis and sages of India have prescribed linga to be installed in all temples. In almost every Hindu home one will be found.”

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