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Maha Shivaratri Celebrated With Fervor At Chinmaya Mission

Rama Sriram

Maha Shivaratri, the festival of the Hindus, was celebrated with religious fervor at the Chinmaya Mission, Andover, MA on Wednesday, March 5th,2008. According to the Hindu mythology,Maha Shivaratri is considered to be an auspicious night to offer prayers to Lord Shiva as He saved the universe from the evil effects on this particular night that occurs on the 11th Lunar month, Maasi .
Large number of devotees participated in this special prayer and chanted "Rudram" -- "a hymn to the wielder of awesome powers" until midnight. "Abishekam" was performed by the priests, pundit Srinivasa Shastriji and Nagendra Shastri, to the deities of Lord shiva and Lord Hanuman.The deities were beautifully decorated with colorful flowers and ornaments. Devotees offered flowers, milk, honey, coconuts, fruits and special food to God.
The rituals commenced with Mahanyasa Parayana, a powerful vedic mantra at 5.30 pm, followed by Rudra Parayana , Bilva Archana and Panchamrutha Abishekam to the deities. "We perform Abishekam for Lord Anjaneya on MahaShivaratri day, as Lord Hanuman is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. People who utter Shiva Namakam -- OM Nama Shivaya, on this night will be blessed with health, wealth, peace and prosperity," said Srinivasa Sastriji. He also explained that archana is performed using Bilva leaves to invoke the grace of the Lord.
It is believed that one who stays awake during Maha Shivaratri and prays to Lord Shiva sincerely, is sure to attain salvation. Some devotees even abstain from eating food all day and break their fast only after night long worship.
Mrs.Valli Bhamidipati, who teaches Indian classical music at the Chinmaya Maruti center, sang hymns in praise of Lord Shiva at the end. It was amazing to witness the tradition being followed with all the grace, so far away from home.

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