The Trimurti (‘Three Forms’) is a Hindu
concept consisting of Brahma (the
Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver) and Shiva (the Destroyer). Together they
perform the cosmic functions of creation, preservation, and finally the
destruction or transformation.
Shiva means the ‘The Auspicious One’ and is depicted as having a third eye on his forehead, a snake around his neck, the crescent moon in his great locks, the
river Ganga flowing from his hair,
the trishula or the trident in his
hand and the damaru as his musical
Following are the
main iconographical attributes of Mahadeva
(‘Great God’), one of the many
names of Shiva, and their significance:
Eye: Also known as the inner eye, it
provides perception beyond ordinary sight.
● Snake: The serpent is said to represent
ego, after controlling of which it can be used as an ornament.
Moon: The moon’s waxing
and waning phenomenon is symbolic of the time cycle through which creation
evolves from the beginning to the end.
Ganga: The holy river
represents the nectar of immortality.
● Trisula: The trident represents the three Gunas through which he rules the world.
The three Gunas are passion (rajas)
which creates, goodness (sattva)
which sustains and ignorance (tamas)
● Damaru: The small hourglass shaped
drum represents the OM aum) sound, which forms the basis of all the other
Maha Shivratri (Great Night of Shiva) is one of
the great Hindu festivals celebrated throughout India and also by the diaspora
in the rest of the world.
It depicts the
wedding of Goddess Parvathi and Lord Shiva, marking the convergence of Shiva and Shakti, the divine feminine creative power that represents the
dynamic forces moving through the universe.
The day is marked
by offering of Bael leaf to Shiva, chanting of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and an all-night vigil known as jagaran.
The Shiva Purana outlines the mode of
worship on Mahashivaratri:
● Bathing the Shiva Linga with water,
milk and honey with Wood Apple or bael leaves represents purification of the
● Vermilion paste applied to the Shiva
Linga represents virtue.
● Fruit offering represents longevity
and gratification of desires.
● Lighting of the lamp represents
attainment of knowledge.
● Betel leaves represent satisfaction
with worldly pleasures.
Like all great
festivals, Maha Shivaratri is a day
to celebrate life itself.
It is a day to
cleanse our mind and body. Fasting helps us to detoxify the body and a night of
wakefulness (jagaran), is meant to
awaken us in true sense of the word.
Maha Shivaratri falls on March 7 this year and we at
Mount Litera would like to wish everyone happiness, prosperity & peace on
this auspicious occasion.