A lingam, sometimes referred to as linga or Shiva linga, is an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu deity Shiva in Shaivism. It is a votary symbol revered as self-manifested natural objects; the lingam is represented within a lipped, disc-shaped platform called a yoni that symbolizes the goddess Shakti. Lingayats wear a lingam inside a necklace, called Ishtalinga. Lingam is additionally found in Sanskrit texts with the meaning of "evidence, proof", or in sexual context where it means the "male generative organ, phallus". Lingam iconography found at archaeological sites of the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia includes simple cylinders set inside a yoni, rounded pillars with carvings such as of one or more mukha, anatomically realistic representations of a phallus such as at Gudimallam. In the Shaiva traditions, the lingam is regarded as a form of spiritual iconography. Lingam, states Monier Monier-Williams, appears in the Upanishads and epic literature, where it means a "mark, emblem, characteristic".
Other contextual meanings of the term include "evidence, symptom", "gender, male organ, phallus". The term appears in early Indian texts on logic, where an inference is based on a sign, such as "if there is smoke, there is fire" where the linga is the smoke. According to James Lochtefeld, it is sometimes "simplistically called a phallic symbol", it is a religious symbol in Hinduism representing Shiva as the generative power, all of existence, all creativity and fertility at every cosmic level. The lingam of the Shaivism tradition is a short cylindrical pillar-like symbol of Shiva, made of stone, gem, clay or disposable material. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, the lingam is a votary aniconic object found in the sanctum of Shiva temples and private shrines that symbolizes Shiva and is "revered as an emblem of generative power", it is found within a lipped, disked structure, an emblem of goddess Shakti and this is called the yoni. Together they symbolize the union of the feminine and the masculine principles, "the totality of all existence", states Encyclopædia Britannica.
According to Rohit Dasgupta, the lingam symbolizes Shiva in Hinduism, it is a phallic symbol. Since the 19th-century, states Dasgupta, the popular literature has represented the lingam as the male sex organ; this view contrasts with the traditional abstract values they represent in Shaivism wherein the lingam-yoni connote the masculine and feminine principles in the entirety of creation and all existence. According to Wendy Doniger, for many Hindus, the lingam is not a "male sexual organ" but of a spiritual icon and their faith, just like for the Christians the cross is not an "instrument of execution" but a symbol of Christ and the Christian faith. According to Alex Wayman, given the Shaiva philosophical texts and spiritual interpretations, various works on Shaivism by some Indian authors "deny that the linga is a phallus". To the Shaivites, a linga is neither a phallus nor do they practice the worship of erotic penis-vulva, rather the linga-yoni is a symbol of cosmic mysteries, the creative powers and the metaphor for the spiritual truths of their faith.
According to Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, the lingam signifies three perfections of Shiva. The upper oval part of the Shivalingam represent Parashiva and lower part of the Shivalingam called the pitha represents Parashakti. In Parashiva perfection, Shiva is the absolute reality, the timeless and spaceless. In Parashakti perfection, Shiva is all-pervasive, pure consciousness and primal substance of all that exists and it has form unlike Parashiva, formless. According to Nagendra Singh, some believe. According to Chakrabarti, "some of the stones found in Mohenjodaro are unmistakably phallic stones"; these are dated to some time before 2300 BCE. States Chakrabarti, the Kalibangan site of Harappa has a small terracotta representation that "would undoubtedly be considered the replica of a modern Shivlinga." According to Encyclopædia Britannica, while Harappan discoveries include "short cylindrical pillars with rounded tops", there is no evidence that the people of Indus Valley Civilization worshipped these artifacts as lingams.
The colonial era archaeologists John Marshall and Ernest Mackay proposed that certain artifacts found at Harappan sites may be evidence of yoni-linga worship in Indus Valley Civilization. Scholars such as Arthur Llewellyn Basham dispute whether such artifacts discovered at the archaeological sites of Indus Valley sites are yoni. For example and Ryan state that lingam/yoni shapes have been recovered from the archaeological sites at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, part of the Indus Valley Civilisation. In contrast, Indologist Wendy Doniger states that this rare artifact can be interpreted in many ways and has unduly been used for wild speculations such as being a linga. Another postage stamp sized item found and called the Pashupati seal, states Doniger, has an image with a general resemblance with Shiva and "the Indus people may well have created the symbolism of the divine phallus", but given the available evidence we cannot be certain, nor do we know that it had the same meaning as some project them to might have meant.
According to the Indologist Asko Parpola, "it is true that Marshall's and Mackay's hypotheses of linga and yoni worship by the Harappans has rested on rather slender grounds, that for instance the interpretation of the so-called ring-stones as yonis seems untenable". He quotes Dales 1984 paper, which states "with the single exception of the unidentified photography of a realistic phallic object in Marshall's repo
Vannar is a Tamil caste found in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and northeastern parts of Sri Lanka. The community has traditionally been involved in exorcism and as ceremonial officiators, they are in Tamil Nadu classified as Most Backward Class. The word Vannar is thought to be derived from the Tamil word vannam meaning "beauty"; the chief of this community use the title Kattadi. The Vannars traditionally occupy the Sangam landscape Marutham; the Vannars were involved in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine. The Vannars served as kudimakkal or domestic servants, who gave importance as ceremonial officiators. In the Tamil Nadu state of India, the Vannar's form 4 or 5% of the total population and they are considered Most backward caste, their nature of business is agriculture. Dhobi Panicker Muslim Dhobi Official website
Ātman is a Sanskrit word that means inner self or soul. In Hindu philosophy in the Vedanta school of Hinduism, Ātman is the first principle, the true self of an individual beyond identification with phenomena, the essence of an individual. In order to attain liberation, a human being must acquire self-knowledge, to realize that one's true self is identical with the transcendent self Brahman; the six orthodox schools of Hinduism believe. This is a major point of difference with the Buddhist doctrine of Anatta which holds that there is no unchanging soul or self. "Ātman" is a Sanskrit word which means "essence, soul." It is derived from the Proto-Indo-European word *h₁eh₁tmṓ.Ātman, sometimes spelled without a diacritic as atman in scholarly literature, means "real self" of the individual, "innermost essence", soul. Atman, in Hinduism, is considered as eternal, beyond time, "not the same as body or mind or consciousness, but is something beyond which permeates all these". Atman is a metaphysical and spiritual concept for the Hindus discussed in their scriptures with the concept of Brahman.
The earliest use of word "Ātman" in Indian texts is found in the Rig Veda. Yāska, the ancient Indian grammarian, commenting on this Rigvedic verse, accepts the following meanings of Ātman: the pervading principle, the organism in which other elements are united and the ultimate sentient principle. Other hymns of Rig Veda where the word Ātman appears include I.115.1, VII.87.2, VII.101.6, VIII.3.24, IX.2.10, IX.6.8, X.168.4. Ātman is a central idea in all of the Upanishads, "know your Ātman" is their thematic focus. These texts state that the core of every person's self is not the body, nor the mind, nor the ego, but "Ātman", which means "soul" or "self". Atman is the spiritual essence in their real innermost essential being, it is eternal, it is the essence, it is ageless. Atman is that; the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad describes Atman as that in which everything exists, of the highest value, which permeates everything, the essence of all and beyond description. In hymn 4.4.5, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad describes Atman as Brahman, associates it with everything one is, everything one can be, one's free will, one's desire, what one does, what one doesn't do, the good in oneself, the bad in oneself.
That Atman is indeed Brahman. It is identified with the intellect, the Manas, the vital breath, with the eyes and ears, with earth, air, ākāśa, with fire and with what is other than fire, with desire and the absence of desire, with anger and the absence of anger, with righteousness and unrighteousness, with everything — it is identified, as is well known, with this and with that; as it does and acts, so it becomes: by doing good it becomes good, by doing evil it becomes evil. It becomes virtuous through good acts, vicious through evil acts. Others, say, "The self is identified with desire alone. What it desires, so it resolves; this theme of Ātman, soul and self of oneself, every person, every being is the same as Brahman, is extensively repeated in Brihadāranyaka Upanishad. The Upanishad asserts that this knowledge of "I am Brahman", that there is no difference between "I" and "you", or "I" and "him" is a source of liberation, not gods can prevail over such a liberated man. For example, in hymn 1.4.10, Brahman was this before.
I am Brahman, therefore it became all. And whoever among the gods had this enlightenment became That, it is the same with the same with men. Whoever knows the self as “I am Brahman,” becomes all this universe; the gods cannot prevail against him, for he becomes their Ātma. Now, if a man worships another god, thinking: “He is one and I am another,” he does not know, he is like an animal to the gods. As many animals serve a man, so does each man serve the gods. If one animal is taken away, it causes anguish; therefore it is not pleasing to the gods. Along with the Brihadāranyaka, all the earliest and middle Upanishads discuss Ātman as they build their theories to answer how man can achieve liberation and bliss; the Katha Upanishad, for example, explains Atman as immanent and transcendent innermost essence of each human being and living creature, that this is one though the external forms of living creatures manifest in different forms, for example, in hymns 2.2.9 and others, its states As the one fire, after it has entered the world, though one, takes different forms according to whatever it burns,so does the internal Ātman of all living beings, though one, takes a form according to whatever He enters and is outside all forms.
Katha Upanishad, in Book 1, hymns 3.3 to 3.4, describes the cited analogy of chariot for the relation of "Soul, Self" to body and senses. Stephen Kaplan translates these hymns as, "Know the Self as the rider in a chariot, the body as the chariot. Know the intellect as the charioteer, the mind as the reins; the senses, they say are the horses, sense objects are the paths around them". The Katha Upanishad declares that "when the Self understands this and is unified, integrated w
Sadashiva, is the Supreme Being Lord Parashivam in the Mantra marga Siddhanta sect of Shaivism. Sadasiva is the omnipotent, luminous absolute; the highest manifestation of almighty, blessing with Anugraha or grace, the fifth of Panchakritya - "Holy five acts" of Shiva. Sadasiva is depicted having five faces and ten hands, is considered as one of the 25 Maheshwara murtams of Lord Shiva. Sivagamas conclude, Shiva Lingam Mukhalingam, is another form of Sadasiva The concept and form of Sadasiva emerged from South India, although many ancient sculptures of Sadasiva were obtained from various parts of India and South East Asia, it is believed that the cult of Sadasiva was widespread in the region of Bengal during the period of Sena dynasty who traced their origin in South India. Sadasiva is represented in the form of Mukhalingam with the number of faces varying from one to five; the first sculpture of Sadasiva as a lingam with five faces was found in Bhita, near Allahabad, dates to the 2nd century CE.
His five faces, Tatpurusha, Vamadeva and Satyojata are known as Panchabrahmas, the emanations towards the four directions and upwards from the nishkala Parashivam. Kamiga Agamam, the first Agamam of 28 Sivagamas depicts Sadasiva as having ten arms, his five right hands hold Trishula, Katvanga and Abhaya while his five left hands hold Snake, Matulunga fruit, Damaru, Rudraksha rosary and Varadam. The consort of Sadasiva is goddess Gayatri, a form of Parvati known as Manonmani in Agamic texts, she is sometimes depicted residing in the lap of Sadasiva. According to Shaivite texts, the supreme being Parashivam manifests as pentads apart from the well known Trinity of other Hindu sects - Brahma and Shiva, his five deeds which are known "Panchakrityas" are assigned to Panchamurti, his five aspects, viz. Brahma, Rudra and Sadashiva. Creation, destruction and liberation are done by these five manifestations respectively; the five faces of Parashiva emanating these five aspects at whom we could not find any distinctions from himself, are praised as "Panchabrahmas", the five creators or the five realities.
The Panchamurtis of Shaivism are absorbed within Shaktism and named as "Panchapreta". Goddess Lalita is praised as sitting in a throne, the legs of which are Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara while the seat of the throne is lap of Sadashiva; the five faces of Sadasiva are sometimes identified with Mahadeva, Nandi and Sadasiva himself. The ten arms of Sadasiva represent the ten directions. Another variation of Sadasiva evolved into another form of Shiva known as Mahasadasiva, in which Shiva is depicted with twenty-five heads with seventy-seven eyes and fifty arms. Given accounts relating to Sadasiva are collected from Vishnudharmottara Purana. Lingam Mukhalinga
The Shvetashvatara Upanishad is an ancient Sanskrit text embedded in the Yajurveda. It is listed as number 14 in the Muktika canon of 108 Upanishads; the Upanishad contains 113 verses in six chapters. The Upanishad is one of the 33 Upanishads from Taittiriyas, associated with the Shvetashvatara tradition within Karakas sakha of the Yajurveda, it is a part of the "black" Yajurveda, with the term "black" implying "the un-arranged, motley collection" of content in Yajurveda, in contrast to the "white" Yajurveda where Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and Isha Upanishad are embedded. The chronology of Maitrayaniya Upanishad is contested, but accepted to be a late period Upanishadic composition; the text includes a closing credit to sage Shvetashvatara, considered the author of the Upanishad. However, scholars believe that while sections of the text shows an individual stamp by its style and other sections were interpolated and expanded over time; the Shvetashvatara Upanishad opens with metaphysical questions about the primal cause of all existence, its origin, its end, what role, if any, nature, necessity and the spirit had as the primal cause.
It develops its answer, concluding that "the Universal Soul exists in every individual, it expresses itself in every creature, everything in the world is a projection of it, that there is Oneness, a unity of souls in one and only Self". The text is notable for its discussion of the concept of personal god – Ishvara, suggesting it to be a path to one's own Highest Self; the text is notable for its multiple mentions of both Rudra and Shiva, along with other Vedic deities, of crystallization of Shiva as a central theme. The Shvetashvatara Upanishad is a Principal Upanishad of Hinduism, commented by many of its ancient and medieval scholars, it is a foundational text of the philosophy of Shaivism, as well as the Yoga and Vedanta schools of Hinduism. Some 19th century scholars suggested that Shvetashvatara Upanishad is sectarian or influenced by Christianity, hypotheses that were disputed discarded by scholars; the name "Shvetashvatara" has the compound Sanskrit root Shvetashva, which means "white horse" and "drawn by white steeds".
Shvetashvatara is a bahuvrihi compound of, where tara means "crossing", "carrying beyond". The word Shvetashvatara translates to "the one carrying beyond on white horse" or "white mule that carries"; the text is sometimes spelled as Svetasvatara Upanishad. It is known as Shvetashvataropanishad or Svetasvataropanishad, as Shvetashvataranam Mantropanishad. In ancient and medieval literature, the text is referred to in the plural, as Svetasvataropanishadah; some metric poetic verses, such as Vakaspatyam refer to the text as Shvetashva. Flood as well as Gorski state that the Svetasvatara Upanishad was composed in the 5th to 4th century BCE. Paul Muller-Ortega dates the text between 6th to 5th century BCE; the chronology of Shvetashvatara Upanishad, like other Upanishads, is uncertain and contested. The chronology is difficult to resolve because all opinions rest on scanty evidence, an analysis of archaism and repetitions across texts, driven by assumptions about evolution of ideas, on presumptions about which philosophy might have influenced which other Indian philosophies.
Phillips chronologically lists Shvetashvatara Upanishad after Mandukya Upanishad, but before and about the time the Maitri Upanishad, the first Buddhist Pali and Jaina canonical texts were composed. Ranade places Shvetashvatara Upanishad's chronological composition in the fourth group of ancient Upanishads, after Katha and Mundaka Upanishads. Deussen states that Shvetashvatara Upanishad refers to and incorporates phrases from the Katha Upanishad, chronologically followed it; some sections of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad are found in its entirety, in chronologically more ancient Sanskrit texts. For example, verses 2.1 through 2.3 are found in chapter 4.1.1 of Taittiriya Samhita as well as in chapter 6.3.1 of Shatapatha Brahmana, while verses 2.4 and 2.5 are found as hymns in chapters 5.81 and 10.13 of Rig Veda respectively. Many verses in chapters 3 through 6 are found, in nearly identical form in the Samhitas of Rig Veda, Atharva Veda and Yajur Veda; the text has six Adhyaya, each with varying number of verses.
The first chapter includes 16 verses, the second has 17, the third chapter contains 21 verses, the fourth is composed of 22, the fifth has 14, while the sixth chapter has 23 verses. The last three verses of the sixth chapter are considered as epilogue. Thus, the Upanishad has 3 epilogue verses; the epilogue verse 6.21 is a homage to sage Shvetashvatara for proclaiming Brahman-knowledge to ascetics. This closing credit is structurally notable because of its rarity in ancient Indian texts, as well as for its implication that the four-stage Ashrama system of Hinduism, with ascetic Sannyasa, was an established tradition by the time verse 6.21 of Shvetashvatara Upanishad was composed. The Shvetashvatara Upanishad has structure. However, unlike other ancient poetic Upanishads, the meter structure of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad varies is arbitrary and inconsistent within many verses in chapters, some such as verse 2.17 lack a definite poetic meter suggesting that the text congealed from the work of several authors over a period of time, or was interpolated and expanded over time.
The first chapter is the consistent one, with characteristics that makes it like
Om Namah Shivaya
Om Namah Shivaya is one of the most popular Hindu Mantra and the most important mantra in Shaivism. Namah Shivaya means "O salutations to the auspicious one!", or “adoration to Lord Shiva". It is called Siva Panchakshara, or Shiva Panchakshara or Panchakshara meaning the "five-syllable" mantra and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is a holy salutation to Lord Shiva. This Mantra appears as'Na"Ma"Śi"Vā' and'Ya' in the Shri Rudram hymn, a part of the Krishna Yajurveda and in the Rudrashtadhyayi, a part of the Shukla Yajurveda; this mantra is present in the Shri Rudram hymn, part of the Krishna Yajurveda. Shri Rudram hymn is taken from two chapters in fourth book of Taittiriya Samhita of Krishna Yajurveda; each chapter consist of eleven anuvaka or hymns. Name of both chapters are Chamakam respectively. Om Namah Shivaya mantra appears without OM in eighth hymn of Namakam as Namah shivaya ca shivataraya, it means "Salutations unto Śiva the auspicious one, unto Śivatara the one than whom none more auspicious can exist".
This mantra appears in the Rudrashtadhyayi, a part of the Shukla Yajurveda. In the Rudrashtadhyayi, the mantra appears in the 5th chapter verse 41 as Namah shivaya ca shivataraya. Namah Shivaya means "O salutations to the auspicious one!", or “adoration to Lord Shiva" preceded by the devotional syllable "Om". In Siddha Shaivism and Shaiva Siddhanta Shaivism tradition Namah Shivaya is considered as Pancha Bodha Tatva of Lord Shiva and his universal oneness of five elements: Na sound represents earth Ma sound represents water Śi sound represents fire Vā sound represents Pranic air Ya sound represents sky or etherIts total meaning is that "universal consciousness is one". In the Shaiva Siddhanta Shaivism tradition the five letters represents: Na is the Lord’s concealing grace Ma is the world Śi stands for Shiva Vā is His revealing grace Ya is the Ātman or soul The Tirumantiram announces, “His feet are the letter Na, his navel is the letter Ma. His shoulders are the letter Śi, his mouth, the letter Vā.
His radiant cranial center aloft is Ya. Thus is the five-lettered form of Shiva.”: Tirumantiram 941. TM This Mantra appears as'Na"Ma"Śi"Vā' and'Ya' in the Shri Rudram hymn, a part of the Krishna Yajurveda, thus predates the use of Shiva as a proper name, in the original context being an address to Lord Rudra, where Shiva retains its original meaning as an adjective, meaning "auspicious, friendly", a euphemistic epithet of Rudra. This mantra appears in the Rudrashtadhyayi, a part of the Shukla Yajurveda. Whole Panchakshara Stotra is dedicated to this mantra. Tirumantiram, a scripture written in Tamil language, speaks of the meaning of the mantra, it appears in the Shiva Purana in the chapter 1.2.10 and in its Vidyeshvara samhita and in chapter 13 of the Vayaviya samhita of the Shiva Purana as'Om Namaha Shivaya'. The Tamil Saivaite hymn Tiruvacakam begins with the five letters'Na"Ma"Śi"Vā' and'Ya'; this mantra is repeated verbally or mentally, drawing the mind in upon itself to Lord Shiva’s infinite, all-pervasive presence.
Traditionally it is repeated 108 times a day while keeping count on a strand of rudraksha beads. This practice is called japa yoga, it is sung and chanted by everyone, but it is most powerful when given by one’s guru. Before this initiation, called mantra diksha, the guru will require a period of study; this initiation is part of a temple ritual, such as a puja, homa, dhyana or and while smearing vibhuti. The guru whispers the mantra into the disciple’s right ear, along with instructions on how and when to chant it; this mantra is associated with qualities of prayer, divine-love, grace and blissfulness. When done it calms the mind and brings spiritual insight and knowledge, it keeps the devotee close to Shiva and within His protective global fellowship. Traditionally, it is accepted to be a powerful healing mantra beneficial for all physical and mental ailments. Soulful recitation of this mantra brings peace to the joy to the Ātman or soul. Many Hindu teachers consider that the recitation of these syllables is sound therapy for the body and nectar for the Ātman.
The nature of the mantra is the calling upon the higher self. Om Namah Shivay was a TV serial telecasted on an Indian TV Channel, DD National. In season 8, episode 2 of Family Guy, Meg chants Om Namah Shivaya several times, after Stewie pulls her heart out; these words were chanted by a prisoner as his heart was ripped out by Mola Ram in the 1984 George Lucas and Steven Spielberg film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. In Eat, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy and Indonesia, Elizabeth Gilbert explained that the first chant provided by her guru was "Om Namah Shivaya." Gilbert wrote that this meant "I honor the divinity within me." These words are chanted by characters Yogi & Reggie as in the 2014 video game Far Cry 4 as the protagonist experiments with their psychedelic concoctions. "Om Namah Shivaya" is featured in the "Mahadeva" tune by Astral Projection, a popular psychedelic trance band. "Om Namah Shivaya" is featured in the "Serpente" song in the SETEVIDAS album by the Brazilian singer Pitty, the princess of rock in
Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honor of Lord Shiva, in particular, marks the day of the marriage of Shiva. There is a Shivaratri in every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar, on the month's 13th night/14th day, but once a year in late winter and before the arrival of Summer, marks Maha Shivaratri which means "the Great Night of Shiva", it is a major festival in Hinduism, this festival is solemn and marks a remembrance of "overcoming darkness and ignorance" in life and the world. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers and meditating on ethics and virtues such as self-restraint, non-injury to others and the discovery of Shiva; the ardent devotees keep awake all night. Others go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams; this is an ancient Hindu festival. In Kashmir Shaivism, the festival is called Har-ratri or phonetically simpler Haerath or Herath by Shiva faithfuls of the Kashmir region. Maha Shivaratri is an annual festival dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, is important in the Shaivism tradition of Hinduism.
Unlike most Hindu festivals which are celebrated during the day, the Maha Shivaratri is celebrated at night. Furthermore, unlike most Hindu festivals which include expression of cultural revelry, the Maha Shivaratri is a solemn event notable for its introspective focus, meditation on Shiva, self study, social harmony and an all night vigil at Shiva temples; the celebration includes maintaining a "jaagaran", an all-night vigil and prayers, because Shaiva Hindus mark this night as "overcoming darkness and ignorance" in one's life and the world through Shiva. Offerings of fruits, leaves and milk to Shiva are made, some perform all-day fasting with vedic or tantric worship of Shiva, some perform meditative Yoga. In Shiva temples, "Om Namah Shivaya", the sacred mantra of Shiva, is chanted through the day. Maha Shivaratri is celebrated over ten days based on the Hindu luni-solar calendar; every lunar month, there is a Shivaratri. The main festival is called Maha Shivaratri, or great Shivaratri, held on 13th night and 14th day of the month Phalguna.
In the Gregorian calendar, the day falls in either March. The Maha Shivaratri is mentioned in several Puranas the Skanda Purana, Linga Purana and Padma Purana; these medieval era Shaiva texts present different versions associated with this festival, & mention fasting, reverence for icons of Shiva such as the Lingam. Different legends describe the significance of Maha Shivaratri. According to one legend in the Shaivism tradition, this is the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation and destruction; the chanting of hymns, the reading of Shiva scriptures and the chorus of devotees joins this cosmic dance and remembers Shiva's presence everywhere. According to another legend, this is the night when Parvati got married. A different legend states that the offering to Shiva icons such as the linga is an annual occasion to get over past sins if any, to restart on a virtuous path and thereby reach Mount Kailasha and liberation; the significance of dance tradition to this festival has historical roots.
The Maha Shivaratri has served as a historic confluence of artists for annual dance festivals at major Hindu temples such as at Konark, Pattadakal and Chidambaram. This event is called Natyanjali "worship through dance", at the Chidambaram temple, famous for its sculpture depicting all dance mudras in the ancient Hindu text of performance arts called Natya Shastra. At Khajuraho Shiva temples, a major fair and dance festival on Maha Shivaratri, involving Shaiva pilgrims camped over miles around the temple complex, was documented by Alexander Cunningham in 1864. Maha Shivaratri is considered the day when adiyogi or the first guru awakened his consciousness at the material level of existence. According to Tantra, at this stage of consciousness, no objective experience takes place and the mind is transcended; the meditator transcends time and causation. It is regarded as the brightest night of the soul, when the yogi attains the state of Shoonya or Nirvana, the stage succeeding samadhi or illumination.
Maha Shivaratri is celebrated in Tamil Nadu with great pomp and fanfare in the Annamalai temple located in Tiruvannamalai district. The special process of worship on this day is'Girivalam'/Giri Pradakshina, a 14-kilometer bare foot walk around Lord Shiva's temple on top of the hill. A huge lamp of oil and camphor is lit on the hilltop at sunset - not to be confused with Karthigai Deepam; the major Jyotirlinga Shiva temples of India, such as in Varanasi and Somanatha, are frequented on Maha Shivaratri. They serve as sites for fairs and special events. In Andhra and Telangana, Shivratri yatras are held at Mallayya gutta near Kambhalapalle, Gundlakamma Kona near Railway Koduru, Bhairavakona, Uma Maheswaram amongst others. Special pujas are held at Pancharamas - Amararamam of Amaravati, Somaramam of Bhimavaram, Kumararama of Samarlakota and Ksheerarama of Palakollu; the days after Shivratri are celebrated as Brahmotsavaalu at Srisailam, one of 12 Jyotirlinga sites. Mahashivaratri utsavalu are held at the Rudreshwara Swamy's 1000 pillar temple in Warangal.
Devotees throng for the special poojas at Srikalahasti, Yaganti, Kattamanchi, Bhairavakona, Keesaragutta, Panagal, Kolanupaka amongst others. The Mandi fair is in the town of Mandi is famous as a venue for Maha Shivaratri celebrations, it transforms the town. It is believed that all gods and goddess