Shiva rathri is observed on Magha Krishna Chaturdashi.
Observance of mahashivratri vrata with dedication helps a devotee to control the two great natural forces that afflict man, rajas guna (the quality of passionate activity) and tamas guna (the quality of ignorance).
Origin of Shivratri:
According to the Puranas, during the great mythical churning of the ocean called Samudra Manthan, a pot of poison (Haala hala visha)emerged from the ocean. The gods and the demons were terrified as it could destroy the entire world. At that time, Vayudevaru drunk the haalahala visha. When Shiva also asked Vayudevaru to give him some halahala visha, Vayu devaru took the major portion himself and gave the remaining to Shiva after making sure that it doesnt harm Shiva. Lord Shiva drunk the left over of hala hala visha and was called as Nanjunda. In order to sustain or reduce the power of halahala visha, he held Chandra and snake. Even after that he could not control it.. So, throughout the night he did the stotra of Srihari, did the jagarana and did not take any food. This turned his throat blue, and since then he came to be known as ‘Nilkantha’, the blue-throated one. Shivratri celebrates this event by which Shiva saved the world.
In Madhwa Sampraadaya, we dont have the procedure of Fasting/Jaagarna on Shiva Rathri day. Even if people are doing it, It should be done with Hari dhyana
Why linga roopa for Shiva?
Once Brugu Rushigalu went to Kailasa to test who is The Supreme among Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara at the beginning of Kali yuga. When he came to Kailaasa, he saw that Iswara did not even noticed him. Shiva ignored Brugu Rushigalu. Angry Brughu muni cursed him that the shiva be worshipped in the form of Linga only. That is why throughout the world, only Shiva linga is worshipped and not his idol.
Shiva names with meanings:
- Chandrashekara/somashekara – Shiva has Chandra on his head
- Doorjati – Shiva wears JaTaa
- Nandi Vahana – Shiva has Nandi as his Vahana(Vehicle)
- Gangadhara –Shiva has Ganga on his head. Ganga is the wife of Varuna. Shiva was holding her as she requested him to give some place in him and Ganga had vishesha sannidhana of Srihari, as she is Vishnu paadodaka.
- Kaamaari – Shiva burnt alive Kaama/Manmatha – When Gods sent Manmatha to break the penance of Shiva, he throwed his kaama arrow on Shiva, which made Shiva angry and he opened his third eye and Manmatha was burnt to ashes.
- Kailasavaasa – as Lord Shiva is residing in Kailaasa
- Kruthivaasa – as he wears charma[ animal skin ] as his dress – he is also called as Charmambaradara
- Manoniyamaka – Shiva is the controller of Chitta
- Maheshwara –Lord Shiva s superior to Indraadi sakala devategalu
- Mrutyunjaya – Lord Siva has more power than the Mrutyu devate Yama – Sage Markandeya had a very short lift of only 16 years. Markandeya was known that his life is very short. So, he worshipped Shiva with utmost devotion. After the completion of 16th year, Yamadharmaraja came to take Markandeya by pulling him with arrows, Shiva came and rescued Markandeya and blessed him with Chiranjeevatva. That is why Markandeya is considered as one of the Chiranjeevi.
- Nataraja –Shiva is expert in dance (Naatya)
- Nagabharana – Shiva has Naga(snake) as one of his ornaments
- Nagabhushana – Lord Shiva has Snake to his neck
- Neelakanta – Lord Shiva’s throat colour turned blue after drinking hala hala visha.
- Rudra – “Rodanaath Rudra:” – As soon as he was born Shiva was crying continuously. That is why he is called as Rudra.
- Shambhu – Lord Shiva is the source of Sukha, he is termed as Shambhu
- Shankara – Lord Siva gives “Sukha”
- Shiva –Shiva is mangala kara
- Vamadeva – “vaama” means handsome/beautiful/sundara. Leaving Hari Vayu Brahma, Garuda shesha, he is athi-sundara very handsome. That is why he is called as Vamadeva. , Vamadeva – He is called as Vamadeva as he has Srihari to his left always
- Virinchiputra – Lord Siva is the son of Brahma (Virinchi)
- Trishulapaani – Lord Shiva has Trishula in one of his arms
- Trinetra/trilochana/mukkanna – Lord Siva has three eyes