This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Shiva Puja

On the day of Śivarātri, one should get up early in the morning. Since we will be leaving by 4am, you must awaken at 2am and get ready.

कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मीः करमध्ये सरस्वति।
करमूले तु गोविन्दः प्रभाते करदर्शनम्‌॥
karāgre vasate lakṣmīḥ karamadhye sarasvati |
karamūle tu govindaḥ prabhāte karadarśanam ||
Translation: Lakṣmī resides in [the fingers] at the beginning of the hand; at the center [palm] resides Sarasvati; at the base [wrist, fish mark] resides Govinda; see your palm after awakening.

Joining the palms at the sides shows the face of Vāsudeva (Govinda) with Śrī (Lakṣmī) and Bhū (Sarasvati) śaktī. Do not step out of the bed without seeing your joint palm. Thereafter recite the mantra ‘हरे राम कृष्ण | hare rāma kṛṣṇa’ and then step out of the bed with your left foot (male) or right foot (female).

Bathing

Add a little black sesame seeds into a bucket or mug of warm water. It is believed that the holy bath on the day of Śivarātri purifies not only the body but also the soul. Bathing in a river is best but this is not possible in Bhim Tal nor should you go to the lake for a bath.

Take a bucket of warm water or just a mug of warm water. Touch it with your finger and recite this prayer once

गंगेच यमुने चैव गोदावरी सरस्वती।
नर्मदा सिंधु कावेरी जलेऽस्मिन्‌ सन्निधं कुरु॥
gaṁgeca yamune caiva godāvarī sarasvatī |
narmadā siṁdhu kāverī jale’smin sannidhaṁ kuru ||
Translation: [O! Goddesses in the form of holy rivers] Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri, please bless this water with thy presence.

Sprinkle the black sesame seeds in the water saying ‘हर हर गङ्गे (hara hara gaṅge)’ again and again. Then pour this over your head.

गंगा गंगेति यो ब्रूयात्‌ योजनाना शतैरपि।
मुच्यते सर्वपापेभ्यो विष्णुलोकं सगच्छति॥
gaṁgā gaṁgeti yo brūyāt yojanānā śatairapi |
mucyate sarvapāpebhyo viṣṇulokaṁ sagacchati ||
Translation: One who utters ‘गङ्गा gaṅgā’ or  ‘गङ्गे gaṅge’ a hundred times [during bath] will be rid of all sins and attains Viṣṇu-loka [purity].

Thereafter have a full bath uttering ‘गङ्गा gaṅgā’ or  ‘गङ्गे gaṅge’ 108 times or more.

Dress

Wear white clothes that cover your body completely. Only married women should wear coloured clothes. Those following various religious paths should wear the dress of their own religious code. Śiva is the parameṣṭhi guru and would expect you to obey your guru/spiritual master and follow the code and ethics of your path.

Do not wear any leather garments, leather, belt, leather jacket, leather shoes. This is prohibited.

Tilakaṁ

Wear the mark of your sampradaya on your forehead. If you belong to a śaiva sampradaya then you must wear the tripuṇḍra while those of vaiṣṇava sampradaya must wear the tilakaṁ. Others can wear a simple sandalwood paste mark on the forehead along with a red-vermillion dot representing the offerings to Śiva and Śaktī respectively.

Rosary

Carry your japa mala in a bag that covers the japa mala completely. The kit-bag provided for MSP participants will have necessary items.

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