"Imagine," said the wise man, "that the moon was made of strawberry. Would all socks be pink and all flowers meringue? Perhaps... and when evening falls shall we slide down the crescent laughing as we splash into warm waters of sweet milk, how enchanting life would be."
Guess where I got this quote from.......
......a tube of pink strawberry milkshake scented body scrub! lol.... Who knew toiletries could be so whimsical.
Today is Maha Shivratri - the name means "the night of Shiva". The ceremonies take place chiefly at night. This is a festival observed in honour of Lord Shiva and it is believed that on this day Lord Shiva was married to Parvati.
On this festival people worship Lord Shiva-The Destroyer. This night marks the night when Lord Shiva danced the 'Tandav'.
About the Lord-
Shiva - the word meaning auspicious - is one of the Hindu Trinity, comprising of Lord Brahma, the creator, Lord Vishnu, the preserver and Lord Shiva or Mahesh, the Destroyer and Re-Producer of life. Shiva is known by many names like "Shankar", "Mahesh", "Bholenath", "Neelakanth", "Shambhu Kailasheshwar", "Umanath", "Nataraj" and others.
He is the most sought-after deity amongst the Hindus and they pray to him as the god of immense large-heartedness who they believe grants all their wishes. Around him are weaved many interesting stories that reveal His magnanimous heart. Not only this, but the related stories and legends also enrich the Indian culture and art.
A few of the stories attatched to this festival-
(1) This is a famous legend on Shivaratri and happened during the churning of ocean by Devas(gods) and Asuras(demons) to get ‘Amrit’- the secret blessed rasa(juice) that could give eternal life. While churning the ocean, a pot of highly toxic poison was also released before the amrit could be found. Lord Shiva drank this posion. For the poison to have no effect, Lord Shiva should not sleep. So the ‘devas’ and ‘asuras’ kept praying the whole night. Pleased with the devotion Lord Shiva said "whoever worships me on this day will get their wishes fulfilled".
(2) There once lived a tribal hunter who was a Shiva devotee. One day he lost his way while hunting and was lost in the forest at night. Soon wild animals started to gather around him and he climbed a Bael tree. In order to keep himself awake, he started plucking the trees' leaves and dropped it down repeating ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. In the morning, he discovered that he had been dropping the leaves on a Shivling/Lingum. And the word spread that he was saved by Lord Shiva. People started celebrating the day as Shivratri.
The story is mentioned in the epic Mahabharata by Bhismha while lying on the bed of arrows. The hunter was re-born as King Chitrabhanu who could remember his previous births.
(3)Apart from these myths, it is said that the reunion of Lord Shiva and Parvati happened on this day, hence it is auspicious.
People observe a strict fast on this day. Some devotees do not even take a drop of water and they keep vigil all night. The Shiva Lingam is worshipped throughout the night by washing it every three hours with milk, curd, honey, rose water, etc., whilst the chanting of the Mantra "Om Namah Shivaya" continues. Offerings of Bael leaves are made to the Lingam as Bael leaves are considered very sacred and it is said that Goddess Lakshmi resides in them.
Hymns in praise of Lord Shiva, such as the "Shiva Mahimna Stotra" of Pushpadanta or Ravana's "Shiva Tandava Stotra" are sung with great fervour and devotion. People repeat the 'Panchakshara' Mantra, "Om Namah Shivaya". He, who utters the names of Shiva during Shivratri, with perfect devotion and concentration, is freed from all sins and attains Nirvana.
Infact its believed that if unmarried girls/spinsters fast on this day and pray to Lord Shiva they are granted the husband of their choice soon.
Well I cannot confirm this myth as I never fasted and still have been blessed with a man I could never have dreamed of...my love...my pride....the reason behind my smile, my husband.
I made this milkshake today for myself and those who fast can take this too as its fruits and milk which is permissible during fasting.
2 glasses milk, chilled (skimmed/2 %/ whole)
1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
2 tbsp scant sugar (adjust according to tartness of strawberries, mine were extremely sweet)
In a blender churn all the ingredients together. Garnish with a strawberry slice and serve.