20:48 GMT05 April 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Hindu mythology in India speaks about a trinity of three main gods representing creation, preservation and destruction. Brahma is believed to be the god of creation or birth, Vishnu the preserver of life, and Shiva the destroyer or death. Shivratri, or 'the night of Shiva', is a holy day dedicated to Lord Shiva.

    Shivratri falls on the darkest night of the year and devout Hindus spent all night awake, chanting hymns in praise of Lord Shiva for spiritual awakening. It is believed that observance of Shivratri cleanses bad thoughts or overcomes darkness and ignorance.

    According to legend, Lord Shiva performs the ‘tandava’, a vigorous dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. Indian spiritual leaders believe it was necessary to calm down the god, lest he destroy the universe. Therefore, devotees remain awake, providing soothing offerings like milk and honey and in some regions cannabis, locally called ‘bhang’.

    Another mythological legend is that during the astronomical alignment of Maha Shivratri, Lord Shiva married his consort Parvati.

    Unlike with other Indian gods, ‘Shiv Linga’, Shiva's phallus, is worshipped. There are several prominent temples dedicated to Lord Shiva called Jyotir Linga, which means radiant sign of Lord Shiva. 

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has joined the people of India in tweeting about “Maha Shivratri” today.

    Hinduism calls Lord Shiva eternal. He is believed to be rising in the Himalayan Mount Kailash, which is now part of Tibet. Climbing Mount Kailash is legally prohibited because it is supposed to be the holy abode of Lord Shiva for a 21,000 year period, during which his meditation is not supposed to be disturbed.



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