And if you even perform just a little yoga or meditation, consider how all the Hindu scriptures agree on one point: Lord Shiva gave these gifts to humanity. He gave us Yoga, He gave us the bridge to enlightenment. Isn't this worth a "thankyou"?
Think about what blessings or boon you want. If it is things like a new car, a job, a boyfriend or girlfriend, well, the Lord will hear you. But the real blessings we mean are spiritual: help for your sadhana journey. Obstacles removed. Maybe your head burns with too many thoughts? Or your heart is full of malice, anger and pain. Or there is someone you cannot forgive. Or you simply hate your life as it is. This quiet and wonderful night could be the turning point in your entire life! This could be that decisive time when your life starts to really grow, and then the flowers will come. Use this time, therefore, wisely. Many great saints, also were born into families where people prayed intensely on Mahashivaratri. Because the Lord is merciful and lavish with his favours.
- The day before, ie day of 27th, (Trayodashi or 13th day of dark fortnight) you partake of breakfast if you must, or fast entirely. Check with online panchang for timings of your region.
- You formulate a sankalpa, a vow or statement of determination, saying what you intend to do and for how long.
- As night approaches, you will have cleaned the house, tidied the puja, got everything ready and when all is ready, as the sun goes down, take a bath. The getting everything ready includes finding leaves of the Bael/Bilval Betel tree, but if you live like me in a country without such leaves... make do and see if you can find a tree which has a cluster of three leaves. These will be offered to Lord Shiva. If you cant find any, don't panic. Make yourself the offering instead.
- Prepare pot of water, milk and honey but only if you have a Shiva Lingam to pour it over. Remember to get flowers.
- Put on clean clothes, make sure enough candles, incense/dhoop, camphor, rice, anything you wish to offer. Wear ash on your forehead in three horizontal stripes.
- The sun is down: Mahashivarartri begins! Here in the House of Two Wings Sadhana Kutir, there will be very stately, drumless meditative chants to Shiva, and pujas, but the real heart of the evening is diving into silence without falling asleep.
- A puja to Lord Shiva (you can choose your own words if you need to) is necessary. To do it properly, there are actually four separate pujas you can do through the night, as follows: 1) 5.30pm-8.50pm, 2) 8.50pm - 12.12am, 3) 12.12am - 7.30pm, 4) 7.30pm - 10.50am.
- You can break your fast from 6.50am to 11.19am on 28th Feb, ie the 14th day of dark fortnight or Chaturdashi.