Lord Shiva is considered to be the third deity in the trinity. He has the ability to purify and destroy the world. It is after this destruction that Lord Brahma starts creation, once more. Devotees of Shiva consider him as the supreme power. Devotees think that he can be easily pleased at the same time he becomes easily angry too. The meaning of the word Shiva is kind, good and cordial. He is also known to be truthful to his 1st spouse Sati and afterwards to Parvati.
Lord Shiva and Sati
King Daksha was the father of devi Sati, Lord Shivaâeuro™s wife. Once, Daksha conducted a yagna without inviting Lord Shiva and Sati. But Sati was keen in attending the yagna and went there. Sad and insulted by the disregard, King Daksha showed, she immolated by jumping into the yagnakunda. Fierce and angry on finding out about the death of his wife, Lord Shiva performed Rudra Tandava by holding the body of his wife. Due to the fire from his third eye, Dakshaâeuro™s kingdom was wiped out. Lord Vishnu, to make Shiva calm, severed the body of devi Sati and threw the parts on the Earth. The 12 places on Earth where her body parts fell were later known as the Shakti Peethas.
Devi Parvati and Shiva
After the death of devi Sati, Shiva became an ascetic. As Parvati, daughter of Himavan, devi Sati again took birth. After growing old, Parvati understood about her past life. As she wanted to unite with Lord Shiva, she started severe tapas. The continuous tapas of Parvati was ignored by Lord Shiva.
Parvati took the help of Kamadeva, Lord of love. He tried to hit Shiva with arrow of love. He became angry and reduced Kamadeva into ashes with his powerful third eye. Afterwards, upon the request of Rati, Kamadeva's wife, Shiva revived Kamadeva. Parvati, in order to please Shiva started severe tapas. Soon, because of Parvati's devotion and loyalty and compulsion by sages, Shiva got married to her on the month of Phalguna, a day before Amavasya. This night is dedicated to Lord Shiva and known as Mahashivaratri.
Worshippers of Shiva all over the world, celebrate Mahashivaratri, even today. Apart from visiting some famous shrines of Lord Shiva, worshippers also observe fast and night vigil.
According to another story, Mahashivaratri is the day when Devi Parvati performed tapas to uproot all the bad spirits that can harm Lord Shiva. According to the legend, Parvati had prayed on the night of Amavasya in Phalguna for long life of Shiva. Following this ritual of Parvati, women even today, offer prayers and perform poojas to please Shiva and wish for the long life of their spouses.